Julie Estelle: Tres Belle

Charming French-Indonesian Julie Estelle is this month’s DA MAN Darling, and she lets us in on some of her secrets to success while modeling some of her favorite high-fashion attire.

She’s young, she’s got a cosmopolitan outlook on the world, she’s “kiff”, the fundies fret over her, she likes to rock. And that’s just a sampling of the plethora of reasons why we dig this rapidly emerging starlet.

Even though she has just recently turned 20, Julie Estelle Gasnier is, according to a recent detik.com listing, the seventh-highest paid actress in Indonesia – which is a measuring stick of her vast nationwide popularity. Making such a list puts her in the same conversation, in terms of audience appeal, with other veteran Indonesia-based superstars such as Dian Sastro and Luna Maya.

Famous teen

That is rather amazing, especially when you consider that, as she explains, she never really set out to be an actress, let alone famous. She just started doing it one day when she was still attending the French international school in Jakarta as a 15-year-old student. Since then, she’s starred in six feature films and has two more, including the highly anticipated, MO Brothers-directed Macabre, which is scheduled for release next month.

The daughter of a Frenchman and a Manadonese mum, Julie’s star is on the rise in a big way. Her famous sister, former MTV veejay Cathy Sharon Gasnier, seems to have been a good influence on Julie and they remain quite close pals despite both having tons of social and professional engagements, 24-7.

Nonetheless, they still make time to go and do what they enjoy together, “I love traveling around the world with my sister…we go to various rock concerts,” she tells DA MAN while readying for her photo shoot with some of her favorite fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, etc.

Julie enthuses over a trip they took to last year’s V Festival in Perth, which included bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Duran Duran (“they looked old, but sounded great,”Julie recalls) and the Jesus & Mary Chain.

Budding businesswoman

Julie is currently studying at a business school in Jakarta, which should serve her well since she, Cathy and a handful of celebrity mates are in the process of building a business together – an all-in-one fashion/lifestyle boutique in Bandung, called “Kiff”. The world is French youth slang roughly translated to mean hip or cool in English, and, as she says, “it means suka in Bahasa Indonesia.”

Julie and Cathy also have a younger sister, but Julie insists that her teenage sister is not so keen on joining her older sibs in showbiz; instead opting to focus on her education, most likely in France.

Julie’s dad is a hotel executive currently based in Bali, who started out his hospitality career on the food & beverage side – and Julie gushes with delight when describing some of the fine cuisine that daddy cooks up when the family gets together. Cooking has also seemed to rub off on Julie, as she has said it’s one of her pastimes -and that, by the way, is another reason we dig her.

Embracing cuisine

It’s so tiresome to meet coddled prima donnas that express utter disdain for the fine art of preparing good food (supposedly to distance themselves from the kitchen help). So it’s refreshing to meet someone like Julie, who embraces cuisine and is confident enough in herself and her social standing not to be concerned about what the ‘lumpenproletariant’ ruminates upon.

Personally speaking, I’d say a huge preponderance of guys really get turned off by these nouveau riche divas haughtily boasting about culinary cluelessness.

Playboy and courts

And while we’re on the lumpen proletariat, it was interesting to hear Julie recall some of the drama surrounding her interview with Playboy magazine a few years ago and the subsequent fundie furor, which saw her having to go to the courthouse and file reports. She was just 17 (no I’m not launching into Beatles lyrics, merely relaying a chronological factoid), and recalls being “quite frightened” by the entire hullabaloo, which eventually blew over without any major incidents.

She, of course, did nothing wrong in any normal person’s eyes, but drew the ire of these reactionary groups just because she has associated herself with a magazine that apparently gets certain groups all hot and bothered.

Faux scandal

And then there was just kast yearm, when a bit of a prattle was stirred up by tabloid journos as they feigned puritanical umbrage over leaked (er..unceremoniously stolen) photos of Julie in a two-piece swimsuit.

Here’s how it went down, Julie was on holiday in Lombok with friends, Moreno Soeprapto and his family, on their boat, and everyone was wearing swimsuits –as would be normal in the case of about 90 percent of the modern world’s population when one is on a tropical island holiday cruising around on a boat.

I mean, holy bejeezus, what did these people expect her to be wearing on the boat, a nun’s habit? (actually, that might be an alluring look…but we digress). The grainy pics ended up on the Facebook page of one of Moreno’s family members and the tabloids were off and running, trying to stir up a scandal.


When we asked Julie if she was upset by such puerile behavior on the part of the public and the tabloids, she responded with gracious diplomacy, saying she understood that it was just something their publishers wanted in order to sell more copies. But, she says, “I’m almost paranoid now if I go to a beach in Bali, always thinking that someone will snap my photo and put it on the internet.”

Regardless of what the scandal-mongers and dogmatists think, it’s our opinion that Julie is just fine the way she is –an attractive, fashionable, wholesome, well-mannered lady whose acting talent is going to take her higher and higher.
***

Daman, Feb 2009

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