Dewanti Kumala, Miss Polo International 2019, got candid over polo, her jouney and the pandemic with LA POLO. Here’s a detailed interview:
Tell us about the events leading to your becoming Miss Polo International? My Miss Polo journey was unexpected. I was taking part in beauty pageants. The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Republic of Indonesia recruited me for the Miss Polo Indonesia 2019 event in Dubai. x In three months, I was struggling in order to fit the requirements, mentally and physically. It gets pretty scary to represent your country at an international pageant. My team and my family were not able to accompany me to Dubai, so they did everything they could to help me prepare back home. During the competition, I had the mission to promote my country by using cultural diplomacy. I wore traditional ensembles and materials. The first time I arrived at Dubai, I had to deal with the clothes difficulties, with my heels, and was all by myself dragging my suitcases to the hotel. I had to do my make-up and hair all by myself. My roommate, Miss Ghana, helped me a lot. Miss England and Miss Netherlands helped me as well. It did not feel we were competing each other. We were supporting each other. All the contestants felt like sisters to me.
We were practicing hard for the grand finale and could not guess who would be the winner. The real drama came up during the transition from the opening dance to the evening gown session. We had three minutes to change into our gowns, change our hairdo and be in line. It was so hectic, everyone panicked and one of the contestants unintentionally bumped into me, and made me lose one of my earrings. But we found the lost earing and everything happened fast. When they announced the runners-up, that left three queens among the finalists, and that were me (Indonesia), Miss Thailand and Miss Nigeria. I prayed to God, hoping I give the best result to my country. That is why I cried out loud when they announced me the winner. All I could think at that moment was that my team, my mom and my supporters’ efforts had been paid off. No words can describe how grateful I am and will always be. What touched my heart the most was when Miss Ghana, Miss England and Miss Netherlands cried with me when they crowned my head.
What was your aim behind winning the prestigious title? I sincerely just want to be heard. I believe that education is the main weapon in facing the future for every individual. I saw the same vision within the Miss Polo International title. By winning the title, I can be the icon of change, in creating a foundation for education. My goal in establishing decent education facilities will be supported by the Miss Polo International Organization. It can give me the platform to build connections to increase the quality of education globally.
How does Miss Polo International resonate with the polo world? Polo is widely known as a royal and a prestigious sport, and towards this vision, the president of our organization, Mrs Ibife Alufohai, wants all of her queens to be exclusive and treated with respect by society. The queens are seen as majestic and wise people who are strong and willingly to be frontliners in proposing education and socially relevant causes. The luxurious life of polo is seen as an opportunity in building relations and connections to fulfil the main vision of Miss Polo International Organization.
What’s your experience at the polo fields and the stables? I’ve been learning how to ride a horse since I was a kid for recreational purpose. However, learning polo and walking between stables are a new experience for me. It turned out it was more fun than I ever expected. It was really cool during the competition of Miss Polo International, when we were doing a photoshoot with the horses.
How do you plan to make a difference and change the world owing to the position you hold today? My team and I have the vision of establishing a non-profit foundation to help increase education facilities nationally. However, during the preparation in finding investors to establish the foundation, we are sub-planning. So far, we have collaborated with several less privileged regions to find donators for schools and provide for crucial needs within the learning process. My mom, who acts as one of the Head Masters of the schools, is helping my team and me to conduct monthly visits, in order to oversee the improvement of the schools that we’ve been working on. We also reach out for online donations.
You have been helping the needy. What all you are doing? Yes we do. It was inspired by our beloved Mrs Ibife Alufohai, President, Miss Polo International and my mom, Mrs Ririn Kurniasih, to help people who are affected by the pandemic, directly. There are so many less privileged that are struggling to survive this phase. The starting point was when we decided to make a donation of basic needs such as rice, cooking oil and so on. We went one by one, to contact for donations.
What about your exercise and diet? I am comfortable with fasting as I am a Moslem. However, besides fasting especially in the Ramadan month, I try intermittent fasting which I combine with a non-carbs diet or a keto diet. It helps me in maintaining my weight. To help stabilize my mood and to satisfy my craving, I give myself a cheat-treat once in a while. For exercise, I love dancing videos, and a 15-minutes’ workout daily involving planks, squatting and sit-ups. At the weekly charity for Covid-19, I also help in packing each bag, and that is a really tiring yet useful exercise.
Being a polo beauty queen means having a lavish lifestyle. Can you throw light on that? The way we talk, speak, interact with people and how the conversation continues with every person you interact with can show your inner beauty and sincerity along with intelligence.
What’s your typical responsibilities? The lavish life of Miss Polo can be seen through the many events I attend. All the gala dinners, fashion shows, and meetings with important people and government officials, make it essential for me to be prepared and look stylish. My team and I are in collaboration with famous designers from Indonesia and my family members who are working in the fashion industry. However, regardless of all the luxurious clothes that I wear, it is about attitude. For me, it all depends on how I behave and how I overcome all the unexpected questions that come my way, so I need to keep myself informed by regular studying. I was already busy with my studies for my bachelor’s degree, my modelling and my athletic practices. The title has taught me to be more responsible. Charities, photoshoots, interviews and other shows make it a hard life, and it is even harder to keep to all the schedules and maintain people’s correct perspective on you. Winning this title had made me be more thoughtful. I have to be more critical in taking any decision, because every action that I do will show my title, my organization and my country.
Your style icon? I love to combine the sophisticated, sexy, chic style.
Most fashionable person you look up to? Mostly it is Kate Middleton, Gigi Hadid and Zendaya as well.
Your favorite perfume? Twilly d’hermès eau poivrée eau de parfume.
What is fashion? Fashion is identity. I always express the way I feel towards my everyday style. It acts as a mirror for my current mood and is my personality reflection.
An outfit you can spend the rest of your life in? Chic-street style, like a tank-top, pencil skirt and ripped jeans with high heel boots or sneakers.
Your favourite travel destination? Raja Ampat and Japan.
Favourite food? Sushi, cheese and Manadonese.
*Image credits: @ss_jimbo ; @deon.angkasa ; @h2photography