Hubert Burda Media

Selly Wilson: Forever Young

The 30-year-old mother, philanthropist and entrepreneur, who was born into the Yogyakarta aristocracy, tells us about her secrets to always looking great and why she sees fashion as a form of expression

Selly Wilson arrives at the studio for her It List photo shoot with a glowing and cheerful face. It turns out that the day of the shoot is also her and entrepreneur husband Frido Marsiano Wilson’s eighth wedding anniversary.

“Today, I feel so happy to celebrate this significant moment with Prestige as fashion icon of the year. It’s truly a remarkable occasion,” she smiles. For her shoot, 30-year-old Selly models gowns by international labels – Dior and Lanvin – and by Indonesian designers Sebastian Gunawan and Eddy Betty.

“It’s a magical time to celebrate my anniversary by wearing two of my favourite designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior and Eddy Betty,” she remarks. “I have admired Maria’s work ever since she was at Valentino, and I love her even more now that she’s joined Dior. She has pushed Dior into modernity without moving the label away from its classic and ladylike roots.

(Dress: Eddy Betty | Jewellery: Mondial)

“Meanwhile, Eddy Betty has a special place in my heart. Eight years ago, he designed an extravagant wedding dress for me. The bottom of the gown was fully covered with feathers, and it was so beautiful. And today, I get to wear Eddy Betty’s creations again as a way of celebrating my wedding anniversary. It’s definitely a lovely reminiscence.”

What are Selly’s secrets to always looking great? “I try to always watch what I consume. I drink a lot of water and I love vegetables. My beauty routine is quite simple. I tried to exercise regularly. I love spending time with my family. I guess simple things and happiness can make everything look great.

(Dress: Dior | Jewellery: Mondial)

“As for my sense of style, I really love to mix and match my outfits. I don’t believe that age should determine our looks or style. I love playing with edgy looks, and sometimes feminine ones. Be forever young, that’s my motto. That’s why I adore (top model) Hailey Baldwin’s style. She’s my biggest influence in fashion. I have a huge fashion crush on her. She always looks so cool in any attire and she’s the epitome of the American girl-next-door street look. I always look up to her in terms of finding the right outfits for myself.”

To Selly, fashion is a form of expression. “I love fashion because there are no rules about it. Everyone can looked beautiful in any shape or style. It’s about expressing your true self. Most importantly, fashion is essential because it projects your personality,” she says.

(Dress: Sebastian Gunawan | Jewellery: Mondial)

The former actress’s style adventures can be followed on her Instagram page. She has more than 60,000 followers so far, and counting. Her successful use of social media has sealed her position as one of Jakarta’s most admired style figures. Having been coiffed and made up by professionals for the evening, she is often to be seen at important high-society events in coveted seasonal items from top luxury brands.

In spite of all of the glitz and glamour and her fabulous fashion statements, Selly is really a down-to-earth person – albeit an aristocratic one. “I was raised by Javanese parents who taught me traditional values when I was little,” she explains. “In our culture, we are supposed to help each other and not be too ambitious or self-centred.”

Selly was born as Raden Roro Selly Loura Puspita. Her family are members of Yogyakarta’s aristocracy. She grew up in the Keraton Yogyakarta neighbourhood. At the age of 18, Selly moved to Jakarta to become a professional beautician. She lived with her uncle, the renowned artist Hanafi, and her aunt Dinda, who is a theatre actress.

(Dress and necklace: Lanvin | Jewellery: Mondial)

“I wanted to study aesthetics in Jakarta, but I was heavily influenced by my family, who are mostly artists, to go into the acting world,” she says. “My uncle had me go into acting classes with Didi Petet. A year after that, I signed an exclusive contract with the production house Soraya Intercine Films. I appeared in several films, soap operas, advertising campaigns and music videos.”

In 2006, Selly met Frido. They got married three years later and the following year their daughter Gwennive Lucretia Wilson was born. “After that, I left the entertainment industry and dedicated myself to being a full-time wife and mother,” she says. “Maybe this was because I was raised in the Javanese culture, which asserts that women should be at home and taking care of the family. But, there are times when I want to explore my own passions. When Gwen is old enough, I think that will be the time to do more with my own life.”

(Bustier: Lanvin | Jewellery: Mondial)

In spite of what she says, Selly does have several philanthropic and entrepreneurial ventures on the go. “In 2013, I co-founded a project called Common Cause Charity,” she says. “By selling our pre-loved clothes, we raise funds to provide surgeries for disabled children. Next year, we are planning to do it again, for the fifth time. I’m grateful that so many people care about these children and want to help them.

“I launched my own contact lens brand, Milky Eyed, last May. I’ve been wearing contact lenses for years, so I know how a good pair should feel. That’s why I was interested to venture into this kind of business. I developed the concept myself and I deal directly with the manufacturer I selected in South Korea. Thank God, we’re receiving great feedback from our clients.

“Next year, I’m going to launch my new swimsuit line, Aqua du Soleil, in collaboration with my good friend Erlya Bimantara. The suits will be made in Indonesia and they will be sold at a mid-high price point. The styles will be classic, with unique detailing. The first collection is still under development. We’re not in a rush to launch it, because we really want to do thorough research of materials and women’s shapes first. I believe that everyone, especially women, has different needs. My line of business is a complementary form of beauty. So, my vision is quite simple. I want all women to feel beautiful.”

In spite of her new business ventures, Selly says: “Being a mother and a wife are my number-one priorities. I just do what makes me happy. I’m not yet an experienced businesswoman, but they say that if you love what you do, you will not feel like you’re working. So for me, these are just pursuits of happiness. I’m grateful that my husband is very supportive. However, that doesn’t change anything, because family is always above everything else. You can say that I’m a happy conservative wife. I will always look up to my husband as the man of the house.”

How does Selly feel about her daughter growing up in the social media era? “Kids these days are growing up so fast and they are very critical,” she says. “Especially in this digital era where social media and the internet are very accessible. That worries me every day. I don’t want Gwen to be suffocated with rules, because I want her to be open and to be friends with me, even though I’m her mother. My husband and I have set up ground rules, such as time limitations on social media and gadgets. On school days, Gwen is not allowed to watch YouTube. And we always keep an eye on her whenever she goes online.

(Dress: Eddy Betty | Jewellery: Mondial)

“All in all, I’m so blessed to have a lovely daughter like her. We’re practically like sisters. We share everything and we talk about a lot of things together all the time. It’s amazing that she is always copying most of the things I do. But it’s scary at the same time, because then I have to really watch what I’m saying or doing!”

What are Selly’s hopes for the future? “I’m just following my bliss,” she smiles. “I believe that if we have faith, every door will open. I’m happy with my life and I’m having fun with it. I guess that’s the way to live a youthful life.”

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