Be­ing Alive

Maria Se­lena chats with DAMAN’s Ricky Ron­aldo about her life jour­ney and the be­liefs she stood by to go through it

DA MAN - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy Ad­van Matthew

Maria Se­lena chats with

DAMAN about her jour­ney in the pageant scene, her ad­ven­tures in pro bas­ket­ball and the be­liefs she stood by to go through it

As­sum­ing that there is only one rea­son why Maria Se­lena is as she is now—a win­ner of the 2011 Miss In­done­sia pageant, a for­mer pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball player, a pre­sen­ter, a host, an ac­tress and an avid trav­eler—it would prob­a­bly be her modus operandi: Step­ping out­side her com­fort zone. Af­ter all, this too is the rea­son why she agreed to do the photo shoot.

Be­fore it be­gan, she re­vealed that she is ac­tu­ally very un­com­fort­able hav­ing her pic­ture taken and that she rarely ac­cepts re­quest for photo shoots. “If it’s for a video or for a mov­ing pic­ture like pre­sent­ing, I have no prob­lem with that. I’m con­fi­dent,” Se­lena clar­i­fies. “But if it’s for a photo, like a still pic­ture, that’s some­thing else.”

Com­ing from a for­mer beauty queen, this took me quite by sur­prise. But, as is usu­ally the case, there was a story be­hind it. As it turns out, she was not the one who en­rolled her­self to the pageant; it was her mom’s de­ci­sion. “Hon­estly, I was not aware about the pageant it­self,” she says on join­ing the com­pe­ti­tion. “So, at first it was like a shock ther­apy, I got to catch up on a lot of things.” A year af­ter she won, she rep­re­sented In­done­sia at the 2012 Miss Uni­verse pageant, where, even though she lost, she got into the Top 10 for Best Na­tional Cos­tume.

Re­flect­ing on her time there, Se­lena points out that she had no re­grets. “I grew from my fail­ure, by not win­ning at all,” she em­pha­sizes. “And I think that’s not a big deal for me be­cause it’s only the be­gin­ning.” She men­tions her con­fi­dence spi­raled up and that she gained lot of ex­pe­ri­ence and life lessons whilst at the pageant. “I thought that if that’s not the way, maybe I would not be here. So, no re­grets, ac­tu­ally.”

In­deed, step­ping out of her com­fort zone has proven to be a most ef­fec­tive way of life, whether it’s join­ing Miss In­done­sia or do­ing ex­treme sports like jet ski. (For the lat­ter, by the way, she was taught by her friend Aero Aswar, who is also fea­tured in this is­sue.) “I love chal­lenges,” she says with a laugh. “Many things in life can be a chal­lenge and I like it. If there are no chal­lenges, I don’t feel alive and I can’t im­prove. It’s all about com­fort zones and I don’t re­ally like that.”

When she de­cided to pur­sue her dream of at least fif­teen years to be­come a pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball player, this too was her logic. Right af­ter her reign as Miss In­done­sia ended, she played for var­i­ous pro-clubs, in­clud­ing Surabaya Fever and Merah Pu­tih Preda­tors in Jakarta. But look­ing back, Se­lena ac­knowl­edges that it was quite a dif­fi­cult time for her to jug­gle her bas­ket­ball ca­reer with her other com­mit­ments. “I was hav­ing trou­ble with my sched­ule,” the LeBron James fan ex­claims. “I train twice a day, like, at 6AM. Mean­while I have a TV shoot at 12 till 2AM. So, I only have 3 hours of sleep ev­ery day and I ended up puk­ing a lot on court.” Top­ping it all off, Se­lena was also do­ing her fi­nal the­sis at the Ban­dung In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, whereas her shoots were in Jakarta and her bas­ket­ball team is in Surabaya.

“So, I de­cided to re­tire from the pro­league be­cause I have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties at work,” Se­lena ex­plains. “In my work it’s not pos­si­ble to play with the sched­ule. I work late, I travel a lot, so there’s no time to prac­tice and to build chem­istry with my team.” Right now, her line of work brings her ever deeper into the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try with host­ing, TV pre­sent­ing, news cast­ing and do­ing trav­el­ing pro­grams for com­mer­cials.

How about act­ing? “Maybe in two or three years,” she replies, “be­cause I’m very se­lec­tive when tak­ing a role.” See, Se­lena had only acted once be­fore, in the 2014 movie “Danau Hi­tam,” where she starred along­side her friends Na­dine Chan­draw­inata and Ganin­dra Bimo. “I have to dig up my abil­i­ties in act­ing so that the pas­sion can shine through,” she con­tin­ues. “If I have no pas­sion in it, then the re­sult won’t be sat­is­fy­ing.”

Look­ing for­ward, Se­lena ex­presses her in­ter­est in tak­ing on movie roles that are chal­leng­ing and out of her com­fort zone, like drama or ac­tion where she gets to be bolder and more ex­pres­sive. On a grander scale, Se­lena men­tions that in five years she would have an­other de­gree, her own busi­ness and, most of all, kids. “I love kids! Maybe I’ll adopt one,” she ex­claims, be­fore adding: “My love life is not ac­tu­ally a big deal for me.” She ad­mits later that she is cur­rently see­ing some­one, but that she prefers to keep things pri­vate.

“Five years from now, I’m hop­ing I’ll be as happy as I am now,” she says in clos­ing. “You don’t have to wait for some­thing to get bet­ter, for big things to come, for a job or a lot of money to be happy. You just be happy cause the way you are.” It is, as she put her­self, be­ing happy with­out a rea­son, be­cause, in her own words, “if you’re happy, then the rea­son will come.”

“I GREW FROM MY FAIL­URE, BY NOT WIN­NING AT ALL. AND I THINK THAT’S NOT A BIG DEAL FOR ME BE­CAUSE IT’S ONLY THE BE­GIN­NING”

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