SOULFUL JOURNEY. Widika Sidmore talks about her journey through modeling, acting and discovering more about herself with DAMAN’s Ricky Ronaldo
Dress by Red Valentino
Since the last time we met with Widika Sidmore, which is a good three years ago, the veteran model has gained four tattoos, bringing her total to thirteen. She told me that tattoos are not merely make-up for her body, but instead act as reminders of the mistakes and hard patches that she had to overcome. “So once there’s another big lump on the road,” Sidmore says, “I could face it with full force.” Case in point: Her line tattoo, which symbolizes that life happens only once or the arrow-shaped tattoo that represents her roots. Sidmore’s entire tattoo collection represents her past as well as her future, or in her own words: “They are symbols of where I used to be and where I will be in the future.”
And indeed, just like her tattoos, Sidmore has moved forward quite a bit in the past three years. Now, for instance, she has delved into acting. But this doesn’t mean that her modeling career is behind her; it’s just not her primary activity for the time being. “If I were to go abroad again it would be for acting,” she added. See, before, Sidmore has worked extensively as a model abroad. Having signed a three-year contract with Ford Models agency at New York, Sidmore has experienced all the highs and lows of the modeling world. And as expected, she has a lot to share from that part of her life as well.
“It’s harder than it looks,” she begins. “It’s not always glamorous. It takes a lot of work, dedication and discipline. And it’s very competitive.” For Sidmore, however, the hardest thing about modeling was the constant pressure to be perfect. She admits that she is hypercritical of herself, up to the point where she tenses up and her friends told her to calm down. “I think in modeling, it is always about physique,” she elaborates. “So, we tend to look at each other and be like ‘Oh my God, that other girl is so beautiful or unique’ and you look at yourself ‘Oh, what do I have?’ So, there’s a lot of mental pressure.”
It’s also important to note that during Sidmore’s modeling days, social media has not yet become a crucial part of the fashion industry. One had to go to castings and make a lasting impression, sometimes within seconds, because once you’re forgotten there are no online trails to remember you by. For Sidmore, this creates even more pressure, as she had to work even harder than before.
Scarf and T-shirt by Versace
But even with social media as it is today, the 26-year-old model and actress still has mixed feelings about using it. “I have a hate and love relationship with social media,” she says with a laugh. “I’m really bad at, say, promoting myself because I’m a very moody person in ways that I really don’t want people to know about me. I like to keep the mysterious side of me.”
Naturally, anyone strolling through Sidmore’s Instagram account for the first time will probably miss the fact that Sidmore is a model or an actress and will likely guess that she’s just another avid traveler. The truth is, her travel photos, of places like Paris and Reykjavik, are actually taken at shooting locations for her upcoming film: “Cinta Itu Bangsat.”
Directed by Amir Pohan, “Cinta Itu Bangsat” is a romance film telling three love stories in three different countries—Iceland, France and Indonesia—whose characters are all connected with one another. Sidmore teases that this film explores the harsher side of love rather than the fairytale aspect of it, in a sense that “this is life and it is actually happening.”
As for her character, Sidmore will play Salina, an outgoing person who is conducting some sort of anthropological research in East Java, where she will meet Marco Polo (Aufa Assagaf). Meanwhile, Salina’s fiancée, Tigor (Rio Dewanto) is in Iceland to capture the aurora borealis, where he also encountered a woman. Other stars in the film include Chicco Jerikho, Salvita Decorte and many more.
But this is not actually Sidmore’s first acting gig. Previously, she had starred in “Pertaruhan,” playing as Jamila opposite Adipati Dolken and Aliando Syarief. Her current role, however, is quite different. “She’s an outgoing person, very open-minded, with strong principles in her life. She’s really into adventure, experiencing new things and is always outdoors as well,” Sidmore says of Salina. “So, we have a lot in common. I adore my character and wish I could be as strong as her.”
To prepare for her role, Sidmore said that she had to do a lot of reading to connect with her character. Seeing that Sidmore is an avid bookworm—with her favorite Indonesian literature being Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s “Bumi Manusia” (This Earth of Mankind) or Eka Kurniawan’s “Cantik Itu Luka” (Beauty is a Wound), to name just a few—this is not too much of a problem for her. But, like any newcomer to the movie industry, there are, of course, challenges along the way.
One challenge that comes to her mind was to learn what Salina does for a living. She further explains that her character is such a perfectionist and a hard worker that she finds it hard to embody the traits that Salina has but she lacks.
When asked if her modeling background has helped her to act, Sidmore, unlike many of her fellow models that we’ve talked to before, comments that it does not. “In modeling, you don’t really take your soul with you. With acting, you pour your heart, thoughts and imagination out,” she explains. “In acting, there’s so much depth that modeling in itself as a foundation does not really cut it.”
Widmore then asserted that in the modeling world, they don’t really care about your personality. You just “need to be perfect.” Therefore, her journey from modeling to acting took her quite by surprise. “All these years you have to be this beautiful perfect creature,” she went on. “And the next thing you know, they don’t want you to be pretty: ‘Roll on the ground; I want to see you cry.’” Later, she also added that there is a transparency and rawness to acting that made it feel really different.
“How you look does not guarantee that you will get a part. You don’t have to be perfect in acting, you don’t have to be skinny and you don’t have to always look so beautiful, sexy and cute. It’s more than that,” Sidmore exclaims. “And it is a very new experience for me, having known modeling so well but so little about acting.”
Then there are also the constant rejections, which has always been part of showbiz, and which Sidmore has experienced plenty of times, both during her modeling days and also now as she dives ever deeper into professional acting. But there is a difference. “Every time I get rejected for a movie it hurts more than getting rejected for a campaign or catwalk,” she reveals. Still, she acknowledges that she is still more or less a “baby” as far as acting goes, and that she still has a long journey ahead of her.
In a way, this rings true not only for her career, acting or otherwise, but also her journey of self-discovery. Sidmore candidly reveals that she is currently on a spiritual journey. Being in her mid-twenties, she says that it was a tough time for her and not exactly fun like many people said it would be. It was, in her own words: an “all over the place” experience.
“I don’t know what I want to do, who I was in a way,” she confesses. “So, this year has been a spiritual journey for me. To really get to know who I am and what I really want to do in my life, what my goals are and self-reflect with a lot of things in life.”
That said, Sidmore discloses that she constantly meditates and tries her best to get connected to a higher power, in attempt to be stronger, more grateful and blessed every single day. It might sound a bit clichéd, but so far it has worked for her. It also explained her answer when I asked her about her goals for the rest of 2018: “I’m up for anything. I’m like in the stage of being open for anything that’s fun and creative, so that I can evolve to be a better version of who I am.” She then said that she is currently really happy in life, feeling more blessed, grateful and humble. “I think,” she said in closing, “that I am slowly getting there.”
Dress by Red Valentino
Photography Hilarius Jason
Styling Paul dela Merced
Styling assistant Primawan Hakim
Hair and Makeup Morin Iwashita
Location Havana Jakarta, Pd. Indah Mall Street Gallery Level 4, Jl. Metro Pondok Indah, Jakarta; +62 21 2952 9730
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