Darius Sinathrya DA MAN Exclusive

Suave Indonesian Celebrity, Actor Darius Sinathrya, is at the top of his game. It’s game on for the acclaimed actor and sportsman.

Photographs: Ronny Joewono

For a guy who used to be the type of person who, in the past, would rather face life’s challenges as they came rather than planning ahead, Darius Sinathrya has sure got his act together. Five years after his modeling gig, this 25-year-old chap has matured gracefully as an actor, businessman and family man.

Trying his luck as a model while still in high school in 2004, it did not take long for Darius Sinathrya to gain popularity. His face quickly became more recognizable after appearing in several music videos, runway shows, magazine shoots, as well as product advertisements.

It’s no wonder then that he won two awards, as “Best Model in a Video Clip” at the MTV Music Awards and “Best Male Model” at the Harper’s Bazaar Awards, both in the same year that he started modeling. Born in Switzerland on May 21, 1985, Darius is the son of a Javanese father and a Swiss mother.

With his charismatic persona, he’s an up-and-coming actor who has starred in a string of solid roles: D’Bijis (2007); Akhir Cinta (2007) and Naga Bonar Jadi 2 (2007), the sequel to the award-winning Indonesian cinematic classic Naga Bonar (1987). In Naga Bonar 2, Darius worked alongside some of the Indonesian film industry’s heavyweights such as actor Deddy Mizwar and Tora Sudiro.

Darius is further solidifying his name as an actor with his performance in the international collaboration of Merah Putih (the first part of a trilogy that premiered a few days before Indonesia’s 2009 Independence Day commemoration).

The film is about a band of soldiers in 1947 fighting the revolutionary war against the Dutch. Darius plays one of the main roles, a proud, but faint-hearted, cadet named Marius (he’s a priyayi; a Javanese term for a type of nobility, specifically, ranking members of the Dutch civil service). The movie is also strengthened by stunning performances from the likes of Lukman Sardi, Donny Alamsyah, Teuku Rifka Wikana, Rahayu Saraswati and Astri Nurdin.

“The film has changed my perspective on how I see our country. We should always look up to people who shed their blood and/or lost their families during war. They’ve made us [and put] us where we are right now and I don’t see much appreciation coming from the younger generation nowadays,” reckons Darius.

An effective collaboration between Indonesian talent and international film specialists, Merah Putih was directed by Yadi Sugandi, who teamed up with experts in special effects and technical aspects—international film industry experts who’ve been involved in the likes of The Matrix, Saving Private Ryan, The Dark Knight and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For the film, the actors had to experience living as soldiers by training in a military academy before the shooting began. “For a month, we were trained alongside real military cadets … housed in the same barracks and going through the rigorous physical training. It sure toughened us up for the roles,” recalls Darius.

Away from the acting and modeling business, Darius has a great fondness for soccer. Darius fell in love with ‘the beautiful game’ as a kid and even had an ambition to be a professional. “I was so much into soccer that I almost got myself into a soccer academy in Ragunan, South Jakarta. But, I decided that soccer is only a hobby for me, not a career,” he explains.

“I remember it was World Cup 1998 when I started to stay up late every night to watch all the cool matches. I have numerous mascot puppets from the World Cup as a collection,” Darius grins.

His passion for the sport has opened up new opportunities. He has done work as a sports presenter and started an indoor soccer (futsal) business, opening venues in Jakarta and Tangerang. “This is an ambitious business plan coming from a soccer fan, especially during tough times like this.

My intentions when I decided to jump into the business were originally to introduce people to the sport and to facilitate them with proper services to support the game. I even pioneered a soccer academy (the Darius Sinathrya Soccer Academy) that enables children, including the unfortunates, to play and learn about the game after school,” he confides.

As a sports presenter, it was in 2006 that Darius got his big break. He was asked to be a host on local TV for the World Cup, alongside Donna Agnesia (who he’d later marry). “One of the TV stations here was looking for a new guy to host the World Cup 2006 show for them. They were looking for someone with knowledge and passion about soccer and they selected me,” remembers Darius.

“I consider myself an observant person. I instinctively paid a lot of attention to the presenters in every sports show I saw on TV … From the way they talk and carry themselves in front of camera to the way they bring the energy into the room. Those got me in,” he confides.

He’s also a big fan of FC Barcelona. “I wasn’t very upset when Manchester United canceled their visit to Indonesia. My condolences were more for the bombing tragedy and for all the victims.”

But, he notes, “If MU had come to Indonesia, it could have opened the gate for other international soccer teams to visit. Sports journalists in Indonesia already have good relationships with several chairmen of top soccer teams in England. Imagine how many more opportunities could have been opened up for them by having interviews or live reports directly from an international soccer event.” Darius was referring to the deadly July 17, 2009 terrorist bombings in Jakarta at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, which took place the day before MU was scheduled to arrive.

Nevertheless, Darius’s hard work as a presenter did not go unnoticed. For three years running, he won the “favorite sports presenter” category at the Panasonic Awards (2006-2008). “Accomplishments are never easy. It took a lot of effort and dedication to keep on getting even better … and get something to be proud of in life.”

Darius was married to actress Donna Agnesia in December 2006 when he was just 21 years old. “Friends and family were very surprised when I proposed to Donna, especially with the age difference between us (she’s six years older). I was so young and just starting my career, but I thought I would never meet anyone else like Donna again. Everything felt so right and I asked her to marry me.”

Numerous gossip-show pundits assumed marriage would handicap his career, but it was not an issue for Darius. As it turned out, married life has boosted his popularity, “People said getting married could damage my career, but it’s a very stereotypical mind-set. I got very comfortable settling down with Donna and after we got married, a lot of doors actually started to open up, Most of my plans worked out. I won several awards for my hard work, my businesses started to rise and I hope there are more accomplishments to come,” he avows.

Currently, Darius is focusing on being with his wife and their two toddler boys; Lionel Nathan Sinathrya and Diego Andress Sinathrya. While he is still working on several TV shows, he is also preparing to shoot the second part of Merah Putih.

Spending a couple of years in the film industry and working with numerous directors has also sparked Darius’ interest in getting involved in other ways. “Each director I’ve worked with has their own work ethic. And the more I work on films as an actor, the more knowledge I obtain on how to direct. An opportunity came when I was asked by a friend to direct a conceptual music video for an upcoming band. It got a nice response from the market. Maybe in the future, directing a film would be a challenge I would like to pursue,” he tells DA MAN.