Noi Aswari talks with Prestige about the shifting perspective in having a more fulfilling and meaningful life after getting married, accepting impermanence with positivity and learning to love unconditionally
My first meeting with Noi Aswari was back in 2018, when she gracefully presented the bags of the season in this very magazine and we talked about Tawa Dental Studio, a dental clinic she was working at and how she loves to travel with her loved ones, including her now husband Feisal Hamka. Fast forward to 2019, and we met again for the IT Girls feature in Prestige’s Anniversary issue together with Karen Prasetio, Jean Claudia, and Bianca Belnadia. And now, our paths crossed once again as the young dentist is now the cover girl of the magazine.
“What a journey I’ve had with Prestige. I remembered my hair was still short back then,” Noi begins with a laugh as she sat down after a long photoshoot. “It’s always a great experience because I love to play dress up and wear beautiful clothes.” The conversation then quickly shifted towards Tawa Dental Studio again. Co-founded by herself and three other dentists, it is an aesthetic driven dental clinic which focuses on beautiful and functional results. “I’m glad that Tawa Dental Studio has finally opened even though there was a delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We planned to open in March 2020, but because of the national social restrictions, we took the time to study the regulations and learn how to handle the health protocols. Finally, we managed to open in June because providing the best service and ensuring the safety of our patients is our top priority.”
The pandemic didn’t just affect Noi’s business, but also one of the most important moments of her life, which was the wedding. “To be honest, preparations took longer than usual. I also had to hold back on some of my personal wishes because the main priority today is to make sure everyone is safe and the highlight of the wedding itself is the solemnization or the akad nikah.” The concept of the wedding, however, stayed the same and focused on bringing two cultures together. Alexander Gotama, Noi’s good friend who acted as creative director of the wedding, was able to bring out the best from both cultures. “To express our culture and roots, we agreed to do the akad nikah following Palembang traditions because that’s where I came from. My mother has prepared the sunting, the traditional crown for the bride, since I was in high school together with the kebaya and songket that were passed down from generation to generation. On the other hand, since Ical [Feisal’s nickname] is of Chinese descent, we did the tea pai ceremony to respect the culture and also the elders in the families. And they, in turn show, their acceptance of the marriage.”
Having an intimate wedding ceremony, however, turned out is a blessing in disguise. “There were so many things to be prepared, what with the health protocols and making sure of everyone’s safety,” Noi explains. “It’s quite sad that not all family members were able to join this once in a lifetime celebration. But we can’t be selfish at this stage, right? On the bright side this whole thing brought us closer and I could spend sine nice quality time with family and close friends.”
“I realised that what I’m looking for is a fulfilling life. Instead of looking for perfection, I’m creating my own happiness, accepting myself including the imperfections”
Life after marriage changed the way Noi sees family and herself. “My priorities are changing. Marriage means a lifetime of learning to get to know each other. I learned how to be wiser, more understanding and accepting,” she elaborates. “Though we have already been in a relationship for years, there are still a lot of new things we discover about each other every day. The meaning of love itself shifts, especially to unconditional love.” In fact, Noi shares that her love language is an act of service and that she is becoming more devoted every day. “I love to take care of my husband. It doesn’t always have to be the big things, but as simple as waking up earlier to make breakfast, preparing the day’s outfit. I’m also working on a daily basis, but I’m trying my best to get back early to prepare dinner or at least welcome him home when he comes back from work. There’s a sense of responsibility to take care of each other, growing together, but never forgetting to have fun.”
Along the way, Noi, who graduated from Trisakti University, discovered another side of herself and of life. “There’s a shift in my perspective about life because of this uncertain period. I used to chase a lot of things, I kept busy with all my routines and work. Then I realised that what I’m looking for is a fulfilling life. Instead of looking for perfection, I’m creating my own happiness, accepting myself including the imperfections. Learning to be grateful with what I have is one of the ways to feel fulfilled. I’m also learning to accept the things I can’t change and to be the best version of myself.” During this period, Noi also discovered a new appreciation for health as the most important thing. “We do things like yoga as our daily workout before starting the day, being mindful with what we consume, making sure we get enough sleep.”
From health, our conversation then veered into Noi’s personal growth. “Because I have more time to spend at home, I got the chance to learn and do things that I usually don’t have time for. Reading books is one of them,” Noi exclaims. “Through reading I find how to lead myself in a better way, how to build personal branding, and I gained another perspective on how to live a better life. Another thing is I that I’m learning to cook, simply from watching YouTube. There are a lot of simple yet heart-warming recipes around we can find. That’s one of the perks of living in the digital era.”
Another interesting pastime that Noi discovered is spending quality time with her husband by driving around in the city. “Since it’s quite difficult to go out, especially travelling, both of us have discovered the joys of talking in the car while driving. We don’t set a specific destination; we start from anywhere, say South Jakarta, then go all the way north, around to the west, cross the central part of town before going back home. At home, we tend to be busy, but when we are in the car we are away from our phones and end up talking about anything. It turns out, there are a lot of new things we find out just now about each other: From our childhood stories to undiscovered dreams and wishes. Sometimes we just look at the city as it passes by.
“Our discussions can sometimes be around what we see through the car window. From seeing what’s going on outside we figure out what we can do to create impact and give back to society. It doesn’t have to be something big as we can start from something small. My husband is a very supportive person; he wants me to know what I want to achieve and lets me do what it takes to make it happen. Even though I doubted myself on many occasions when I was trying something new, he always encourages me to move forward and not be afraid of failure.”
At the end of the day, Noi and her husband aim to live a meaningful life by bringing kindness and positivity to the life of those around them.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR BRAD HOMES / PHOTOGRAPHER EANDARU KUSUMAATMAJA / STYLING PETER ZEWET / MAKE UP & HAIR CHELSEA AND TEAM / STYLING ASSISTANTS LINTANG HUTAMI & SALSABILA ASY-SYIFA