When you see her, you eyes immediately dart to her. There’s no way to miss this woman in a sea of eyes. When you stalk her on Instagram, 5 minutes turn into an obsessive case of digging up who this person is and what she’s like. There’s so much value to her name, yet also so much potential to how big she can become.
Intrigued on who this woman is? We’ll give you a clue. This woman is most famously known as a soccer wife to one of Indonesia’s most popular soccer players. Her name spread like wildfire back in late 2010 when her husband, who was an aspiring soccer player, became an overnight sensation for his talents on the field and also good looks. The media went crazy for this controversial couple and targeted them like a prey.
Although the media frenzy has calmed down since that tumultuous era, this woman is now creating an all-new hype on her own. No longer a regular soccer wife, this woman is now relabeling herself as a blogger and style icon. Can you guess who she is?
If you answered Jennifer Bachdim, then you’re absolutely spot on. This woman who has been through thick and thin, switched countries in the name of career and love, and stalked by a media worthy of a restraining order, is now emerging stronger than ever to chase after her passion. She sits down with us on a quiet morning for a story on her life.
Jennifer is wearing Got Back Top in Rose.
Jennifer’s humble beginnings started in Germany when she was born to a German mother and Chinese-Indonesian father. Blessed with a beautiful, unique, Eurasian look, it was a natural move for her to plunge into the modeling industry. Her older brother, Kim Kurniawan, alongside her future husband, was an aspiring soccer athlete. In 2010, Jennifer came to Indonesia with Kim, and then boyfriend, Irfan Bachdim in an effort to support Irfan’s soccer career. Amidst travelling between Germany and Indonesia, people started suggesting Jennifer to work in Indonesia. It was a win-win move on her side because she could take her career with her while also supporting Kim and Irfan.
Those days seem like eons ago. Jenny, her nickname, is now a full-time fashion blogger and is on the way of removing her “soccer wife” label, one post at a time. She was recently invited to Jakarta Fashion Week and we got the chance to meet her on that faithful event. In a glance, her stoic face and cool demeanor immediately got us intimidated. But beneath her fierce aura lies a bubbly, cheerful woman that is completely devoted to her family.
When you scroll through her Instagram, it’s a mix of her personal style, her great relationship with her husband, and her two adorable little kids, Kenji and Kiyomi. Being a blogger is not easy, being a mother is even more difficult, so imagine the pressure of being a blogger mom, not forgetting the fact that she doesn’t use a nanny. It’s also how she keeps fit.
“Kenji wakes me up around 5 so I wake up very early.” She would then play with her child, get Kiyomi ready for school, send her to school, come home and take care of Kenji, put him to sleep, blog, cook for the family, and this is just a snippet of her daily routine. See how blogging only takes up one part of her everyday routine?
On letting publicity get to her kids; Jenny thinks it’s no problem. “It’s a lot calmer now [than before] and we don’t have to hide our kids. What we publish is just content that we like to share with other people. It’s fun and it’s nice. It’s nice to see the kids smiling and we don’t force [them] to do anything. So it’s okay to share”.
The topic of children and media is very sensitive, as children don’t have a say whether they want to step into the limelight or not. The prowling media takes advantage of these defenseless youngsters for not being able to push them away. Their kids, however, are not the only subjects being targeted by the media. Back in 2011, Jennifer and Irfan was hunted down by the media for Jennifer’s past and the couple’s inter-religious relationship.
Irfan became a huge sensation when he joined the national team and the media constantly scoured for fodder to use him as headline news. Eventually, they stumbled upon Jenny’s lingerie shoots taken back in Germany. It created such an uproar that the media hunted for Jennifer’s house and camped outside her living quarters. At this point, Jennifer was at the early stages of her pregnancy, and fearing for her safety, Irfan insisted that she leaves to Malang with him.
“In Germany, [lingerie shoots] were so normal. It wasn’t a problem and they weren’t bad pictures. But here it’s a big problem.
I was living in Jakarta but I didn’t know how [the media] found out. And they were waiting for me in front of my house. Irfan was very protective. He said, “You can’t live here, you have to move.” And then we were at Malang and all the press was in Jakarta. It was maybe a good step for us. It got calmer and we also enjoyed our pregnancy there.”
Her first pregnancy went through complications that caused her to faint throughout the gestation. She was quite skinny at the time because she was sick while in Indonesia. There was something wrong with her belly and she almost lost a staggering 10kg. Eventually, she gained 11kg and Kiyomi is all-well. Her second pregnancy carrying Kenji sailed by smoothly and she gained a healthy 12kg.
These days you can find Kenji and Kiyomi as supporting casts of Jennifer’s Youtube channel. She decided to pursue the channel after her hair video received massive positive response. So upon discussing with her husband, Irfan suggested doing some challenges he saw on an American talk show. “He was like, “Is that okay? Let’s try.” And then we started our first challenge and we saw that people liked it and the kids liked it too.”
But the most important question is: Why did she start blogging? All this travelling was what moved her to start a blogging career. After giving birth to her first child, she’s always felt like going back to work. Travelling got in the way and the little family had to move from Indonesia, to Thailand, and then to Japan. And Irfan was adamant that she didn’t go back to work. “I’ve always wanted to work but he’s like, “Oh you don’t have to work. I’m the man and I’m the one who has to bring in the money. You just take care of the kids.”
But I’ve always told him, I want to be an independent woman. I want to work.
And I came up with the idea of blogging. He said, “Yeah if you can pull off having a blog and a website”.Jennifer is wearing the sold out Rack City Jumpsuit in Black. Also available in White.
It is after all, a strenuous job of styling clothes piece by piece, scouting photo locations, taking pictures, editing, and coming up with good writing content. For more established fashion bloggers, they have a big team behind them, but for Jenny, she just has herself. Irfan helps by taking her photos (and sometimes dressing her up), but Jenny still solely does the rest of the work.
So with blogging, it was a perfect combination of her favorite things, fashion and writing, and she could conveniently work from everywhere. “It didn’t matter where we were moving, I could still work”. The many different countries she’s been to left imprints in the form of her changing personal style. “Back in Germany I was really girly. It was really important in Germany to dress very girly with high heels. I didn’t wear any street style. In Japan, they have very cool street styles and their local brands are really good too. But here in Jakarta, I saw a lot of good collections. I love Sean and Sheila.”
Speaking of her hair, the platinum blonde locks did so much wonder for her career. The change in hair color transformed her into a high fashion model. It also resonated with her personal style that can be described as monochrome, edgy, chic and elegant. She received so much attention for it and companies started approaching her more after the change. Even her kids thought it was a drastic move. “When I came home, Kiyomi said, “Mama, you look like Oma”. Irfan was very fond of the change, as he had been suggesting her to cut her hair short for a long time now. The decision to go blonde was inspired by her desire to go light. She started with ash grey but became dissatisfied with the color. Upon looking at pictures on Instagram, she was spurred to dye her hair a lighter color. The very next day, she cut her hair and officially turned blonde.
Did you notice how Irfan’s name keeps on popping up in her answers? Well, that’s probably because these two have got a seriously strong bond between them to withstand the test of time and distance. They have been so unbreakable that they have eventually morphed into one-half of a soul. When they were younger, Jennifer was solely based in Germany while Irfan was at Holland and then Indonesia. Luckily they had technology on their side and managed to talk through the distance.
“And we trust each other so that’s the most important thing”.
Mrs. Bachdim has sacrificed her comfort just to be with her family and has time and time again, left behind everything to move to a foreign country. “It’s not really nice and it’s a lot of stress”, she explains. The part of making new friends again, and getting used to a new culture and a new country is no easy task. “But it’s an adventure, so it’s also nice to travel and go to new countries and get to know the people and culture”. She reflects and thinks that maybe it would have been easier if they were just a normal couple with their kids. There are a lot of things to consider when moving countries with children as they have a harder time adjusting and having to lose friends at such a young age.
Jennifer is wearing the Lexi Pleated Top in Black
Irfan has brought so much joy and love into her life that it’s impossible to write about Jennifer without uttering a word about her husband. Even while going through the hardest moment of her life, her spouse was there for her all the way. “I think [the hardest moment] was what was going on in Indonesia. I’ve always thought the media were normal people and that they tell the truth. But I changed my mind afterwards.
They would write anything for money and they just twist your words. You just have to be really careful with what you say. I’m still nice to the media. I didn’t let it change me”.
Looking back, she remembers her parent’s advice through that burdensome moment. “It’s always important to just be yourself. When all the media thing was going on,
don’t listen too much on what people say around you and to trust in yourself”.
With all of the voices being bombarded at her, it was so easy to have lost herself amongst the murmurs. We’re so grateful that she stood her ground and emerged stronger than ever.
With as much uncertainty as the weather, it’s difficult for Jenny to see herself in 5 years. She doesn’t know where her husband’s career will take her and which country she’ll be in. The few things she does know for sure is that her children are going to be much bigger and will start school. As for her influencer career, she wants to take her blog and Youtube channel to new heights and not to only be known as a soccer wife. We joked that maybe when her career as a fashion blogger takes off, roles may switch and that Irfan would be know as “Jennifer Bachdim’s Photographer-Husband”. She then continues, “I hope we will settle down somewhere in a country”.
She’s walked through a million bumpy miles and been thrown sticks and stones by the press media for the sake of page traffic. Through the wounds in her spirit, she has learned to become the bigger person and focus on her family and the future. With such a bubbly personality and an undying love to work, we’re sure she will eventually reach where she wants to go. In the meantime, she’s enjoying every moment she can with her little family.