The first thing you notice about Karen Vendela is how friendly and effervescent she is. Prestige met up with her at the Penthouse of DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta for our It Girl photo shoot. Almost instantly, she made everyone involved in the shoot relax and feel at ease, thanks to her amiable aura.
Dressed in a simple grey cardigan, black T-shirt and jeans, and sporting a baseball cap, you could tell right away that Karen has a laid-back sense of style. She is the daughter of businessman Hartono Hosea and socialite Margaret Vivi. Hosea is President Director of Sun Motor Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s biggest automotive retailers. He is an investor in several major hotels, including Grand Mercure Yogyakarta, Ramada Suites by Wyndham Solo and The Royal Surakarta Hotel, and he’s also known for his abilities as a photographer.
Like every good daughter, Karen looks up to her loving parents. “One of the most important lessons I learned from them was to always stay humble, no matter how big or successful I might become,” she says. “They also taught me to always be kind to people, and to trust that God will find His way to help you through any rough patches that come along in life.
“In my life so far, I think that one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to always try to be good and to do good to people, because the tables will always turn. You can never know exactly what the future holds for you. So always be good. It’ll serve you well.”
Karen was born in Jakarta 23 years ago. She studied at the British International School before going on to Los Angeles to study Graphic Design at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM). She graduated last June, after which she came back to her home country for good.
“I like designing, that’s my passion. I actually have done a lot of design work since my graduation,” says Karen. “I’m currently designing something for Ogura Baked. The bakery offers artisanal baked goods, including these absolutely delicious cookies with various yummy ingredients – from oatmeal and fudgy chocolate to sea salt, cornflakes and raisins. They’re great cookies and they’re available for order online. I’m doing the bakery’s logo and their branding, even maintaining their Instagram feed, which as you know is an essential branding platform in this day and age.”
Karen goes on: “My training in graphic design has made it easier for me to kick-start my own business. I have gained a lot of knowledge and skills from my overseas studies, and I’m really looking forward to doing my own business.”
The budding young entrepreneur has her own art page on Instagram (@kvartdesign), where she shares her creativity and various branding design projects, including logos for Makeup Artist Arie Khayz, a logo for her boyfriend’s YouTube channel, and many more. “I get my inspirations everywhere, from going to museums and looking at art works on Instagram and Pinterest mostly,” she says. Recently, she also started her very own YouTube channel.
Karen is currently dating actor and VJ Boy William. He’s known for his interactive YouTube channel that often features famous celebrities sitting in his car talking about their lives.
They have been together for two years. “I met him back in 2009 through a friend,” says Karen. “When I was living in LA, we got into a long-distance relationship for a year. I was able to see him because I went back to Jakarta every three months on visits. Besides, it’s very easy to communicate in this day and age thanks to video calls.”
So what’s a typical date night for them? “We stay home, binge-watch movies or go out to the cinema. It’s very basic!” she laughs. “It’s because we both have packed schedules, especially Boy. So, if we both happen to have free time together we just want to relax.”
The conversation shifted to Karen singing in one of videos on her YouTube channel. “I’ve loved singing since I was little. I used to go to music school for training, but not anymore. So I just sing by myself- and sometimes with Boy. He makes my tunes a bit better,” she laughs.
Karen’s other passions? “I love going to music festivals. It’s very interesting to listen to good music played live, and to experience the culture of it all at the same time. I believe that’s what music festivals are all about. I also like going to art galleries and museums. Looking at masterpieces that artists have created and trying to understand their creative thinking processes – that genuinely fascinates me.
“Among the masters, there’s no one artist that I like above all others. But I can say that I do I love classics like “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh, “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt and the Campbell’s soup can series of Andy Warhol. Great paintings like these really stand out for me.”
What about contemporary art? “I love the work of Sara Shakeel, a Pakistani artist I found on Instagram,” says Karen. “She used to be a dentist, and she has no formal art training whatsoever. I really love holographic designs and colours, and that’s one of her signatures. What made me fall in love with her work is that she incorporates the holographic crystal into all of her pieces. Her works are very bright and alluring. I want to hang them on my wall so bad!”
Although our latest It Girl loves getting dolled up (as can be seen from the megawatt fashion and jewellery she’s wearing in these pages), on ordinary days she chooses comfort over glamour. “I have no special favourites among all the fashion designers and brands,” she tells us. “My purchases always depend on the style and the design itself. At the moment, anything that’s monochrome, sporty and fuss-free appeals easily to me.”
Asked about where she hangs out for fun, Karen laughs: “I think I’m quite boring now! I don’t go out that much these days. I enjoy binge-watching movies at home, sleeping and painting in my free time. I used to go out all the time when I was in high school, but not so much now. I’m more like a home girl, I suppose. I don’t even know about any new places to hang out at anymore!”
What about travel? “I do love travelling,” she tells us. “There are so many great places that I’ve been to I can’t choose just one as a favourite – it’s just too difficult. Bali is one of the places I love, that’s for sure. You simply can’t really be bored when you’re on the island of the gods. The last time I went on a holiday was a trip that took in both Singapore and Hong Kong. Now, that was a lot of fun!”
Karen reveals her compassionate heart when talking about her future plans, as she broaches a project the details of which she can’t yet fully reveal. “Let’s just say that I’m in the process of starting a company whose mission is to empower a marginalised community, and to help it break out of the cycle of poverty,” she says.
“We are trying to create a community of hope, one of encouragement and of love to restore broken hearts there. We also want to help the people there live through a purposeful journey by contributing to the world. The company hopes to create a better future for people, through employment opportunities and support.”
As the shoot wraps up, Karen talks about her hopes and dreams for the future. “My main aspiration is to become a successful business woman,” she says. “That’s why I’ve been so busy learning about entrepreneurship from my parents and the other inspirational people I know.
“What’s my hope for 2019? It’s to become a kinder person. I am ending 2018 with a self-reflection – an honest assessment of what I may have done wrong in the past – and I’m focusing on trying to fix these things. Looking forward, then, let’s just say that I hope to become a better person.”
PHOTOGRAPHER ANDRE WIREDJA
STYLING PAUL DELA MERCED
MAKE-UP: WENDRA THAM (62 821) 7648 7778
HAIR: LIANA WU (62 856) 6665 6979
STYLIST ASSISTANT: LINTANG HUTAMI &
SHOT ON LOCATION:
DoubleTree By Hilton Jakarta – diponegoro
Pegangsaan Timur No.17, Cikini,
Menteng, central Jakarta
phone: (62 21) 31904433
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