In our newest series "People We've Met Along the Way" we will share with you the unique, interesting, amazing humans that we have had the pleasure of crossing paths with while on the road. As "Trippers" we believe that the kindred spirits, the connections we make with total strangers, and experiencing new locales through their lens, are some of the most monumental parts of traveling. These are the stories of the beautiful beings that have captured our hearts...
by Anjelica Jardiel
The first time I met Anya was in Bali. She showed up to my villa on Pantai Pererenan after a fling left my room and ever so slightly broke my heart. We chatted about heart things, smoked, and ate empanadas and sandwiches. My friends Dhany and Adit styled her with treasures our friends made. We took pictures in the pool, amongst the tropical plants and on the shore, the night before a full moon. The waves were wild, strong, and loud. They crashed behind her. She could have easily been swept away, but she stood like a champion.
We wrapped, cheered, and dried off after five looks. On the way to the car, she told me she was thalassophobic. She has an intense and persistent fear of the ocean, yet I never saw it. I knew I liked her.
Anya has a fighting spirit that ensures her victory, and a kind heart to inspire others to do the same. We got to know her a bit better through our interview below.
Name: Anya Zen
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
Occupation: Model, Student
What was it like growing up in Jakarta?
I've spent my entire life in Jakarta, and one thing is for sure: the city never stops, unless you're stuck in traffic. Funny, huh? It's a busy city, unpredictable, but oh my does it have hidden gems spread all over its corners. I love how Jakarta gets me going. It keeps me on my toes.
Tell us about the food!
The street food here is ah-may-zing!! For $1 you can get gado-gado--a full Indonesian salad made with lettuce, bean sprouts, cauliflower, fried tofu and tempeh, spicy beans, and soy sauce. It's an entire meal!
And the nightlife?
I bar and club hop with my friends every other week, but the important key to a great night lies in what Jakartans call "Anggur Merah" which literally means red wine. It's sold by locals in street stalls and if you're lucky, you'll get it in a plastic bag instead of a bottle. It's sweeter than the usual red wine and has the power to fuck you up real hard. It guarantees a fun night for only $4.
Heard that your mother was a supermodel. What was that like when you were younger, and how has it influenced you?
From what I've heard, my mom was THE supermodel. Her name is Ratih Sang and she was one of the first Indonesian models to sign with agencies in New York and Milan! In my younger years, I was always told that I look so much like her and that I should model as well. I hated that. I hated always being compared to her, especially being told what to do. But in my teenage years I discovered America's Next Top Model, and I got hooked. Everything that the models went through on the show I could relate to from hearing my mom's stories. I decided I wanted to become a model, but was too shy to admit it. I thought I did not have what it takes because Indonesia's stereotype of beauty is light skin and straight, shiny black hair, which I don't have. My skin is dark and my hair is wavy. So I just kind of kept it to myself. One day I came across a magazine clipping--the headline read "Ratih Sang Gave Birth To A Model". Knowing that my mom had this vision for me even before knowing what I would look like or how I would turn out gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my passions. People thought I had it easy, being my mom's daughter--but in reality, I have done everything on my own.
Tell us more about your family.
My dad comes from Padang, West Sumatra, but he was born in Jakarta and spent his life moving across the nation because of his father's work. He went to school in the UK, and was there for 7 years. Mom was born and raised in a very small town in East Java. Javanese people are very soft and slow. "Toto kromo" (or politeness) is taught to children from a very young age. The younger need to respect the elders to such extent that Javanese use different language when talking to their peers and their parents. This, I think, results in a clear hierarchy in my family. I also have two younger sisters.
Since we're a travel publication, we have to ask--what's your favorite place to travel?
My mom and dad met in Bali. They have a lot of friends there. So we've been going to Bali for summer and New Year's vacation every year since I was in middle school. That's why I love Bali so much. It's not even all the parties, but rather the atmosphere and the people that I have grown very fond of. One of my favorite things to do is lay at the beach and sunbathe.
What are you most grateful for?
People. I'm a people's person. I love meeting new people, talking to people, rekindling with old friends, reading and learning people, almost everything that has to do with other people. I love how each and every one of us is different but somehow the same. I love how you can learn so much from a single person and make the knowledge your own. I love how we all have different backgrounds and perspectives yet we all need the same things: water, love, other people.
What do you think the world needs now more than ever?
Good people. Because no matter how much I love people, people too are the creator of chaos in this world. The recent international issues revolve around criminality, people's inability to tolerate each other's differences, if not our nature collapsing because of people's doings. Why can't we all just be good and get along? We need to ensure the continuity of a friendly world for our children to live in.
Anya is represented by The A Team Management
Photography by Anjelica Jardiel
Styled by Dhan Chun and Rad Puspuyo
Featuring pieces from Musim Panas Swimwear, Just for the Money Jewelry, Lovers Troubles, and MKHnue
Shot at Kubudiuma Villas and Pererenan Beach, Bali