Indonesian top model Ayu Gani talks with Riga Ramadhan about her struggles, new business and more.
Working with professional models is always great. Why? Well, as they say, you already know what to do and they also know what they are expected to do on set. So, all the prep work gets done in no time and then, voilà … the entire job goes smoothly. Needless to say, that is pretty much how it went with our latest photo shoot and interview with multi-talented model Ayu Gani.
While not exactly unknown before, Gani really became a household name when she was crowned champion of season three of the award-winning reality modelling competition “Asia’s Next Top Model” in 2015. The Indonesian model secured the top spot after she beat Marlene Monika from the Philippines and Aimee Rose Cheng-Bradshaw from Singapore in the final round. And since then, Gani—the spritely Indonesian beauty with the heart of gold—has moved to London and called the English capital her home for almost three years before moving back to Jakarta.
That, of course, was just the short-recap. The one thing that her fans, family and friends didn’t see was the struggle behind all of it. Gani also mentioned how she had to struggle with the pressure and the hype surrounding her victory, especially as her departure to London approached. When she took first place, Gani won a contract with one of the largest modeling agencies in London, Storm Model Management. “Not many people know about it, but during my first three months in London, I didn’t have a job,” says Gani, opening up the conversation.
To say that international modelling is fast-paced would be an understatement. Gani remembered how she would read fashion magazines from the U.K. to find out what was considered trendy and favorable in the country’s fashion scene. “My aim was to show everyone that I deserved the title. I aimed to book one of the jobs and pass the casting for either photoshoots or the catwalks,” recalls Gani.
Still, according to Gani, these kinds of struggles was just part of growing. And ultimately, she was able to overcome everything. “It takes a while for me to digest my setbacks. But I know I have to move on. Because life goes on. I brush it off. And I have to remain authentic. Luckily, I know myself. That’s very important. I know my strengths and weaknesses. And I embrace all of it,” she says with a glowing face.
Speaking of embracing her true self, she also notes how it’s actually very important for her—or any aspiring model, for that matter—to always remain authentic in order to keep growing each and every day. “I think that they have to be authentic. They need to embrace themselves wholeheartedly. Don’t try to look like supermodels. Instead, try to be yourself and develop your own identity. And, yeah, be authentic, because everybody has their own way,” she elaborates further. “All you have to do is give 110 percent and do everything wholeheartedly. As long as you have passion and really aim for it, the universe will help you.”
Gani also remembered about landing her first job after doing nothing but going to castings for three months. “Usually, I would have to call my agency at exactly 5PM in the afternoon, going like, ‘Hi, this is Gani checking in, what’s my job for tomorrow?’ etc. And apparently, that one day, they called me first and went, ‘Hi Gani, you’ve been booked on a job for MAC cosmetics tomorrow. We’ll send the details by email, okay?’ When I received the call, I didn’t catch a lot of what was said because I was on a bus after wrapping up a casting session. All I heard was that I got a job for the next day,” she recalled. “And by the time I received the email and read the details that it was for a big global campaign, I was like, ‘Holy moly s—t!’”
Our conversation then veered to the differences between the modeling industry in Europe and Indonesia. “I think that if you want to be a model, it’s a lot easier in Indonesia. If you look good, if you look pretty, just like that, you can be a model,” Gani said. “On the contrary, it’s a lot harder to become a model in Europe. First of all, you need to have an agency representing you. After that, you need a mother agency. And after that, you have to go to castings and that takes a lot of time. That’s why people in Europe really appreciate it when they learn that you’re a model. They know that you’ve been through a lot to become one. I think that’s the difference. Here, in Indonesia, people don’t see that.”
As the interview approaches its end and we started to chat about her personal side, the sprightly model excitedly talked about what she was working outside of the modeling and fashion. “Well, right now, I have my own business. I created an e-commerce site called GaneGani & Co.,” she passionately replies. “I built it from scratch with a new concept, since I previously got scammed by my old business partners. But yeah, maybe that’s how business goes. Lesson learned. It’s never good to mix friendship and money.”
Slipping out of her cozy sneakers and into a sexy gown for the photoshoot, the multi-talented model is looks more than ready for any challenge the world has to throw in her way.
Poised and posed for the first click of the camera, Gani casually adds: “After all that I’ve been through, I’m proud of who I am right now. It’s been a one-of-a-kind journey, one of self-discovery. I have moved on from the struggles and the rest of it. At 27 years of age and I already have my own business. I’ve walked for almost all of the international fashion weeks. I’m standing on my own two feet and I’m entirely financially independent,” she concludes with an adorable smile on her face. For sure, we’re still far away from the final chapters of Ayu Gani’s story.
PHOTOGRAPHY HARIONO HALIM
STYLING JERDI ANARCHI
INTERN STYLING ASSISTANTS MARASSI JOANNE, VIVIAN NG
HAIR AND MAKEUP ARCHANGELA CHELSEA
LOCATION GOODRICH SUITES — JAKARTA. JL. PANGERAN ANTASARI NO. 60 JAKARTA / artotelgroup.com/goodrichsuitesjakarta
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