#OWN THE SKIN YOU’RE IN
Fashion blogger, digital influencer, TV host; you name it. When she’s not resting in Bali, you can find her jet setting through the globe interviewing fashion’s most prominent names. A subtle kind of sensuality, alluring to the senses; this person is so much of everything at the youthful age of 23. We talk to one of the front-runners of Indonesia’s upcoming faces and find out just how she does it.
It’s difficult to pinpoint where to start our interview with this multi faceted blogger. Her life has been filled with so many picturesque moments that she diligently documents on her Instagram account, which by the way, has an aesthetic worthy of a magazine spread. “There’s so many elements that I think about: location, lighting, composition, angle, the list goes on!” These pictures are not your run-of-the-mill pictures; each post tells a story of who she is as a person, the people she meets, the places she sees. It’s a personal gallery of her life and gives us a glimpse of what a day is like in the shoes of Ms. Rahajeng.
In July, Elizabeth launched her newly minted blog with twin sister, Maria. She credits her twin sister for initiating the idea of a blog during a student exchange in Germany in 2012. The blog stemmed from their love for photography and sharing it on social media.
“[It was] purely for fun and to share with our friends and family”. Being one half of a twin, it’s inevitable that she gets asked questions about her sister. Though they do almost everything together, there is an intense competitive streak between the two. The fact that they get compared a lot only adds fuel to the fire. With time, they have learnt to realise how important their individuality is, and that is how they want people to treat them; as individuals with different minds and different personalities.
“Through it all, we’re always going to support one another. Her success is my succes, and vice versa.” – On her twin sister. Maria Rahajeng
Having gained a following both on online and offline media, Elizabeth is not afraid to speak out what’s on her mind. She has been vocal in encouraging women to embrace their natural skin color. Elizabeth is no stranger to this struggle as she herself had a hard time accepting her natural tan. “I’ve realized that Indonesians’ perception about beauty is largely defined by a person’s skin tone. I think we both know that Indonesians favor light/pale skin tone.
Our culture –especially pop culture, celebrity culture — supports this false message, and it effects how we, the people, perceive ourselves. And so I see how girls are ashamed of their own skin color and try to become what society deems is beautiful. I think it’s about time that someone tells them that all skin tones are beautiful” This is a trend that is becoming increasingly common when a woman’s face is 10 shades lighter than their neck. Society believes the lighter your skin tone, the more beautiful you are.
“Because I am a darker shade, there were moments growing up where I thought maybe I wasn’t as beautiful as some of the other girls that were paler than I was. I realise now that that could not be further from the truth. Beauty is so much more than what you look like on the outside. Owning who you are and being unapologetic is what I want girls (and boys) out there to do.” Her skin tone wasn’t the only problem she faced when she was younger. Growing up in California and having to move back to Indonesia was no easy feat. Ms. Rahajeng’s whole world changed overnight and she struggled adapting to the new culture and environment.
“I didn’t have any friends (no one wanted to be friends with me because of the language barrier), I had no social life, stayed home all day. It was a very depressing period for me. I also struggled in school academically, switching to a new school system. It was a lot to handle for a 13 year old. I had so many challenges, but I worked really hard to try to accept everything and make the best out of the situation.” She credits this hard transition as a key moment that built her character and defined her as a person moving forward.
Through all the adversity she has faced in her life, Elizabeth believes in the power of kindness. “I think being kind to every single person you meet, to always extend kindness in any way, shape, or form is our human obligation. Even a genuine smile, or a genuine thank you goes a long way. That’s something my parents taught me, and that’s something I wish people would encourage more.”
Elizabeth is already so much and she still aspires to be so much more. Her ambition and hard work to get what she wants are admirable for such a young woman. When asked if she could give an advice to other young women out there, she shared the best advice she herself has received: “Know your worth, know your right.” In 5 years time, she hopes to have a clothing line with her twin sister, and exploring more in terms of her career. But most importantly, she would love to be married with children!