She was discovered while she did some modelling jobs for friends as a textile design student in college, and the rest is history. Being one of the most recognizable faces you see in fashion spreads with her cool demeanor and distinguished curly hair, she quickly caught the eye of Indonesia’s prominent directors, hence her roles in ‘Ada Apa dengan Cinta? 2’ and ‘Ini Kisah Tiga Dara’.

But, being the type who constantly reinvent herself, Tat is definitely not the one who restrict herself to a particular form of self-expression. Aside from modelling and acting, she draws and is also a Handpoke tattoo artist, under the moniker Little Fotress (@littlefortress). And now, the Piscean is adding another title into her belt, a musician. Her debut single ‘Sad Today’ is now out on all digital platforms. We sat down with Tatyana to talk about her venture into the arts, being sad and how trying to please everyone is utterly

Text by Lulu Nisrina. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.

Tatyana, you sure are a lot of things, so how would you describe yourself?
I’m everything and nothing at the same time [laughs]. Whether you know me from my visual work, acting, or modeling, whatever it is, it has always been me. But, I do think I am mostly represented by my drawing, tattoos and music.

So, with all the things that you do, what made you want to dive in into music now?
When I was casting for ‘Ini Kisah Tiga Dara’, that was the first time I sang in front of people, and you can say that I discovered that part of myself that day. The project led me to explore more of that. During the promotional period, I sang to express my character in the movie. And now I just want to sing as Tatyana entirely.

Cool! So, how would you describe your debut single, ‘Sad Today’?
The sound is.. Well, it’s full of juxtaposition. ‘Sad Today’ is about me and my depression, and how I live my daily life. But I try it to present it lightly and very casually, like sad but in an unfazed way. I don’t want to romanticize it, it is what it is.

In what way do you think it’s different to express yourself through music?
In music, I think I can express more things wholly. When I perform, in a way it feels like acting. But not just that, I can express myself through writing and also develop it visually. It’s me in a more comprehensive way, so to speak.

We’re particularly interested in your tattoo gig, Little Fortress, how did that came about?
It was pretty random, I’ve always been the one to ‘okay, let’s try this and this’, and this was one example of it. So, I was in Yogyakarta, and decided that before I left, I had to have a tattoo. We came across Petrichor Tattoo there, and met Fuad who later became my teacher. It was pretty spontaneous, I just asked him to teach me about handpoke tattoo and he asked me to come back the next day, and I started to dive in right away and did my first ink on my boyfriend. I instantly fell in love with the process and the outcome of it. So I took this with me to Jakarta, I learned some more, practiced with the help of my willing friends, and now I’m taking clients by appointments.

For a person being in the industry where it can be so cutthroat and be overly focused on one’s appearance, did you ever feel any burden regarding beauty standards?
Well, growing up I had this big insecurity about my hair. A simple matter of letting my hair down for school was something that kept me up at night. Hence, I flat ironed my hair constantly. It stressed me out big time, and I was just fed up about being worried about it, so I just let my hair be. Funny thing is that, once I accepted it, other people gradually too, even the ones who used to make fun of my hair.

Last question, how does Tatyana practice self-love?
I’m just tired of self-hatred. I’ve always struggled with body image and beauty standards. One day, I just had enough of it, and finally came to a realization that once I can accept myself, nothing else would really matter. So, I learned to love myself, and it’s was long process. Back then I seek validation from other people, and now that I don’t, I feel much freer. Seriously, if you constantly try to please other people, there will be no end of it.

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