Fashion Spread: Being Mr. Right

BEING MR. RIGHT. A strong persona and ample confidence make J. Ryan Karsten one of the most promising models in Indonesia’s fashion industry. He tells DAMAN his recipe for success and what his next ventures will be

Outfit and shoes by Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci

With the right start, the right mindset and the right attitude Indonesian, model J. Ryan Karsten consistently brings his A-game to every modeling gig presented to him. Because, let’s face it: A well-sculpted body and an immaculately chiseled face alone won’t get you very far in the industry. Karsten, on the other hand, is a complete package. Not only has he wowed local fashion insiders, but he has also made his mark on the global fashion scene; having scored a modeling award in Seoul that, in turn, led to plenty of jobs. Therefore, this avid traveler was a clear pick when we decided to shoot the key looks of spring/summer ’15. He really managed to channel the different outfits with his strong persona backed by a big dose of confidence. What’s more, we could definitely see that Karsten is ready to play in the big leagues.


Outfit by Saint Laurent, shoes by Tod’s

DA MAN: Hi J. Ryan, what are your activities these days?
J. Ryan Karsten:
It’s the modeling hustle and bustle as usual: photo shoots, video shoots and runways. I have also just taken the plunge into acting. Additionally, I do a bit of freelance graphic design in my free time because I studied visual communication design in college.

DA: How were you scouted and what made you pursue modeling full-time?
It all started when I was 17 years old; my friend invited me to join a modeling contest. Long story short, I gave it a try and unexpectedly won the contest. After that, the choreographer during the competition, Doni Hardia, sent my profile to a modeling agency. They asked me to join them; I signed the contract, and my career started off. I quickly realized that modeling was my passion, and with a lot of good opportunities eventually coming my way I started building up my professional career.


Outfit by Z Zegna, sunglasses by Ermenegildo Zegna

DA: What’s the most challenging modeling project that you’ve taken on so far in your career?
The most challenging project in my career happened around 2008 to 2009. I did one show for a special fashion event called Bazaar Concerto. The show was unlike anything I have done before. I had to walk on the runway and I also had to act. I remember that I wore a piece by Indonesian designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi, and I got an outfit with the theme “fire,” so I had to move like a flame would. It was an unforgettable experience, and it was very challenging for me.


“Obstacles and failures will leave us more experienced and make us stronger”


DA: Between photo shoots and runways, which one do you enjoy more and why?
Actually, I enjoy both. However, if I really had to choose, I would go for runways because I think that runway shows are more challenging. Not that photo shoots are not challenging enough for me … but if I do something wrong during a photo shoot, I can try it again with another pose. Whereas during a runway walk, there is no room for error. It’s a live show and I have to give it my best all the time.


Outfit by Etro, shoes by Tod’s

DA: What do you think is the biggest achievement in your career?
Two years ago, I went to Korea and received an award for “Best Male Professional Model” as an Indonesian representative at the “Asia Model Festival Award 2013” event in Seoul.

DA: What do you think are the qualities of a good male model?
For me, the main thing is that a model should have a good attitude. We should be able to understand where we are, with whom we interact and how we should behave ourselves. Additionally, a good model should be able to appreciate the time by being punctual.


Shirt by Hugo Boss

DA: What are the challenges of being a model in Indonesia for you? Will you consider going international?
One of the main challenges is the increasing number of foreign models, so I have to maintain my quality and keep myself in shape in order to survive this industry. Nevertheless, I have no desire to do a modeling career abroad at the moment because I want to focus on expanding my career in Indonesia, in the field of acting and presenting.

Outfit and sunglasses by Kenzo, shoes by Tod’s

DA: You’ve been in the industry for quite some time now, and you have been working with different creative people. How do you adjust to this fast-paced, ever-changing industry?
In my opinion, the best way to adjust to the industry is by respecting others. In other words, I will first look carefully at how they work and then I will listen to their instructions. That way, I can respond quickly because I already know what to do to get the job done well.


Outfit by Lanvin

DA: Now that you have joined a TV series production, has your experience in modeling proven to be helpful? Do you think you’ll pursue acting more seriously in the future?
Yes, I definitely want to expand my career beyond modeling, especially because the opportunity is here and I don’t want it to go to waste. The timing is also perfect because I have already gained a lot of confidence and a better understanding of different expressions needed for acting after doing a lot of modeling jobs. Those lessons are like my assets in working on this TV series production.


Outfit by Hugo Boss, shoes by Tod’s

DA: We’ve taken a look at your Instagram account and seen a lot of photos from your trips. What kind of lessons do you learn from traveling? Do you have any favorite destinations?
What I learned from traveling is to enjoy every second of the trip, and to try as hard as possible to forget about our problems because traveling is an opportunity to indulge yourself. My favorite destination is Israel.

Photography Wong Sim
Styling Peter Zewet