Exclusive Feature: Senk Lotta

Gorgeous, Uzbek model Sharlotta Senk arrived in Indonesia as a teenager and has now established herself in the showbiz industry, from fashion spreads and TV presenting to music videos and a small part in a movie. By Obed Napitupulu

Photographs: Nurulita/Fotomojo
Styling: Peter Zewet

Describing herself as “friendly, really patient, outgoing
and a bit skeptical,” model Lotta Senk (Sharlotta, being her stage name) presents a fascinating contrast in human expression.

She was born 1989 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to a Mongolian Tatar mother and German father, blessing her with a distinctive and eye-catching Eurasian look.

She spent her childhood and the beginnings of her adolescence in the Uzbek capital. While interested in her Mongolian and German roots, she feels most connected to her Uzbekistani (and even Russian) traditions.

Things changed when she was “discovered” by a talent scout while she was on her way to school aboard the Tashkent Metro (subway train).

She was 14 at the time when the agency scout first chanced upon her face among the crowd. When Lotta told her family about the offer to do a casting call for models, she thought they would be apprehensive, due the social stigmas attached to models and the industry.

However, after discussing it with her mother, who had secretly longed for her child to become famous as an actor or singer since birth, they made the decision to attend the casting.

From there, the young Lotta immediately got to work. Her very first modeling job was during a fashion show in her hometown of Tashkent that made her realize that this was what she wanted to do for a career. Eventually, after jobs in Hong Kong and Japan, she ended up in her adopted home, Indonesia.

That was in July 2006, when she was still just 17. Since, then, she’s been married to a local showbiz personality (which ended in January 2010) and now finds herself busy modeling full time, dating and finishing up a course at Jakarta’s London School of Public Relations (LSPR).

Lotta’s favorite fashion item is something she doesn’t feel comfortable wearing. “I really like high heels, but because I’m already tall (177 centimeters), it makes me so tall that people laugh at me, or talk behind my back. So, I can’t really wear them,” she says matter-of-factly, while adding that she also really likes leather jackets, “because they go so well with so many things, and keep me cozy when I’m out at a cold nightclub or bar.”

As a model, Lotta delivers. She exhibits professionalism and timeliness and, of course, she has all the right physical qualities to boot: she’s tall, has long legs, striking green eyes and a clear complexion.

Most importantly, she has control. She gets the look that you need for the shot that you want.

This is doubly impressive when you keep in mind that Sharlotta has never been to modeling school. Most of what she knows has come via on-the-job training.

Having been here in Indonesia for several years now, Lotta says, “I am proud to be from Uzbekistan, but I love living in Indonesia … I love it because everything I have is here: my life, my job, my school.”

She loves the people of Indonesia and likens them to the people of her own country, saying they are “friendly and nice.” The most difficult adjustments for her were the climate and traffic.

Aside from those things, Lotta feels that Indonesia is quite similar to Uzbekistan in terms of values, largely due to the religious aspects.

Lotta has also grown to love Indonesian food. Her favorites are soto Betawi and soto Madura, but she doesn’t just love the usual tourist-attracting food. She even admitted to having a soft spot for durian and durian-flavored treats, a fruit with a formidable odor that’s considered fetid to many people.

More than a pretty face
Lotta is certainly more than just a pretty face. She has always been wary of the stereotype associated with models and their intelligence and wants to change the public’s perception of what kind of person a model typically is.

She is far from what you would call a ditzy model. She speaks four languages (Uzbek, Russian, English, Indonesian) and is committed to finishing her marketing course at LSPR.

With her education in hand, she is hopeful about opening her own business someday, here in Indonesia, stating that, “In the future, I’m going to use my knowledge of marketing to start my own business. I haven’t decided what business yet, but I have so many ideas in my head!”

She knows that she is adept at modeling and that it is a respectable career, but she believes that she should make more for herself outside of modeling to prepare for her future.

Due perhaps to her very stoic Russian background, (Uzbekistan was a former Soviet state and there are still many cultural influences), she states plainly, “I have no accomplishments to be very proud of.”

When asked about her career aspirations, she exhibits similar stoicism, saying, “I don’t really have any aspirations for modeling, and I don’t really care what people label me as—’future model,’ ‘top model,’ ‘middle model.’ It’s not really important to be a top model, you know,” she adds.

“I just keep working and doing jobs. I don’t think I will have a ‘big break’ or make something big from modeling … Status is not really important for me.”

What is important to her is living a healthy life (“I make sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables each day… and I don’t drink alcohol”) and music.

She enjoys the operatic style of Luciano Pavarotti, but her favorite musicians are U2, Sting, Katy Perry, Robbie Williams and Madonna. Music is also a big part of her modeling as she uses her favorite music to help her get in the mood during and before photo shoots.

Perhaps offering insights into her own likes and dislikes in men, she reveals her favorite characters on her favorite TV show, How I Met Your Mother. “I sort of like Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) a bit, but he’s too much of a womanizer, too many girlfriends. I really like Marshall Ericksen (played by Jason Segel), he’s kind and very funny.”

When she’s not judging the characteristics of actors, Lotta says her ideal guy would be smart with a good sense of humor. She’s also got a bit of a fetish for big ears and hands and “loves the natural smell of a man’s hair. I love the rugged, natural smell of a man, even when he’s sweating.”

But perhaps most revealing about her feelings at present with regard to her love life is gleaned from her all-time favorite song, “You’ll See” by Madonna.

When asked what in particular about that song made it her favorite, she says, “It keeps me alive always … keeps me living, I can continue to live without a man …  I’ve had my heart broken, much like the person who inspired/wrote that song,” Lotta confides.

She gets a bit emotional as she reflects while humming the song. Then exclaims excitedly that she’s now dating a great new guy.

To see the full feature with  full-size images, click here to get the DA MAN February/March 2011 issue.