DON’T STOP ME NOW – Model, actress and writer Carissa Perusset talks with DAMAN’s Ricky Ronaldo about her career and the battles she’s faced throughout
Navigating your twenties can be hard—for quite a lot of reasons. So, if you’ve just started to enter that particular phase of life, like new DAMAN Darling Carissa Perusset, the road ahead will be filled with a lot of soul searching. Though the possibilities are endless, struggle is inevitable. And this is what separates the wheat from the chaff—those who push through and those who gave up. Perusset, however, leans much more towards the former.
Still, signs of her struggles came up during the shoot and interview. “Even coming here I was fueled with anxiety.” she candidly reveals midway through our conversation. “I’m sure nothing will go wrong, but then your head is like, ‘everything will go wrong.’” That said, Perusset came to location alone that day and—from this writer’s point of view at least—she did not look scared or anxious at all.
This is especially true knowing what she has accomplished at a relatively young age: From modeling, writing and publishing her own poetry book and, most recently, acting in the upcoming “Antologi Rasa” opposite Refal Hady, who Perusset described as “a big ball of sunshine” to work with. So, I naturally came to the conclusion that underneath her soft-spoken and modest demeanor is a woman with an artistic soul, one who spoke eloquently and genuinely of her journey and struggles through life.
So, how did it all start? Perusset started off as a model. One fateful day she received a Facebook message from a photographer named Arief who asked her to join his agency, IVY models. She admitted that she wasn’t really into the whole idea at first, but being introduced to all the amazing designers and photographers piqued her interest. Still, Perusset struggled, especially when it came to maintaining the ideal weight. “I never felt adequate, it’s either you’ve gained too much weight or you’ve lost too much. There’s never a good balance in between,” she reminisced. “But I think the situation is getting better. There are now platforms for plus size models as well as a wider variety of models. That’s what a lot of models deserve: recognition for their variety.”
From there, Perusset delved into acting. Her beginnings in this field, it turned out, was quite similar to her venture into modeling. When she got a call from a casting director who invited her to audition for a role, “my anxiety went through the roof and I didn’t want to do it,” she recalled, before adding: “But it would’ve been foolish not to.”
Funny thing is, Perusset didn’t actually audition for her current role in “Antologi Rasa.” She originally auditioned for a different movie. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that she got a call from the casting director who wanted to place her in Ika Natassa’s “Antologi Rasa” as Keara.
Her character in the movie is confident, an all-around badass and is in a love triangle—with four people. Perusset described it as a love square. “The film is about four good friends who are coworkers in a bank,” she elaborates about the plot and her role. “My character, Keara, is deeply in love with one of her good friends slash co-worker Ruly (Refal Hady), who is in love with a married woman named Denise. And then I’m best friends with a guy called Harris (Herjunot Ali), who is in love with me, but I only see him as a friend.”
As this is Perusset’s first feature film, the biggest challenge she had to face was the first few weeks of shooting. “I felt really scared and insecure about everything, about my acting and my Indonesian and just getting out of my shell. I remember crying on my first day,” she exclaims. She also struggled with memorizing her lines. In one scene she had to do a presentation full of business jargon and economic terms. Despite having committed her dialogue to heart beforehand, she went blank when the cameras started rolling. “It was just me being super nervous and anxiety-fueled and everything,” she explains.
Our conversation then veered into mental health, and Perusset reveals that she had been struggling with anxiety since middle school. “There’s been times where I’ve canceled shoots last minute and I feel really bad for my agency because it is really unprofessional,” she says. “It’s such a ‘first world problem’ and I don’t know how to explain it.” She also went to therapy when she was younger and asserts: “I don’t think there is any shame in going to therapy. I would go now if I could and I think everybody needs a little bit of therapy.”
Eventually, Perusset got through the whole filming process “pretty okay.” This was in no small part due to the support from the people on set and how she became friends with everyone there. “You know, it’s actually a lot of fun if you let it be that way,” she adds. “I think the whole thing was a big learning experience for me, which made it so interesting. And I love everything that goes behind the screens.”
When she isn’t busy with modeling or acting, Perruset also writes and paints. During her gap year last year, she published a collection of poetry and prose in a book titled “Everything in Between.” It was heavily influenced by Indian-born Canadian poet and writer Rupi Kaur. She began working on it since she was 16 years old in “a crappy little notebook.” Additionally, she also do abstract paintings. “I don’t post a lot of it because I feel it’s too personal,” she states. “I think the book is already really personal and my paintings are on a whole other level. Nobody needs to know that.”
Currently, Perusset is applying to university, which in her case, involves preparing a short movie as she is planning to study English literature and film. “University first and then hopefully acting,” she reassuringly says of her next step. “There is a lot of room for improvement with my acting and I can’t wait to learn more about the film industry and film in general.” One day, she also hopes to do an art house film or, even, to direct her own film.
So, the next time she graces the pages of DAMAN again—and I’m positively sure she will sometime in the future—Perusset will definitely have more hopeful stories to share.
Photography Advan Matthew
Styling Primawan Hakim
Makeup and Hair Kiky Lutan
Location Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, +62 21 2358 3800, kempinski.com/id/jakarta/hotel-indonesia
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