No need to take a second look. With her expressive eyes, sensual lips, and graceful demeanor, Raline Shah already exudes so much beauty that many people find it difficult to take their eyes off her at first glance. But beyond these striking features that swoon the audience when she competed for Puteri Indonesia in 2008, the Indonesian actress and beauty pageant favorite proves that there?s more to her than her pretty face.
?I?ve been in the film industry since 2012, but prior to that, I was already working for my family (business). Before that, I also studied at the National University of Singapore. I?m basically an Indonesian, but my mom is Singaporean. So, I?m very lucky to have two different waves, two different cultures.?
Raline Shah is a familiar face in Indonesia?s show business industry. Her recent movies were really a hit ? comedy and action drama ? with a very good viewer rating. Her versatility allowed her to experiment with different genres in the different facets of her career. She is a recognized top model, fashion icon, and brand ambassador of Pantene (for eight years), Wardah Cosmetics, and OPPO, to name a few. She recently started her own coffee lifestyle brand, Kisaku, and busies herself to expand and learn her new role as an F&B entrepreneur.??I?ve got a lot of good reviews in terms of my coffee, and of course, the brand ? of how sustainable it is and how it is really pushing forward Indonesian local, traditional, authentic brands. I?m very proud of it, and one day, I hope it will go international.?
How Pageantry Opened Doors for Self-Discovery
While the transition from pageantry to modeling and acting may look seamless, Raline admits that all of these were unintentional. In fact, she confessed that she was at first uncertain about joining the pageant. It was her friends and family who encourage her to try ? and glad she did as it opened doors for experiences she wouldn?t have otherwise.
?It was interesting because prior to that, in Singapore, I was just like any of us. I don?t really take it (pageantry) that seriously. But I realized how much more people are very looks-oriented ? of how they are very proud of their beauty, very proud of their culture ? which taught me a lot about my Indonesian side. Being immersed in this culture and the collective interest in the beauty industry gave me an experience and later on taught me the actuality of beauty in many ways. Because the truth is, here in Indonesia, it really does play an important role that you can self-groom ? that you have an amazing style, you can do your own makeup, and you can understand the importance of a makeup artist. It does help, especially in this career where everything is based on face value, camera, and aesthetics. Had I not been in beauty pageants, maybe I would not have been as sensitive to that.?
While pageantry has helped Raline know herself better, she also shared that she does not see herself settling as a beauty queen.??It was not something that I think suited me or I could do long term. It is not my thing. I mean, I dreaded wearing heels and having to put on fake lashes. Growing up in Singapore and boarding school, I did not have a semblance of an idea of how much it takes to look such way.?
How to Find Purpose in the Acting Industry
The affirmations of other people really do matter. In Raline?s case, it was her friends and family who inspired her to join pageants. And while she thought she was already doing a good job of being a model and starring in commercials, one director saw her potentials in acting and encouraged her to explore such craft. ?He said: this is what you should be doing for your life; your acting is really good! And I think I took his advice quite seriously. Come to think of it, that was my first audition for an acting role, and I got it.?
However, Raline also knew how difficult it was for a newbie to sustain herself in the industry. So, instead of pursuing modeling and filming in Singapore, she opted for a more viable career in Indonesia. ?I continued modeling a little bit and working for my family, as well, to try to balance. I was looking at the options or places that would be possible for me to do a film where I wouldn?t be too far from home.?
Her first movie, ?5cm,? was such a major hit. But behind that success was the long untold struggle of getting a role for that film.? ?It was a very famous novel in Indonesia, and everyone on the cast was super famous. Then, they said that they are looking for the two main casts so they held a public audition. So, naturally, I was like ?I?m gonna go?; but in reality, these public auditions are not public. They already have an actress and things like that, which I thought was very unfair.? Raline recalls boldly telling the producer how unjust it was for people who were lining up to audition. But instead of getting an explanation, they only told her that it was part of the marketing ? that it has always been like that in the film industry.
Instead of sulking, she insisted that they take a look at her tape. ?Like, I just couldn?t take the injustice, you know. They asked me to fix my accent. I did. They asked me to cut my hair. I did. They told me to dress a certain way. I did. I came back six times. And I think (calling them out) served me well because the producer then went to the director, and then they took a look at my tape.?
But while they found Raline?s personality fitting for the role, still, she didn?t initially get the role because they already have an actress in mind. ?So, I moved on with my life. Sometimes, you need not be hyper delusional to get where you need to be in life. I can?t expect my first movie audition to like: ?yeah, you?re in. You?re an actress now. Congratulations!? I was quite realistic and positive.?
And then the much-unexpected turn of events happened. Three months before the movie began filming, she was called to take the role as some unforeseen events happened with the actress who was initially been casted. ?Although I?m a bargain, I did my best in that movie. It was a very intense working environment ? we were on one of the highest and most dangerous volcanic mountains in Java. I was working with two actors who were like the highest paid in Indonesia. They told me: this is not a normal film; so if you can do this, you will do well.?
Call it a blessing in disguise or maybe a way of Universe telling her that it is really meant to be. True enough, 5cm became one of the biggest movies. Through her hard work and tons of dedication, it turned out be a huge success that even up until now, some people still are addressing her through her character, Jani. Her excellent portrayal has had so much retention on people, which anyone in the industry can only consider as a true validation of success.
After that movie, Raline received numerous offers, like becoming the brand ambassador of Pantene. But she also realized that she needs to match up to her talent with the offers that came her way.
Humble enough to admit that although her first act came as a hit, there is still a lot of learning and improvement that needs to happen. A never-ending process of becoming better and constantly doing something for a great self-upgrade.
?A lot of people in the entertainment industry try to fix their image, their outer shell. But the inner kind of talent, you don?t train, or you don?t hone. So, I thought of really studying how to act for a few months before I took on another offer. So, I took another film course and in fact, I even did Lee Strasberg in New York ? which was a godsend because I made friends in the industry over there. There I realized my weaknesses and my strengths as an actress, and I went deep into acting. And I?m very proud of myself that I bothered because the truth is, with acting and movies, there is no end to learning. You have to always upgrade.?
Raline had truly embraced and acknowledged the core value of how it is to become an excellent and genuine actor, looking at the whole thing more than just a career, ?I learned what it meant to be an actress while also filming a film. And this brings me to the realization that life is about choices. We are a work in progress. We strive to be healthier people. And we have to talk about this than just career ? of how many movies we?ve done, how many awards we?ve received. We have to talk about how do they feel doing that, what do they learn, and how do they continue to improve themselves. That?s why I only take one movie a year because it thinks if you focus on quality versus quantity, then you can really immerse yourself enough, learn, and have a good takeaway from that.?
?In no way do I think I?m the best actress or the best model, or anything like that. What I?m always trying to share with people as the most important thing is being happy ? you?re happy with yourself, you?re happy with what you?re doing, and you understand what you are doing and the impact that it has on yourself and for others. As actors, we have to work with our imagination, and with that comes our empathy. Empathy also comes with a responsibility that needs to be translated into action.?
Raline has worked together with her friends in starting two foundations in Indonesia that aims to help children from the outskirts and opening up boarding schools in the outermost part of Indonesia ? where they don?t have good infrastructures, like school and roads to go to school that?s why children end up walking on jungle-like areas to go to school. ?As I get deeper and deeper into acting, I find my purpose because I empathize more. And I realize that everyone has to find a purposeful way of living.?
How to Deal with Criticism
Like many public personalities, Raline also has her share of negativities spun by people on the internet. But her years of struggles in the industry made her more particular with her battles. ?I think mentally, you just have to block some things out. I don?t think I?d be here today if I wasn?t like good at blocking things out. It really does take a toll on you when you start reading comments, or you start reading bad reviews about yourself.?
Raline has really put a lot of work into mastering the art of choosing to have the right mindset when life becomes a tornado full of negativities. ?We are already dealing with our own inner critic; we should definitely not add more. You only have a finite amount of time in a day. Instead of focusing like half an hour or one hour reading on comments, use it to meditate or read a book or something intentional. There are so many good things to do. Why not read the good things? Also, don?t forget your resources, like your friends and family. You need positive people around you.?
How Acting Changed Raline?s Way of Life
The spotlight may seem appealing, but like any other career, one has to face the responsibilities that come along with the decisions made. “I think, if anything, (Uncle Ben of) Spider-Man has taught me that with power comes great responsibility. Having a huge following is a sort of power and I kind of need to be more cautious of what I post in terms of how it even looks. Before, I never even cared about this. But now, I to make sure that there’s a healthy balance. I need to have content that is entertaining, inspiring, or beautiful but still keeping it real. “
It is making use of the platform and the power she has for the greater good and fully immersing everyone in the hope to find a greater purpose, especially during tough times. “Now, with the pandemic, people have more time at home to think of their current situation. And I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to inspire each other. So every day I’m picking up from other people’s pages, even if they have a hundred followers but they’re saying something I like, I post it. Not all ideas need to be yours. But I think it needs to be shared, especially if it’s a good one.”
With all the roles Raline has juggled ? from being a brand ambassador to acting and doing philanthropic activities ? she realized what the pandemic had taught her. “My belief is that, when something happens, it’s with the permission of a higher power. It might be God, and I think God allowed this pandemic to play out the way it did, and we have to make what we can make out of it and use our time to reflect, heal, see where to develop deeper connections. Because in this unstable time, people tend to become very frustrated, very stressed. I really did get deeper into my friendship. I did some yoga. I went vegan for a few months and started meditating on a regular basis. It a good opportunity for me to personally reflect on where I’m at, and I think it was a good path to greatness.”