The first thing you notice when you meet Patricia Panigoro is how statuesque she is. Even in her white pointy Nicholas Kirkwood flats, she easily towers above everyone else in the room. Dressed casually in a black top and black cropped pants, she carries her blue Birkin bag as she enters Shanghai Blue 1920 in Menteng. With a friendly smile and a quick introduction, she immediately sits down to have her hair and makeup done.
The former model is a mother of three (Raifra, 13, Raevo, 12, and Raitricia, 9). She started modelling when she was just 4 years old, in 1987. “It was just for fun, nothing serious,” she laughs. “I did it in my hometown and my mom accompanied me to every event.”
She started getting serious about the fashion industry when she took part in modelling competitions in Singapore and Malaysia years later. The turning point was when she won the Elite Model Look competition in Singapore. She won a contract to work as a full-time model in Singapore, which she did for a while.
But her proudest moment was becoming a mother. “I was 21 when I had my first child. It was quite young and, to be honest, I wasn’t quite ready. I mean, of course. That nobody would ever be ready. There’s no guide book to being a parent. But thankfully, I got a lot of support from my husband and my parents. They helped me get through it. I know God trusts me with these children. They’re a blessing. Everything went well with the first and one, now we have three!”
Did she notice anything change in her personality when she became a mother? “I think I become more mature and patient,” Patricia says. “I don’t always get to do what I want, but that’s OK because my family comes first. As a mother, your kids are your priority. I don’t really see it as a sacrifice because I’m willing to do that for my family.
“For my family, I have unconditional love. I will always love them no matter what. I think the way I express it would be different. Every day I try to be a good wife and a good mother for them because they’re so precious. I’m trying to be the best version of Pat.”
What is the hardest challenge in being a mother? “Giving birth,” she answers, laughing. “But seriously, it was really hard. But in terms of raising kids, you just have to try your best. The rest, I believe as long as we have a good support system, everything will be good. And, of course, you need prayer and to believe that your kids will grow up well.”
Patricia also tells her newfound love of cooking, as she stays at home a lot. “I have develop a lot of love for cooking these days. I go to baking and cooking classes when the kids are at school. I like to browse for new recipes to make.
“I like to make anything that my family likes. Thankfully, they’re really supportive of my cooking. Sometimes they request something special and I’ll try to make it. They always like it! When we went to Venice my kids really like the tiramisu they had there, so I tried to re-create it. My husband is always supportive of my cooking. He always cheers me and encourages me to be better. Those are the things that make me even more excited to make something new for them. Funny thing is that, I didn’t even like dairy to begin with, but they love it. And I’ll try anything to make my family happy.”
Patricia wants her children always to be open her, even when they grow older and have their own friends. “As a mom, I have boundaries and rules for them to follow, but I also want to be a cool mom.” She laughs while adding: “I guess I want them, when they’re older, to be honest with me. I want them to feel like they can talk anything with me. So when they have girlfriends or boyfriends, they can talk about them to me, without being too shy about it”.
On raising children in the modern world, she says: “My oldest is 13 years old and I think being 13 now as opposed to 20 years ago is different. But, of course, I want them to be careful and to be aware of their surroundings.
“But really, it’s not like I will forbid them to be friends with certain people. I want them to be exposed to the world, so they can learn from their mistakes. As a parent, I can only guide them. I don’t want to be too strict, as I’m afraid they will do bad things behind my back. There’s no rule book for them to be a certain thing. I want them to learn as much as they can and be a good person. And I think religion also plays a big part here. If the family has a good foundation and strong religion to back it up, I think they will be all right.”
She also teaches them to be their own person, despite them looking up to their parents, “My two sons look up to their father a lot and my youngest daughter is really close to me. But I always tell them to be the best version of yourself. Because I believe that they can do better, I want them to be better. I believe they have their own unique qualities, with all the flaws and everything. Just be yourself.”
The month of February is always associated with love, and Patricia admits that she is quite the hopeless romantic type. “I mean, who doesn’t? I think most women are. I don’t always have anything special to do on Valentine, but my husband and I always have a dinner together on that day.
“Actually, we both don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to celebrate our love. For us, I think every day is Valentine’s. You don’t really need a special day to celebrate love, right? Anytime you feel like you want to go out and have a romantic dinner with your loved one, do it. It doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day.
“My husband is not a romantic person at all. One day, we planned to go on vacation to Japan together as a family. Because he had to work, he would go a few days after us. On the day, it turned out there was something wrong with his visa and he couldn’t go to Japan. So there were only me and the kids there. He felt so bad because I had to take care of my three kids alone in a foreign country. But he surprised me with a wonderful gift when we got back.”
Speaking of travelling with children, how is it different with travelling with her friends and husband? “I mean, it’s a lot! But they go first and time flies so fast, so I just enjoy the fun times I have with my kids.”
What does Patricia enjoy most about travel? “I really like being in nature and going to the beach,” she says. “I don’t have any particular favourite destination. I always like to see something new – something different, quiet, not mainstream. I prefer beaches, although I don’t mind going to the mountains.”
What are some of the places she would like to visit? “I really want to go Croatia and Portugal. Ora Beach, Maluku and Raja Ampat,” she says. “I think that to get there, the logistics sometimes are too difficult. I’m worried about the hotels, especially for the children, but I really want to go there some day.”
As the shoots wraps up, Patricia shares her New Year hopes and dreams. “I’m actually the kind of person who does believe what’s in front of me. Of course, I want to be a better human being, as clichéd as it may sound. I’m really grateful and appreciate my life as it is. And I want to see my kids grow up happily and be good people.”
Make-up by Jacqueline Stephanie (+62 812 2888 2088)
Hair by Inaro Ahmad (+62 87) 77199 1499
Styling Assistant: Coco Namara
Shot on Location:
Shanghai Blue 1920
Kebon Sirih No. 79 Menteng, Central Jakarta
Phone: (+62 21) 3918 690