Pillowtalk: Yasmin Suteja
We are definitely big lovers of the power of social media to connect and inspire us and our practices and our journey of self discovery. If you have access to Instagram, then you’ve definitely seen some of what Yasmin Suteja has been doing. Another creative who grew up in Indonesia, Yasmin has turned the idea of a creative agency on its head - and she did it on her own terms. Choosing her own journey and showing the world what she was inspired by, and expressing the diversity she loved in her friends and Australia’s style, Yasmin has managed to capture something truly unique that rings true to what being young in Australia looks, and feels, like. It was really beautiful to connect with someone from the same homeland, with her family based there as well (her brother is doing some really fun projects based in Bali), and discuss the creative channels and energy that flows through Indonesia and Australia. We loved chatting with her about her passion for storytelling and what drives her creativity, and we hope you feel as inspired as we did by this incredible, enigmatic powerhouse of a woman.
Early mornings, or late nights?
Indonesia is your heartland as well, what is your favourite thing about the growing creative and youth culture in Indonesia?
Bali is my childhood home, and also the place where I've had the most creative freedom. My favourite thing about the growing creative and youth culture in Bali in particular is that it really reflects this ‘no rules’ kind of creative exploration.
Culture Machine definitely speaks for the youth of Australia, and it’s incredible having multicultural voices influencing and having representation. Is this something that you felt was missing?
I think there’s a really amazing, inclusive culture of representation within the Australian youth at the moment. I’m 26 and for the first time I feel this warm sense of belonging. When I go to events, scroll through Instagram, and look up at window campaigns I see a lot more diversity than I did when I was in my teens. And it’s awesome to see diversity and self expression being celebrated.
We know you started working on Culture Machine pretty intensively in Indonesia. What about your life, growing up, in Indonesia were you most inspired by that you decided to take your work there?
Growing up in Bali I remember doing everything from Ballet to Violin, to Painting, to Singing, to Sculpture and lots more! I’d walk through the rice field with Dad and my brother and Dad would teach us about the different healing properties of plants. Bali was the most magical place to grow up and it’s difficult not to be inspired by the energy it gives you to just create and express yourself.
You still spend a lot of time in Bali, what do you think is something that you wish you could bring back with you? In terms of the creative culture, and lifestyle.
For me it’s really all about my family now! My whole family has moved back to Bali and I miss being around them. My mum is an incredible powerhouse of a business woman, my brother makes me laugh like no one else, and my dad has this really calm and philosophical way of looking at life.
You’ve started working more heavily on the film/television side of your business, how is that move to a more traditional entertainment medium? Does this feel like this marks a transition in your career?
I studied filmmaking at university and wanted to go into documentary filmmaking. Now that I’ve built up a client base for Culture Machine I’m starting to pitch out video content. At the core of everything I do is this burning drive to tell stories. I’m fascinated by people, and their stories.
Film or digital? Why?
Film! I much prefer the process of shooting film. You work much slower, and you have to really think about the shot you want. I think it also puts the subject at ease when you shoot film. There’s no pressure to look at the back of the camera and approve. I think you get a lot more honesty with film.
You have a pretty hectic schedule - to say the least. With all the business, what makes home, home, for you?
My friends. I move around a lot. But at the core are a handful of people who constantly life me up. And keep me inspired. Home is where the heart is <3
Do you have a daily mantra, or ritual?
Coffee is a definite ritual haha. I never wanted to be one of those people that can’t start a day without coffee. But I don’t drink it for the buzz, I drink for the taste! And I love being able to sit at a meeting sipping a hot coffee whilst brainstorming ideas. I would say music is also probably a ritual. I’m always listening to music either on my little portable Bose or through my headphones.
Your fave song to get you up in the morning?
If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would you be?
I’m pretty stoked on where I’ve woken up this morning! I just moved into a room in Bronte, woke up to that post - rain sunshine. It’s Saturday and I have no plans other than brunch haha!
Photography // Gem Brookes
Words // Tamrin Barta