“I love the marathon because it’s an event where there are all different types of people aiming for the same goal,” Vannya Istarinda tells Claudia Rindiantika. “Age, your work, gender, race – nothing matters because at the start line everyone is the same.”
Vannya Istarinda’s big news is that she is engaged to Arya Bakrie and will get married next year. “Things are getting serious now,” the 24-year-old food and fashion entrepreneur says, with a smile, of the couple’s preparations for the big day. “But it’s not that hectic yet. We have just started planning, so everything is still not too crazy. The wedding is not until next year, so we still have time.”
It’s a Thursday afternoon, the day of Prestige’s It Girl photo shoot, when Vannya walks into the studio. Our first impression is how friendly she is. She beams as she is greeted and shakes hands with everyone in the room. While retouching her makeup and getting her hair done, she has a chit-chat with the team with an amiable voice and constant smile.
Photography completed, Vannya sits down for her interview. After her engagement to Arya, she tells us, her most important news is that she has been working hard on building her business ventures this year: clothing line Dua Awan and healthy restaurant Greenery.
“We are finalising the new website for Dua Awan – that’s something I am paying a lot of attention to right now,” she says, ‘because, as you know, everything is online these days and that’s a big market to tap into. I know there are a lot of negatives about the impact of social media on society but used properly it’s great for communicating to customers and for business. I find it really useful, and I think it’s actually a large part of my business today, likewise Greenery. A lot of people sell things online now that they couldn’t have sold before, utilising a social media platform or e-commerce platform that is robust and full-featured in a good way. Instagram is a massive platform for selling nowadays.”
Vannya studied Architecture at the University of Indonesia before taking a double degree and transferring to Curtin University in Perth, Australia. “At that time, I really loved design,” she says. “My mom also took architecture, so I thought that was a really good thing to do.”
She switched to fashion after school simply because “I have always been interested in clothes and fashion. As an architect, I am a designer too, and moving from architecture to fashion was logical. Right now, it’s what I really want to do but hopefully, in the future I could continue designing architecturally.”
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a big issue for Vannya. “It was during my second year at university that I realised I needed to change,” she recalls. “I was living a really unhealthy lifestyle, and that lifestyle really impacted my daily life, confidence and well-being.
“I realised then that health is such an important thing. Health is our wealth. It’s something you can never take for granted. If you always have an unhealthy lifestyle, you will regret it one day when you get sick. So, investing in eating healthy food and a good exercise regime is very important.”
Vannya admits that it was hard to forget old habits and switch to a better lifestyle. “I had to push myself every week to work out because before that I hadn’t been taking exercise. Then I started eating better – more vegetables and fruit. That’s what has gotten me into the habit of having a healthy lifestyle, and I’ve never left it since.”
She turned her newfound fitness into becoming a sports influencer. She was a brand ambassador for Adidas for a few years. “Sport is important as one way to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Vannya points out.
“This is why I started running marathons. I love athletics and I think the marathon is an event where there are all different types of people aiming for the same goal. Age, your work, gender, race – nothing matters because at the start line everyone is the same. Throughout the journey of a marathon, everyone is always supporting each other. It is like a massive movement of positive vibes and good energy.”
Vannya recently ran in two of six major marathons in the world: Tokyo in 2015 and Chicago the following year. “It started from being consistent every single weekend, to running on car-free days. I trained for a whole year and would run every Sunday. Each time I would run an increased distance, and I kept increasing my goal each week. I was initially in disbelief of the things I could achieve. It was only because I built a passion for running and kept training consistently that I could cross the finish line, “Besides being a self-satisfying achievement, completing these races taught me a lot about time management, dedication and sacrifice from months of training to get to the finish line. I think running marathons teaches you to be persistent and patient. It also teaches you to believe in yourself – that if you keep doing it, you can finish it. I hope I shall be able to run more of the world major marathons in the future.”
Marathon training aside, Vannya’s regular exercise routine is daunting. “I do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) three times a week, resistance and strength training twice a week, and a little Pilates too,” she informs us. “I also do a lot of cardio training, because I love it! I am a morning person. Getting up early and working out gives me plenty of energy and makes me more productive throughout the day.”
What motivates her to exercise? “When you have a goal to finish a marathon or any other health objective, you will be motivated most of the time,” Vannya declares. “I love the feeling of running and I love working out, so it is never a chore or something I have to push myself to do daily, but something very enjoyable for me. On days when I feel lazy, I do fun exercises like zumba with my friends.”
With excitement, Vannya adds: “I love being healthy. And I really support people that love living a healthy lifestyle. Especially nowadays there are a lot of junk foods – fried food, for example – and processed products that are quite unhealthy. There are a lot of things out there that can distract you from living a healthy lifestyle. Even just being stressed out can be really bad for your health. So you need to take time for yourself and to de-stress. That’s so important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
The conversation witches back to food. “I must be very careful about dairy products as I am gluten and lactose intolerant. It’s important to learn more about your body and to avoid allergens and intolerants so that your body can function and repair at its best.
“For breakfast, I would have coconut yoghurt, fruits and the occasional coffee. Lunch would be a chicken salad or grilled fish. I love sweets so I have a chocolate, sweet potato or banana chips for snacks. And when I go out for dinner, my choice would definitely be sushi!”
Greenery, which Vannya launched with some business partners, is to be found in Jl. Senopati. It specialises in “wholesome healthy bowls (that) pack a satisfying and nutritious punch with the inclusion of their home-made ingredients, such as peanuts and almond butter”.
The restaurant’s website states: “Whether it’s a 30-minute daily walk or a cutback on carbs, every small positive change that we adopt will contribute to the body’s overall well-being. For some, that change begins with the food they consume… Greenery subscribes to the idea that everything can be made healthier. For example, why rely on an abundance of salt seasoning if spices and herbs can do a better task, minus the risk of damaging your health?”
Vannya says she opened Greenery because “we wanted to create something truly healthy for diners. In Indonesia, there is still the idea that if you eat less and are skinny, then you must be healthy. In fact, there is much more to health than that. The quality of the food we eat – that’s what really matters. Eating healthy is about getting the right nutrition to support your daily activities and overall well-being.
“We serve our customers real, honest and nutritious food that is unprocessed and free of chemicals, additives and flavourings. Our vegetables are all organic, sourced from local farmers, and we make our dressings and ingredients in-house from scratch, daily. We hope to open more restaurants in Jakarta, while also growing Dua Awan, in 2020.”
Our chat ends where it began, with Vannya’s wedding plans. She beams: “For me personally, I hope that I am soon able to start a family of my own. At a quite young age, I am nervous yet very excited about what marriage life would bring me.”
COVER STORY CREDITS:
PHOTOGRAPHY ANDREAN LIM
STYLING ALEX LALISANG
SHOT ON LOCATION:
KEMANG RAYA 91, SOUTH JAKARTA
PHONE: (62 21) 7198 080
HAIR: FIRDA JEAN (62 823) 3066 7999
STYLING ASSISTANTS: LINTANG HUTAMI & SALSABILLA ASY-SYIFA
DIOR IS IN PLAZA INDONESIA & PLAZA SENAYAN
KATE SPADE IS IN PLAZA INDONESIA, PLAZA SENAYAN & KOTA KASABLANKA
MAX MARA IS IN PLAZA INDONESIA
MONDIAL IS IN PLAZA INDONESIA & GRAND INDONESIA
SAPTO DJOJOKARTIKO IS AT VILA SAWO KAV.17
VALENTINO IS IN PLAZA INDONESIA
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