Exclusive with Dominique Diyose

“Sexiest Woman of the Year’
Her enchanting Oriental features and outgoing personality have been the keys to success for Dominique Agisca Diyose in the entertainment industry. Once voted the “Sexiest Woman of the Year” by a fashion magazine and “The Most Outstanding Model” by Jakarta Fashion Minute, an annual fashion guidebook, Dominique is not resting on her laurels. Today, we can’t help but be infatuated with this feisty beauty as our DA MAN Darling.

Dress by Diane von Furstenberg

Photographs: Peter Tjahjadi

Styling & Text: Ria TC

To her friends, she is fondly called Domi. Dominique Agisca Diyose was born in Semarang, Central Java on August 7, 1988. Her exotic charm and look comes from her mix of Chinese-Indonesian and Japanese via her parents.

One of her given names, “Di-yo-se” is a name her mother came up with; a combination of her parents’ names, Maria Dyah and Yohanes Johansyah, and the city where she was born.

“I love the fact that I came from a multi-ethnic family. I’ve been told that I have a chameleon face, which works well in the modeling industry,” Domi laughs. “I might have Chinese and Japanese blood in me, but I was born as an Indonesian and I am proud to be one. We are so rich in cultures and heritages; each of them is purely beautiful and unique.”

Darling in the limelight
With her signature beauty, you may have noticed Dominique on the covers and pages of various fashion magazines around Asia.

Or you might recognize her from one of the many TV shows she has appeared on, such as Mengejar Cinta (Chasing Love), or Pelangi Cintaku (Rainbow of My Love), or the one she currently hosts, Sentuhan Kasih (The Touch of Love).

Undeniably, it is her exotic Oriental allure that has made her stand out and has brought fame as a professional model and an award-winning actress.

A true Leo—and determined hard worker by nature—Domi decided to follow her dream when she was just 13.

“I got to the point where I really wanted to model and made it my career choice. I learned how to model at John Casablancas, then I signed with Elite Models Agency Indonesia. I spent two years there before I decided to go independent,” Domi recalls. “I was only 13 and my life was already about fashion shows!”

Over the last nine years, she has walked the runways for many designers, local and international.

She has also appeared in many advertising campaigns as well as music videos for Indonesian musicians.

“Each project was very exciting and I would discover something new. I’ve also been happy with the opportunity to visit so many beautiful places in the world through modeling; from Hong Kong, Beijing and Nanjing to Japan and several countries in Europe,” she says.

“I remember my very first job as a model was a one-page beauty photo shoot for Her World magazine,” recalls Domi. “A few weeks later, I went to their studio and I was so surprised to see my face on the cover. I was told I was one of first three Indonesian models to be their cover (the magazine was a franchise from Singapore at the time). I had the cover framed and still keep it.”

In 2006, Domi had her acting debut in an award-winning movie directed by Nia Dinata entitled Berbagi Suami (Shared Husband).

Domi got to play “Ming,” a young Chinese woman who gets caught up in one of most discussed social dilemmas of recent years—polygamy.

Going well beyond the model-turned-actress cliché, Domi received positive feedback for her role in that film and even won a pair of awards (one of them for “Best New Actress” at the Jakarta Film Festival 2006). She was even made the ambassador for the Jakarta French Film Festival 2008.

But so far, she has only appeared in two big-screen movies (the other was Karma, 2008). When DA MAN asked Domi about this, she responded, “To be given a chance to prove my ability to act was a great experience. But for now, I’m hoping to focus on my creative pursuit—dancing.”

Dress by Bebe

Stage performer
It was 2006 when Domi participated in the Chentini Fashion Performing Arts in Yogyakarta (which was a tribute to the revered 18th-century Javanese manuscript Serat Centhini).

She was asked to model and do a traditional dance during the show. Serat Centhini contains most of the details of Javanese culture, such as traditions, mythical beliefs and religions.

“We were mixing fashion and performing artistic dance numbers to fit the stories of Serat Centhini. I was asked to play the graceful Tambangraras, the wife of Amongrogo (one of renowned spiritual characters in Javanese lore),” Domi explains. “I was very shy at first, but the other dancers helped me through the rehearsal. And I really started to love dancing and participating in such art performances. It was one of the greatest experiences for me … ever!”

You might say it all came naturally for Domi, whose family has a strong artistic background. Her mother used to be a dancer at the famed Bagong Kussudiardjo art center in Semarang, while her grandfather was also an art enthusiast, who owned a little art studio to paint and play traditional instruments. “I love Javanese heritage. Batik, for example… If you pay closer attention, there are so many stories that could be told in each beautiful batik pattern. We should be proud of our rich nation.”

When asked about her perspectives on women and sensuality, she contemplatively responds, “Some people here still do not understand that the most important thing about being sensual for a woman is that you need to stay elegant. It’s an art to be sultry and sensuous,” Domi explains. “For me, being extra careful when people come to me and offer me a job (photo shoots and fashion shows) with such requests is necessary. I’d prefer to turn them down or at least have meetings with them to talk about the concept, rather than to see an unwanted result. Plus, some people tend to make me a bit uncomfortable.”

As for men, Domi confesses that she would fall for a guy who can treat the woman he loves with much compassion. Intelligence, loyalty and responsibility, for Domi, are the criteria to spot the true gentlemen among regular guys. “I’d totally go for the type of guy who could be a good father figure. I’m looking for a guy, who is more mature than me, because in some ways I like to be pampered.”

At present, Domi plans to continue exploring the fashion world and be even better at things she does best. “I am still young, so I’m not in too much of a hurry. For the next three months, I will be going back and forth to Singapore for work, going to casting and stuff. Hopefully, I can save up some more and be able to continue my studies. I am planning to major in Fashion Business and Marketing.” Young, quite well-accomplished and talented, without doubt, we can expect something major coming our way from Dominique.

Left: Dress by Raoul, Right: Dress by Max Mara

This article appeared in DA MAN’s April/May 2010 issue, to subscribe or get back orders, go here.