Cover Story / March 2019
Her big break in the industry came in 1999, when she was featured on the cover of Aneka Yess! magazine. After that, she continued her modeling career until she decided to explore other options. “I wanted something new. I wanted something more challenging. Modeling is like, it’s fun. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I wanted something more, so I started to audition for movies,” Luna told GlobeAsia.
Her first role was a popular girl named Barbara in Upi’s 2004 comedy film “30 Hari Mencari Cinta” (“30 Days Looking for Love”). In 2006, she earned a nomination for best lead actress at the prestigious Indonesian Film Festival – informally known as the Indonesian Oscars – for her role in Teddy Soeriaatmadja’s “Ruang” (“Space”).
She has starred in more than 30 films in various genres, from romance to comedy and horror. Last year, she played the late horror queen Suzzanna in “Suzzanna: Bernapas Dalam Kubur” (“Suzzanna: Still Breathing in the Grave”), which attracted 3,346,185 views, making it the second highest-grossing Indonesian film of 2018.
When asked in what type of films she likes to star, Luna said a colossal period drama or action film, so that she can, “like Julie Estelle, kick ass,” referring to the actress known for her iconic action roles, such as Hammer Girl in Gareth Evans’s “The Raid 2” and The Operator in Timo Tjahjanto’s “The Night Comes for Us.”
Commenting on the current state of the Indonesian film industry, Luna said the market is getting bigger and the films are improving in quality. “[The industry is] just getting better and we started to have many young new directors. They make really, really great movies, so I’m really excited for the Indonesian film industry,” she said.
However, she said there is a need for fresh faces on screen. “Out there, we have 260 million people in Indonesia, so there must be many talented people who just don’t have access [to the industry]. But you know what, with YouTube and the internet now, anyone can have a chance,” Luna said.
She also expressed hope that people will keep supporting local films. “Indonesian audiences must keep believing in our movies. Don’t stop going to the cinema to watch our movies, because it is the moviegoers who keep us alive. Once films don’t sell, the industry will become stagnant. In the end, it’s all about business, so I’m hoping all the moviemakers are serious in their work, and make quality films so Indonesian audiences don’t stop going to the cinema,” Luna said.
A Thirst for Learning
What is the key to becoming an accomplished, prolific celebrity? Luna said although she is grateful that people consider her successful, she does not want to call herself that, as it would make her complacent.
“For me, I don’t consider myself a successful woman, or actress, or whatever. I just like learning and criticizing myself, because if I stop criticizing myself, I will never learn… What stops us from learning, is feeling like we have succeeded,” the Bali-born actress said.
Having spent more than two decades in showbiz, the principle she lives by is “never give up.”
“I know it sounds clichéd, but that’s actually true. I’ve been up and down and I’m still here, because I never give up… In the end, people will always talk. People are always going to put you down. People will always criticize you. Always. But the only people who can make us go forward are ourselves,” she said.
Her message to people aspiring to build careers in the entertainment industry is to enjoy the process and learn as much as possible.
“Please believe in the process. If you have talent, you’ll get there. Just never stop and never believe in shortcuts. For me to get here, it took me 20 years,” she said.
Luna the Entrepreneur
una started dabbling in various businesses in 2007, including property and fashion. This included a collaboration with local clothing brand Hardware to create “LM for Hardware,” but the partnership was later disbanded.
She next introduced her own ready-to-wear line, Luna Habit, in 2014. As the creative director, Luna described the style as “casual, edgy, with a boyish kind of look, but still has a feminine touch.”
The reason she chose fashion was because “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” referring to the fact that her mother used to run a garment business when Luna was young.
With the growth in e-commerce, Luna saw a business opportunity. Although Luna Habit now has several brick-and-mortar stores across Indonesia, it still largely operates online and through social media. However, with the abundance of other online shops out there, she admitted that competition is tight.
“Fashion is a fast-moving business. We must always know what’s going on and what’s the trend. We have to read lots of fashion magazines and websites,” said Luna, who idolizes fashion icon Victoria Beckham.
The hardest challenges she has faced in running Luna Habit are “how to increase sales, how to get traffic and how to get big boutiques,” considering that most of her physical stores are inside other businesses, such as department stores and coffee shops.
Luna has also ventured into the food and beverage industry with several brands, such as Kastera, a cake store, and Martabucks Luna Uya – in collaboration with fellow presenter Uya Kuya – which specializes in folded Indonesian pancakes. Another brand, Waluma, a contraction of Warung Luna Maya, is in the process of rebranding.
Since the food and beverage business is becoming more popular among Indonesian celebrities, how does Luna handle the competition?
“In the end, taste is important. The product is also important. But it’s a huge market. You’re just going to grab the part you’re going to challenge. I’m looking at the middle-low market segment, so it’s pretty challenging, because many others are doing the same. That’s why the marketing strategy has to be good,” she said.
This year, Luna is also planning to launch a cosmetics line for “active women who like natural makeup.”
“I like the no-makeup makeup look. My concept is for those who are not really familiar with makeup and don’t want to trouble themselves with it, but at least they’re going to have something. Just make it fresh and natural,” Luna said.
Luna has been working since last year to prepare the makeup line, expected to launch by the middle of 2019.
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