No More Drama! Famous actor and super model, Jakarta-based Mike Lewis poses for DA MAN in an exclusive interview and photoshoot session where he tells us about the changes he went through for the last few years following his marriage to famous actress Tamara Bleszyński and the birth of his first son. By Refa Koetin
Above photo: Jacket by A|X Armani Exchange
A Breezy Start
Mike Lewis was strolling through a shopping mall in Thailand when an agent came running up to his mom and asked if her son would like to be in a magazine. The 13-year-old Lewis was very reluctant at first. “I didn’t want to do it. I always thought I’d be an athlete and that I was too manly for modeling.”
Largely against his will, Lewis reluctantly agreed to do a photo shoot, and as fate would have it, the audience in Thailand simply loved this fresh-faced newcomer. “After only a week they had me on covers of magazines in Thailand and I was making quite a bit of money.” The appealing factor for him was not the fame or popularity, but something else.
“I used modeling throughout my teenage years to pay for things, and as I grew older I used it to pay for university and things like that. It’s good to have a degree of financial independence from one’s parents.” Lewis actually came to love the showbiz industry when he started shooting commercials. “As much as I started to love modeling, I liked how it was so easy to transition from a modeling to acting. I guess it was easier for me because I’m an expressive person. I hang all my emotions on the outside. I don’t really like to hide anything,” Lewis admits. He got his first commercial when he was 14 years old, just a year after his debut as a model.
Right page: Jeans by A|X Armani Exchange, necklace by John Hardy
Drawn to Indonesia
With an English-Canadian father who works as a diplomat, a Chinese-Malaysian mother and being born in Tokyo himself, Lewis can literally call himself “a child of the world.” Due to his dad’s job they moved around the world to various postings and the result is that Mike Lewis is fluent in several languages (including English, French, Mandarin and Indonesian). He graduated from Canada’s University of British Columbia and first became acquainted with Indonesia when his father was posted to the Canadian Embassy in Jakarta. One question that often comes up, is how he ended up putting down roots in Indonesia. The answer to that has several layers of its own.
“I never really was able get to grow up in one certain place, but I feel like I’ve really set my roots down in Indonesia. I feel like I’m part Indonesian,” Lewis states. He has been based in Indonesia for more than nine years now. He loves the country because he personally loves the food and the general politeness and hospitality of the people.
“Indonesians, in general, are such nice people. That’s why I like it here. The culture is a lot like Canadian culture in terms of how everyone just tries to be nice to everyone.” He also explains that he feels more secure in Indonesia compared to many other countries he has lived in. “I feel safer here a lot more than I do in Canada, or especially the U.S. If I stop on the street and ask for directions, people in Indonesia will help me. They wouldn’t tell me to ‘f&%k off’ like they would in the states.”
But the primary reason why he decided to settle in Indonesia must be because of his wonderful family: a drop-dead gorgeous wife and a baby they have together named Kenzou. Every good-looking celebrity is bound to be followed by the one thing that is difficult to avoid: gossip—particularly juicy tabloid gossip in a country that holds onto certain traditions and concepts of how relationships should be very strongly.
And Lewis, being probably the most recognizable model in the Indonesian entertainment milieu at the moment, is no exception. More than once, the athletic actor/model found himself under the microscope of the mass media. One of the things that really irks him is being called a playboy. “I don’t know why people just love to see me as a playboy. I’m really not, and I don’t like being recognized as one,” he has said. These words proved to be more than just a public relations gimmick. In February 2010, Mike Lewis settled down with Tamara Bleszyński. Lewis is younger, which was another thing the tabloids mercilessly seized upon.
Lewis got married at the luxurious Villa Bayu Sabha in Uluwatu, Bali. It was a closed wedding with only close friends and relatives invited. But even this merry occasion became the center of tabloid scrutiny at one point. Although the wedding was successfully conducted in secret, people soon started asking questions as to why he married an older actress.
Displaying maturity and the truest form of love, Lewis did not let anything get in the way of his personal love life. “Who am I to judge? Tamara is a great person. Everybody knows that. I have my flaws and she accepted me as I am. Differences are very normal in a relationship. I’ve committed myself and I love her wholly the way she is.”
Given his happy marriage and the baby boy Lewis and Bleszyński have, the ‘playboy’ image he used to be labeled with is virtually gone.
Lewis actually could not conceal his passion about his new life as a father and husband. He just hopes that all the media people as well as the general public can one day understand that people change and mature and move on.
Lewis remains extremely grateful for his wife and the way she handles things around the family. “The thing I love about my wife is that she, being an experienced actress herself, understands that when I’m on an acting gig, I’d have all kinds of things around me and she would sit back and be the mother that Kenzou needs even more.”
Lewis also let us in on a little secret. “We are actually working on a daughter right now,” Lewis admits with a chuckle. “Well I don’t know if we can say we’re working on it, but I’m pretty damn sure we’re not gonna ‘prevent’ it from happening, if you know what I mean.”
Left page: Suit, jeans and scarf by Topman
Right page: Jacket and T-shirt by A|X Armani Exchange, trousers by ck Calvin Klein
No more bruises
The 29-year-old celebrity likes to use his spare time to hang out with his family as opposed to other leisure-time activities. “Obviously I play with my son to unwind. I like to cook with my wife, too. I love doing that. She makes the best sop buntut (Indonesian-style oxtail soup), and that is my favorite thing to eat, hands down. But I realize it’s very dangerous for this old belly,” Lewis says with a hearty laugh.
He does, however, still find time to indulge in one of his favorite pastimes. Being an avid rugby player, Lewis also enjoys various athletic activities such as flag football, touch rugby and he even used to go rounds in the boxing ring together with his wife. Although his ultimate passion lies in rugby, he made a solemn promise to ease himself away from the sport.
“I promised my son, although he’s just a baby, that I would work hard on securing his future before I played things that were for myself. The thing is that it directly affects my professional career. If you’re an office worker, for example, and you show up with a black eye or a sore lip, you can still do your job. But if I show up with a broken arm to a commercial shoot or a photo shoot, well, they would literally send me home.”
Currently, Lewis is shooting a feature film where he plays a soldier. Although he can’t tell us many more details, Lewis told us that they received shooting and combat formation training from the renowned U.S. Navy SEAL team. He even won a little shooting contest against the film crew and other actors.
In addition to that upcoming film, Lewis has starred in three other feature films—5 Sehat 4 Sempurna (2002); Suster Ngesot (2007); The God Babe (2010)—as well as dozens of TV appearances and modeled in a fashion feature in DA MAN back in 2007. One thing’s for sure, life is good for Mike Lewis, which is why so many guys want to ‘be like Mike.’