Baskara Mahendra is an easygoing and likeable guy in person, and a striking one on screen. The 25-year-old’s career is what you call an unexpected one. Graduating from college with a management degree and a dream of being an entrepreneur (he actually just launched a culinary business venture of his own, called Wings It!), a series of events in his life made him into being an actor. In his short but already varied resume: the web series ‘Ramadan Terakhir’, an e-commerce sponsored short film called ‘Cita & Cinta’, and ‘Lima’ his debut feature film, directed by Lola Amaria, Baskara proves that there’s a lot more to him than just a face, and we can’t help but watch what’s he’s going to do next. In fact, he’s already working on his next feature film, which is still under wraps. We sat down with Baskara, and chatted about his beginnings and his standing in the wild, wild, acting world.

Text by Lala Claudia. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.

How did you first started as an actor?
Well, I had a daytime job several years ago, and during that, some film offers were made, but I wasn’t really feeling it at the time. Then one day, I joined the ‘Abang None DKI Jakarta’ pageant because of a friend, which helped me tremendously in becoming more comfortable in front of an audience. Not long after that, I resigned from my job, with the sole intention to travel. So, I travelled for a whole month in the East Nusa Tenggara region. I spent my money on travelling, and at the time I thought it was a good idea to get into acting as I was offered the chance at a convenient time (a.k.a. my resources were dwindling). I guess, you could say this was all an accident, a pleasant one.

So, initially you hadn’t thought of being an actor?
Yeah, I thought that being an actor was everyone’s passing dream. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be on TV? But, I never intended to pursuit it seriously. I was really into music at one time, so being a musician made more sense to me. But after I got to know what being an actor means, how the industry works, how fun it is, I truly enjoyed being an actor, and I feel lucky for having been thrown in it.

Cool! Tell us about your debut feature film ‘Lima’?
Well, first of all, I love the screenplay so much, I would do it without getting paid. The story of ‘Lima’ is really bold, the movie talked about the philosophy that our country is based upon, the ‘Pancasila’. My character ‘Adi’, is a challenging one for me personally. He doesn’t talk too much, so I kind of have to emulate him with how I behave.

What do people often get wrong about what you do?
Hmm, that it’s all about a pretty face. Honestly, I think that’s why I was hesitant to be an actor at first, because I don’t want to be just a face to be looked at. There’s a lot of heart and dedication in being an actor. I guess, that’s also the reason I want to play challenging characters so much. I’m a heavy reader, so I would love to play a well-known literary character, because there’ll be prior expectations that people have towards it, which is scary and exciting at the same time.

Now that you’re in the entertainment industry, how do you handle the spotlight?
Let’s just say I have a group of friends who humbled me majorly [laugh], so I never really think about it.

Last question, who inspired you?
Classic, my Mom. She never worries about the paths I chose in life, whether that to be an entrepreneur, an actor, or anything, she’s always supportive.

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