Flying paper kites and climbing trees in her hometown, Jakarta, as a child, Aquila Firrina never thought that one day she’d be a model. Even though her mother worked in the fashion industry, the thought of walking on the runways never came to her mind. Not until her mother encouraged her to give it a try.

After she said yes to joining a teen modeling competition during her final year of middle school, she has taken the local fashion world by storm and never been absent from the spotlight. You’ve seen her on TV, magazines, music videos and silver screen. With her charming laugh, rebel air and relaxed attitude, we see that it seems hard not to wanting her presence.  But as for now, Firrina only wants to take things slow and enjoy life as she and her musician husband, Petra Sihombing, is currently expecting their first child.

We caught up with the actress/model in a photo studio in South Jakarta to talk about her modeling career, childhood and how her brother-in-law, Ben Sihombing, played part in setting her up with his big brother, Petra.

Text by Lulu Nisrina. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.

How did you first get into modeling?

I’d never planned on being a model in the first place. When I was little, I was more interested in playing outside with friends―flying kites, playing marbles―not until my mom encouraged me to sign up to a modeling competition, back then when I was in elementary school. She used to work backstage at fashion shows, and seeing that I was a very active kid, she thought that I’d enjoy modeling. So, yeah, I joined. But it didn’t last for long ‘cause I had school and I wasn’t really into it. Long story short, when I was in my final year in middle school, my mom asked me to give another try to this teen modeling competition. So, I did and here I am. 

Tell us the coolest thing about your job.

The things I enjoy the most about my job is that I got to visit places that I once only saw in magazines. And that I get to work and meet different people, visit different places and wear different clothes every day. 

Since we’re talking about roots in this issue, can you tell us where you grew up and what your childhood was like?

I was born and raised in Jakarta. I’d moved around several times in the city, but the places I remember fondly are my house in Pulo Raya and my grandparents’ house in Pejompongan. There at my grandparents’ house, I used to play kitchen in their yard, using leaves as the cooking ingredients. Another thing that I loved was that they had this tree swing hang on their jackfruit tree. 

What is your best childhood memory?

When I was little, whenever I got asked, “What do you want to eat?”, my answer would always be rice with sunny side up and kecap (sweet soy sauce). I also had this funny moment where I cut my hair using paper scissors. Back in the day, I’d always have my hair cut when my mom thought it was long enough. That day, I thought that my hair was already long that it needed to be cut. Then I took things to my own hands and it turned out to be messy!

In case you didn’t know, Ben [Sihombing] is going to be in the same issue as you. Can you tell us about your relationship with him?

Oh, really? Well, the funny thing is I knew Ben better first before Petra. Ben and I hang out a lot and he was also the person I asked a lot about Petra. [Laughs] And I feel like Ben and I click from the start! Well, the fact that he has unique thoughts and personality is what makes me feel comfortable being around him. 

How would you describe yourself? 

I think I’m a pretty flexible person. But when I want things, there’s nothing could stand in my way until I get what I want. Besides that, I love being surrounded by funny people. You know, I love laughing! Is it silly? I mean, who doesn’t? [Laugh] Also, I am an emotionally sensitive person.

How do you think your friends would describe you?

I am a stubborn person, but kind. [Laughs]

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can flare my nostrils. 

What are you most excited about right now?

The baby! I can’t wait to know my baby’s gender and to start shopping for the baby. And of course, I can’t wait to have this little one around!

Do you have advice for our readers who want to start a modeling career?

Don’t assume that everything will always all fun and games, because every job has its ups and downs. Be mentally and physically ready, be professional, try to always be on time and having positive attitude is a must. If you really want to start from zero, you could attend modeling school.

Read more articles at 247 COTTONINK Magazine.

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