DA MAN Exclusive: Marcel Chandrawinata

LIVE AND LET DIE. For a guy as relatively young as he is, Marcel Chandrawinata sure does talk about mortality a lot. At least that’s the impression he gave DA MAN during our exclusive photo shoot and interview with the 25-year-old actor-businessman. By M. Berlian

Outfit by Louis Vuitton

There is, for a start, a brief talk about visiting his birth country of Germany; something he regrets not doing earlier. He says, “Last year, I wanted to go and pay a visit to my grandpa, who was gravely ill. Unfortunately, there was a problem with my visa and passport. I told them, ‘I have to go now, my grandpa is dying.’ But the bureaucracy was terrible and before I could leave, my grandpa had passed away.” He continues, “So I’m determined to go this year. It’s been eight years since I last went there.”

But that’s a plan for December. Right now, Marcel has a ton of other things to think of. First off, there’s his TV show, Dia Ayu (She’s Ayu), where he plays Yudis, one of the two male leads on the show. Judging by the way he kept shouting to the (mostly female) passersbys at the photo shoot location and casually reminding them to watch the show, Marcel seems pretty proud to be a part of Dia Ayu. Still, he hopes the shoot will be completed in November, before he heads for Germany.

Outfit by Givenchy

And then, there’s also Commune. A café and bistro in South Jakarta, Commune was cofounded by Marcel and a couple of his friends. The café has only been around for a few months, but it’s been generating quite a bit of good buzz from reviewers and patrons alike.

Outfit by Hermès

As if a packed café and a TV show don’t keep him occupied enough, Marcel has also opened a diving resort in the Raja Ampat Islands. Located in West Papua, Indonesia, the islands are currently considered one of, the world’s best diving destinations. “Back in college, I wanted to go diving in Raja Ampat, but I couldn’t find a resort that wasn’t expensive,” he explains. “So I had this obsession with opening a place that would be affordable for college students.”

Outfit by Louis Vuitton

Runs in the Family
This obsession with diving doesn’t just come out of nowhere; it’s safe to say that Marcel was born with it. His father is the one who first passed the diving bug to Marcel and his siblings. His big sister, former Puteri Indonesia (Miss Indonesia Universe) winner Nadine Chandrawinata, is widely known for her profound love for diving and the ocean in general. She was even given the role of ambassador for WWF Indonesia. Marcel does admit that his family plays a big part in his life. “I’m very close to my family,” he says. “Like, I’d take my mom anywhere. I don’t even care if people call me mama’s boy. I’m just grateful that she’s still around.” One of his biggest ambitions, in fact, is buying a yacht. Not for himself, but for his dad. “I want to get him one before he [dies],” says Marcel. “He once said that, when he dies, he wishes to be cremated and wants his ashes to be scattered into the sea at Raja Ampat.”

Outfit by Louis Vuitton

Hell of a Life
As for himself, he’s trying to live like he’s dying. “Right now, I’m proposing a dream project to TV stations,” he says. “It would be like The Bucket List! Things to do before you die! Time is short. I mean, before I knew it, I had turned 25. So I want to do things I haven’t done before.” And Marcel is willing to take those ‘things’ to the extreme. “For example, I want to bungee jump from the highest level; I know there’s one in New Zealand. I don’t like heights, but I love bungee jumping; I have no idea why. I’d also love to join bull-running in Spain!” he confides. “I want to do stupid, exciting things before I meet my end.”

Jacket and pants by Etro, Bag and boots by Tod’s, Sunglasses by Hugo Boss at  Optik Melawai

There’s still no word from any TV station regarding his project, but it’s not like Marcel has a shortage of things to keep himself busy at the moment. “Right now, I’m still working on improving Commune,” he says. “It hasn’t had its grand opening yet. The ambiance isn’t completely fixed yet and its identity hasn’t been shaped yet. As soon as it’s settled, I’ll probably [start another business venture]; the plan is to launch a lounge with the same name.” Sounds like something to die for.

Photographs: Arseto Adiputra
Styling: Gabriela Batti