Paula in Paradise. On location at a Thai resort, the beautiful DA MAN Darling Paula Verhoeven captivates us with her sensual style. Passionate about fitness and fashion, this sexy model shares her story with DA MAN. By Peter Zewet
“Modeling is my life,” declares the 22-year-old Paula. All of 183 centimeters, she is one of the tallest models in Indonesia.
“Growing up, I was always the tallest girl in my class. That made me very conscious because I stood out; not because I was beautiful, but because of my height,” she recalls. “Since working as a model, I have learned to appreciate my height and built my confidence.”
With her height and distinctive looks, thanks to her Javanese-Chinese-Dutch heritage, Paula has carved out a name as a successful model. Besides being in high demand for runway shows and fashion shoots, Paula has been the face (and body) of a number of product advertisements. She is also currently one of the spokespersons for Makarizo, the hair products brand.
Last year, she had the honor of being appointed the “Icon” for the 6th Jakarta Fashion and Food Festival (JFFF 2009), appearing in the advertising and promotion of the prestigious yearly event. And though acting offers have been coming her way over the last few years, Paula feels that she would still like to focus and concentrate on modeling rather than branching out.
Born in Semarang, on September 18, 1987, Paula is the daughter of Eddy Verhoeven and Herlina T.H. The eldest of three girls, Paula started her career as one of the finalists in a modeling competition by a teen magazine when she was just 13.
Two years later, she took part in Elite Model’s Look of the Year Indonesia 2003 and nabbed first place; giving her the chance to represent the country in an international competition.
“When I represented Indonesia for the Elite Model’s Look of the Year 2003 in Singapore, I had the opportunity to experience how competitive the modeling business can really be. The girls were very cliquish and there was a lot of pressure.
Above: Scarf, as dress, by Hermès
“Maybe because I was young then, but I felt really awkward and really stressed out by the competition,” remembers Paula.
Too fat to model?
Though Paula has been a model since 2001, she has not always been tremendously successful; “I was overweight for my height when I started modeling professionally, and I was still living in Semarang so I was not always able to go casting and get the jobs in Jakarta.
“In 2005, I moved to Jakarta to pursue my studies at the London School of Public Relations and tried modeling more seriously. But my weight did become an obvious issue. By the end of 2006, I decided to take control of the situation by working out and having a proper diet. I’m not one of those lucky girls who can eat all they want and stay thin,” laughs Paula, whose favorite food is salmon sashimi. “It’s all hard work, but it’s worth it!”
Exercising has also become a passion for Paula, who lives a healthy lifestyle. “I don’t smoke and I don’t particularly enjoy nights out at the clubs,” she adds. “I love spending my free time at the gym.”
While working out helps to keep her body in shape, Paula is not obsessed about being thin. “What I want to achieve is a tight body with muscle definition, so I incorporate weights into my exercise regime,” she confides. “As a woman, I think that being able to take good care of one’s body is a quality that makes her sexy.”
Since getting into shape, Paula’s career started to take off in 2007. The fashion industry took notice and began to embrace her.
“I started getting jobs that I never thought I would get. Modeling became a job that I really wanted to be good at,” says Paula.
Like many models, meeting a lot of new people, making new friends and traveling to new and exciting places are the aspects of her job that Paula loves. “I also feel blessed to be given the opportunity to work with many of Indonesia’s top fashion designers. I’ve learned so much from them,” she gushes.
When asked about her favorite Indonesian designer, Paula is diplomatic yet sincere when stating, with a smile, that she “really thinks they are all really good, each with their own signature style. It’s really hard for me to name just one.”
This year, Paula is officially a full-time model, having finished her studies at the London School of Public Relations this past December. For Paula, “the quality of communication reflects the quality of my life,” and learning PR skills has been another step to better herself as a model.
Now that she has completed her education, Paula is focused on trying to make her mark in the modeling scene abroad. “To go international is not going to be something easy,” she says. “But that’s been my long-life dream since working in this business.”
Happy and free
Family and close friends are important for Paula and they give “support and inspire me to always work hard. I find joy when I’m able to make them happy.”
When asked about her love life, she says she’s currently flying solo.
So what does Paula look for in a man? “Someone who is intelligent in understanding and appreciating a relationship,” she says without hesitation, “and of course, a man who takes good care of his body and has a healthy lifestyle!”
Photographs: Peter Tjahjadi
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