Rebecca Dunham in Grazia
April 9, 2021
Werk it Out
There are cities that I feel a connection with the moment I step out of the
airport, and Jakarta has been one of these magical cities. The air is hot and thick
but there always seems to be a breeze, giving the city the laid back island feel
I've only experienced on vacations to Cuba. I had been excited about coming to
Jakarta weeks before my ticket was even purchased. While I was waiting for my
working visa I was reading about Bali, Lombok and the Thousand Islands,
daydreaming of beaches and relaxing.
This daydream has yet to be realized as I've been working everyday this
past week. With only two weeks under my belt the work is rolling in and I haven't
even seen a beach. The only sightseeing I've done has been from my model van
or while shooting in a botanical garden outside of Jakarta. Yet, I still find my
stomach in knots of utter excitement and endless possibilities. I haven't had this
feeling about a placement since Beijing, and it surprised me. I knew instantly that
this city and this trip would be special.
That feeling has extended into my work and the amazing people I've had
the privilege of working with so far. My first job, a magazine shoot for Grazia, has
been favorite here so far. Arriving on set I was embarrassingly excited. I had
casually looked through Grazia in the supermarket, and I was thrilled to see such
interesting fashion spreads.
Arriving on set I saw a bunch of young people dressed well and heard
good music playing. Where was I? This was some weird twilight zone. Since I
started working in Asia it's been my experience that young, interesting English-
speakers are hard to come by. And I had just walked into a room filled with
them. It's Jakarta and I'm in love.
During hair and makeup the stylist told me he wanted me to channel
“ghetto fabulous”, think TLC from the 90s. Once on set I started thinking about
Die Antwoord's video for Baby's on fire and went crazy. As someone who saw a
lot of rap videos and owned Baby Phat in high school, becoming Azelia Banks or
A$AP Rocky for a few hours came pretty naturally. I had so much fun on set
rapping, yelling, kissing my muscles and doing any other crazy thing I've seen
rappers do in music videos or photo shoots.
I went home with cornrows in my hair and a feeling deep in my gut that I'm
going to love it here.
Rebecca is with 21mm, in Jakarta.