Rahmah Umayya DA MAN Darling Exclusive

Hot to Trot

Sassy and stylish Rahmah Umayya may be known as an MC and radio presenter, but the multitalented lady has been exploring her options in life’s career and making a bold step to start investing in happiness.

Photographs: Andre Djuanda
Styling and interview: Peter Zewet

Since 2009, she has also been working with United Nations as one of the ambassadors for the SUTA campaign (Stand Up and Take Action). “SUTA is about education and female empowerment,” explains presenter and emcee Rahmah Umayya. “I’m so honored to be able to contribute my time and energy to give back to the community. I’m a dreamer, and luckily, I got almost everything that I have dreamed about,” says Rahmah.

A graduate of Duff Miller College in London where she pursued business studies, communications and art, Rahmah started working as a fashion and beauty editor at CosmoGirl magazine in Indonesia back in 2001.

In 2003, Rahmah decided to explore her other talents by participating in the MTV VJ Hunt where she made it to the finals. Though she started to look at broadcasting as a career, Rahmah was still deep in fashion, working as a freelance fashion stylist as well as launching an accessories brand that was well received in the market. “It was in 2007 that I was offered to be a radio broadcaster at Hard Rock FM Jakarta. I was entrusted to lead the prime-time radio programs, ‘Drive n Jive’ and ‘Good Morning, Hardrockers’ shows,” recalls Rahmah, and thus, her broadcasting career began.

With her good looks and alluring personality, Rahmah easily won the hearts of many. While she continues to gain fans from her radio work, Rahmah also made the transition to television, hosting various entertainment programs. Naturally, Rahmah was also in demand as an emcee for a number of high-profile events.

Earlier this year, though, Rahmah made a big career-related decision; after three years in the broadcast industry, she decided to leave Hard Rock FM. “As much as I enjoyed the show, adored the brand and enjoyed the money, I realized that there’s one thing more valuable than all that … time,” explains Rahmah. “I could not stay there any longer because I want to do more in life. Besides, three years was more than enough for me personally.”

Now, she has a new focus. “Working full-time as a radio broadcaster, along with other commitments, I simply didn’t have time for myself. Now I can focus on myself, making space and really pays attention to my inner voice,” Rahmah says. “There is a lot of pressure involved in the work. I think I’ll go crazy if I stay there a bit longer. I realized I don’t have much time left. My motto is that you can have more money, but you can’t have more time.”

Family priority

The youngest of three children, and the only daughter of Ariaspari Soejoenoes and Sekarwati, Jakarta-born Rahmah is pretty much a daddy’s girl. “I don’t think I’m spoiled though,” laughs Rahmah. “I’m caring and very much into my family.”

Born December 20, 1979, this Sagittarius girl “wants to be somebody that can inspire others just like me be being inspired by others, too. I want to be one of the best public speakers, and I also want to go back to having a business of my own,” says Rahmah of her plans for the near future.

Citing Nadya Hutagalung as a big influence for herself, Rahmah explains that Nadya “has character, is very classy, witty, down to earth and very comfortable with herself. She inspires me a lot. I personally think that the entertainment industry is a crazy, tough world. You’ve got to be strong, knowledgeable, calm and humble at the same time, otherwise you will go insane.”

So what is it that Rahmah loves most about being a presenter and emcee? “Being myself; I enjoy dressing up, I enjoy talking and being a good listener, being a good friend at the same time. Basically, I do not need to play any character other than myself. And the beauty of the job is that I get paid for being who I am. Voila!”


Rahmah has been busy with new creative ventures in the last few months, “I have three projects going on at the moment. The first is the upcoming musical by Joko Anwar, Onrop. It’s a black comedy in which I’ll be playing a super-vixen biology teacher on Onrop island,” grins Rahmah. “It will come out this November. The musical is choreographed by Eko Suprianto, who was a dancer for Madonna’s ‘Drowned World’ tour in 2001. He’s brilliant!”

She is also a bit of a Web entrepreneur as it turns out. “Another project I’ve been working on is my own e-business, which revolves around Indonesia, but since it is still a work in progress, I can’t say much about it at the moment because I want it to be a surprise,” she says cheekily.

“The third project I’m involved is the movie Kabayan, which I think is going to be a good comedy film. I’m doing a small role as a crazy oh-la-la secretary,” laughs Rahmah.

Rahmah is currently single but someday she’d like to meet a guy who his mature and confident. “Maturity is a very, very, very sexy quality. That’s all I can stress,” smiles Rahmah. “Good manners and a sense of humor are also a plus! Basically a guy with life purpose, smart and emotionally stable,” she pauses. “I hope that is not too much to ask. Maybe that’s why I am still single,” she sighs with a smile.

“Everything is special. I’ve learned a lot through experiences; from running a prime-time show, to becoming an emcee and presenter,” she reminisces. “There’s been many changes in my life this year, and so many fascinating activities on the horizon, I am so happy and thankfully lucky.”

To see the full feature with more full-size images, click here for the DA MAN October/November 2010 back issue.