Beauty has many faces and many facets. To explore the many ways beauty manifests and can be expressed, Prestige teamed up with ERHA to highlight three beautiful ladies – dr. Merry Kusumawati, Wanda Ponika, along with Anggis Dinda – and their inspiring journeys.
The Beauty of Sharing
Having developed a passion for beauty from early on, dr. Merry Kusumawati readily shares her expertise on her social media platforms and aims to do more.
The world of social media has no shortage of beauty influencers. And in this crowded sphere, dr. Merry Kusumawati’s presence comes as a breath of fresh air. Her beautiful photos never fail to impress, but it’s her captions that sets her apart. While dr. Merry routinely posts light-hearted messages of encouragement or inspiration, the majority of her uploads contains serious bits of knowledge about everything from proper sun protection and face toners to the best way to measure oxygen saturation using an oximeter or how to figure out the Cycle Threshold value from a PCR test.
“I want to help people become healthy and also have good skin,” dr. Merry explains, “and that is why I work in the aesthetic field.” This turned out to be a deep-seated passion for her – one that has helped her conquer the infamously long and difficult journey towards becoming a medical practitioner. “If we love a profession, everything will feel effortless,” she shares. “And as it happens, I love everything related to beauty. That’s why since I started medical school until I chose my specialization, everything felt easy and smooth.”
That same passion now drives dr. Merry’s online activities. “I try to become a blessing for others by sharing as much information that could help others,” she says about her strong social media presence. “I try to present good knowledge so that people can better understand medical technology and advances nowadays.”
As is often the case, spreading knowledge often means dispelling misconceptions. A particular subject that dr. Merry seems to be quite concerned about is the notion of “never-ending treatments” which suggests – mistakenly, that is – that the kind of treatments offered by beauty clinics should be avoided as they only lead to an endless cycle of needing treatment over and over again.
“There is this stigma out there that going to a beauty clinic is a never-ending story, and I want to refute that,” she begins “Our skin needs to be cared for every day. Do we eat and drink for just a day to satisfy our needs for a year? Of course not. The same goes for our skin. We need to realize that our skin is part of our body, which needs daily nutrition, but that doesn’t mean that it is a form of dependency.”
On that note, how does an aesthetic doctor like dr. Merry approach selfcare – especially skincare and beauty treatments – for herself? “Obviously, I entrust my personal beauty to trustworthy venues, such as ERHA Clinic, which also has excellent products and practitioners who are certified dermatologists. As such, I feel at ease having my skin treated there,” she explains, before adding: “My favourite is laser treatments. I undergo several of them. At ERHA, the ones I like the most are the rejuvenation laser and CO2 laser treatments, since they are excellent at regenerating the skin and of course provides anti-aging benefits.”
Beyond looking after her own health and spreading knowledge online, dr. Merry has bigger dreams for the future. “I want to establish an integrated healthcare service, because I want Indonesian women to be more concerned and aware about their health and beauty,” she elaborates. “I want it to be a one-stop project that provides everything, from beauty from an outlook perspective, to fashion and style, and also skincare.”
Whether it’s about her dream project, braving today’s challenges or continuing to be a voice of reason in the social media sphere, dr. Merry maintains a positive attitude. “In life, we need to be hopeful for the future. If we’re still alive today, we need to hold on to hope,” she shares. dr. Merry then wrapped up the conversation with her favourite quote. “Man proposes, God disposes. When we believe and have faith that God decides everything, then everything we work on will feel like less of a burden.”
The Beauty of Giving
Whether it’s her business or her charity work, Wanda Ponika seems to always know how to raise the bar to new heights.
The last time Prestige Indonesia talked to Wanda Ponika was at the end of 2020, for her story in the year’s
It List. Naturally, a lot has happened since then and a lot of things have changed. Take, for one, Wanda House of Jewels.
“What’s most important in the world of business is that it’s not the strongest that will survive, but those who can adapt,” Wanda begins. “In a short time, Wanda House of Jewels started doing business online so that during the social restriction periods, it was business as usual.”
Of course, it wasn’t as simple as switching to online selling. “Wanda House of Jewels used to be synonymous with complicated masterpieces that people would wear for special occasions – when they went to parties or big events like weddings,” Wanda elaborates further. “Now, with everybody staying at home, people can’t dress up, but they can wear jewellery. So, Wanda House of Jewels quickly switched to creating collections that are very simple, that we can wear at home. And that went very well, both online and offline.”
But while Wanda’s fast response to the changing business climate is definitely impressive, it is her continued drive for social activism that feels even more inspiring. “I dedicate 90 percent of my time to manage charity work such as vaccine distribution, providing groceries for the poor, procuring oxygen concentrator for regions all over the country, then there’s a program of preparing free meals for those in self-isolation,” Wanda states.
With the help of her daughters and, most notably, the Indonesia Pasti Bisa and Anak Bangsa Peduli movements, she also distributes vitamin supplements for healthcare workers. Most importantly, however, Wanda continues to determine what kind of aid is actually needed. She elaborates: “While working on these charity drives, I discovered that only an hour and a half from the capital, eight out of ten houses don’t have sanitary facilities. And the overall condition of the houses is deplorable. I also learned that groceries aren’t enough. They need money to pay the rent, for example. And then there are many who are living in containers – and that really tore me up. I used my entire network, my friends to do something. Although what we can provide isn’t as much as what other movements can come up with, in these times, whatever we can do means a lot to those in need.”
Fortunately, even with the heavy responsibilities she has taken up, Wanda has not abandoned selfcare – including, it would seem, skincare. “I love skincare, but as time goes on, we know it’s not enough, to the point that I realized that I needed to go to a clinic for treatment,” Wanda says. She also recalls being inundated by free offers through her Instagram account. Yet, she took her time to find the right option. “In the end I went to ERHA because I know the founder – dr. Ronny Handoko, the legendary doctor.”
Customization options also remains high on Wanda’s priority list. “I asked a lot of questions to the ERHA team and since they could answer them patiently and clearly, I was convinced they were a reputable clinic. I also have a lot of requests: No injections, no Botox, and I don’t want any surgery. So, they prepared a package for me to try – for three months if I remember correctly – that didn’t involve scalpels or syringes,” she shares. “And now they also have the RISERVA service. I was still in the parking area when a PA came out to greet me and I was quickly ushered to my own room. This is like my ‘me time’ – a reward for myself after all the hard work.”
All that being said, it would certainly seem that Wanda is more than ready for even more hard work. “I want to spend even more time for social activities. Not too long ago I went to East Nusa Tenggara and saw how children live there. I have always been active in health-related charity work, and now I feel very concerned for education.”
Wanda then concludes: “I always believed that the upper hand is better than the lower hand – whenever possible we give, we help. When we keep doing good things, good things will come back to us.”
The Beauty of Inspiring
From bride-to-be to future notary, from working in fintech to creating her own fashion label and more, Anggis Dinda takes on every new challenge with grace.
Anggis Dinda is currently working in a fintech company, Xendit. She also has her own fashion brand, Pramesvari, and has actually just finished her postgraduate studies which she hopes will lead to her becoming a notary. On top of all that, she remains active in her social organization, Youth of Indonesia. Oh, and she’s also getting married soon. The phrase “having a lot to your plate” certainly comes to mind here.
“To be honest, time management is something I’m still struggling with,” Anggis explains. “But one thing I know for sure – and this is something I actually just learned while doing my postgrad – is that humans often overthink things which turns out to be not that burdensome when we actually do it. If you ask me, the most effective way to manage time is to simply write things down in a notebook, or book activities in an online calendar. As it turns out, having written things down, I found my schedule to be not that confusing.”
Out of the aforementioned plate of activities, perhaps one of the most intriguing at the moment would be the fashion label. “Pramesvari was founded in 2017,” Anggis begins. “It began as a hobby for me and a friend of mine as we both liked Indonesian fabrics such as batik, tenun and so on. Then we found another partner who shared the same vision and we started the brand. Besides producing garments using fabrics from Indonesia, we also employ Indonesian tailors. Whenever possible we empower Indonesian people and Indonesian products.”
No less interesting, however, is Pramesvari’s motto: Memayu Hayuning Bawana. “The phrase means making the beauty of the world even more beautiful,” Anggis explains. “It comes from Javanese philosophy and that’s one of the messages that we want to bring to our customers – we want to make them feel beautiful when they wear our products.”
On a somewhat related note, Anggis also realizes the importance of proper selfcare. “When we feel beautiful, when we feel good about ourselves, then can we be productive,” she reasons. Then she continues: “There are a lot of ways to care for yourself. It could be as simple as eating healthy and drinking lots of water. If you want to take it up a step you start using products such as moisturizer, sunblock, creams and so on. And then, when you want to take yet another step up as you become more concerned about your skin – which I also do right now as I’m getting older – you start going for treatments, such as facials or when you have dark spots after vacationing, I’d go for laser therapy like what they have at ERHA.”
All in all, as a general rule, Anggis looks for trustworthiness when it comes to beauty treatments. “I’ve always trusted ERHA because I’ve always watched my mother go there since I was young. People used to think that going to a dermatologist means using harsh products, but ERHA has products that are very friendly for my skin, even though I was very young back then.”
Back to the present, however, Anggis is set to tackle quite a few big milestones. Obviously, there’s the wedding. “So, I’m getting ready to become a wife and – hopefully – a mother,” she observes. Career wise, she has a new business in the works. “This will be my first business with a massive production scale,” Anggis elaborates. “With Pramesvari the amount we produce isn’t that much; it’s mostly by request and still totals only several dozen. Now, I’ve mustered up the courage to open a new business with my friend with massive production.”
In the end, however, it all boils down to beauty once again. “I really like the writings of Rūmī,” Anggis shares, referring to the famous 13th-century Persian poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī. “If I had to pick a single line from his quotes, I would choose the one I put on my Instagram bio. So, he basically said: ‘Let the beauty we love be what we do.’ That has guided me when doing many things. I always think: If I do this to myself, would I like it?” For sure, this principle goes together nicely with Memayu Hayuning Bawana as Anggis Dinda strives, in her own way, to make the world even more beautiful.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR BRAD HOMES / PHOTOGRAPHER EANDARU KUSUMAATMAJA / STYLING LINTANG HUTAMI / MAKE UP DAVE RIO (FOR ANGGIS DINDA) – HINDRAWAN (FOR WANDA PONIKA) / HAIR JOOE YUNEDI (FOR ANGGIS DINDA) – FIRDA JEAN (FOR DR. MERRY KUSUMAWATI) – BRENDA TANU (FOR WANDA PONIKA)