Hamish Daud Straddles Designing and Acting Careers

ACTING BY DESIGN. Having spent most of his life surrounded by structural and interior designing, Hamish Daud grew up as someone with a wildly creative mind

Outfit by Etro

Hamish Daud steps into the photo shoot set in West Jakarta feeling a bit wary. It seems, so he claims, that he doesn’t do this—meaning, modeling in front of the camera—very often. So it is much to photographer Shadtoto Prasetio and everyone else’s surprise to see how pose after pose comes easily to him, and how little direction he needs once he hears the camera clicks. “I am a creative person,” Hamish says, offering something of an explanation. “Also, I tend to get bored easily,” he adds, which also accounts for his decision to delve into acting. When he’s not in Jakarta—nailing photo shoots and doing the promotional rounds for his movie, Rectoverso—Hamish spends most of his time in Bali, where he currently lives as well as works as creative director and design director for Tarita and Saka, respectively; the former has been hailed as “one of the largest furniture companies” in Bali by a local magazine, while the latter is a thriving architectural company that has offices in three major Indonesian cities (Aceh, Yogyakarta, Bali). Hamish’s first foray into acting came about due to noted author and filmmaker Richard Oh, who invited Hamish to star in Description without Place (2012), an indie film. Description is a movie comprised of three independent stories, each revolving around the life of a women from a different nationality—Indonesian, Arab and Italian—as they search for freedom and a sense of belonging in Bali. In that film, Hamish plays a character named Rwa, a professional photographer who also acts as a tour guide for the Arab girl, Yasmin (played by model and actress Sausan Machari), as she roams around the island. Half-Indonesian and half-Western, Rwa has a shared heritage with Hamish, who was born of an Indonesian mother and an Australian father.

Also starring in Description is actress Happy Salma, who would later play an important role in Hamish’s involvement in Rectoverso. Not unlike Description, Rectoverso is an omnibus film that is based on a short story collection of the same name. Of its 11 stories, five have been made into short movies that, together, make Rectoverso whole. Five distinguished young Indonesian actresses were each assigned a story to direct and Happy takes the director’s chair for the final piece in the movie, “Hanya Isyarat” (It’s Only a Sign). Arguably the most romantic of all five, “Hanya Isyarat” tells the story of a girl named Al (Amanda Soekasah) who, unbeknownst to everyone, falls in love with one of her fellow backpackers, named Raga. Personally selected by Happy to play the mysterious and spiritual Raga was none other than Hamish himself.

“I was just a newcomer but apparently [Happy] saw my ability so she asked me to try out for Rectoverso. Everything happened to work out very well,” he says. “I feel very privileged to have had the chance to work with Happy. She was my mentor, I learned a lot from her. She’s very talented.” Hamish admits that acting is “not as easy as he initially thought.” He says, “It’s not easy to switch into an entirely different character and then back to normal; there’s a whole psychology behind it. And the eyes cannot lie.” It helps that Hamish finds parallels between interior designing and acting. “It’s the attention to details,” he says. “Every time I step into a building, I try to notice every angle: the floor, the roof, the walls; every centimeter of them. As an actor, I try to look deep into a character, to
understand the viewers, to understand myself, as well as many other details.” Having similarities with Raga doesn’t hurt, either. “Like Raga, I had been in an accident before. I was in a coma. And I came out of it feeling more spiritual, so this character is quite personal to me.”

Hamish is also as addicted to traveling as Raga is. “I just can’t stand still! I prefer traveling around Indonesia, like in East Nusa Tenggara,” he says. “And I like to travel to Aceh too, because [Saka] has an office there. So [I would go] from the West all the way to the East of Indonesia. I mean, Indonesia has almost 14,000 islands; you just can’t get tired of it! So I am always looking to explore [Indonesia], to try and learn something new each time and share that knowledge with everyone.” Of all those places, East Nusa Tenggara is probably the one that he cherishes the most. “Before my father passed away, he lived there for 30-ish years, and I still have some family members living there, so…” Hamish turns solemn at the mention of his father. “My father just passed away, so every little thing I do, I want to make sure that it will make him happy,” he says. “I used to ask him for advice, and he always had an answer for me. And even though he’s gone, I still want to make him proud of me as a man.”

Despite his attachment towards East Nusa Tenggara, Hamish has no intention to make his home in the islands, or in any other Indonesian island for that matter. “My heart lies in Bali,” he says. Still, that doesn’t stop him from setting off for Jakarta again, should an opportunity arise. Another photo shoot, perhaps. Or another round of promotions for a different movie. Hamish sure is excited about it. “I hope people give [my performance in Rectoverso] a positive review,” he says. “And if I get another opportunity to star in another movie, I will definitely do it.”