For the past couple of months, Instagram feeds of the 30-year-old actor, singer and lawyer Maruli Tampubolon (@marulitampubolon777) have been filled with military-themed photos. There he was in an Army battle uniform carrying a gun on the battlefield and other was of him looking patriotic in a dress uniform complete with a red beret. When Prestige meets up with Tampubolon for a special photo shoot with Cartier, he looks like a soldier who has come back from a war. But this Army “officer” looks effortlessly fine in front of the camera while trying on magnificent steel, gold and leather models from the new Drive de Cartier watch collection.
“I just came back from the Indonesian Army basecamp in Bogor this morning,” he tells us. “I’ve been staying there for over a month for my new role as Captain Norman. This movie, Merah Putih Memanggil, was written by Retired Army Lieutenant General T. B. Silalahi. It was inspired by a real event when our forces undertook a daring secret rescue mission overseas. I felt so excited and honoured to play this role. It has awakened the patriotism in me. One of the most features of the film is that most of the characters are played by real soldiers.”
The movie is directed by Mirwan Suwarso, and is set for release on The Indonesian Army Anniversary of October 5. “I always wanted to become a soldier, but life rarely goes as planned,” says the father of one-year-old Jemima Nava Baijens Tampubolon. Being the son of a renowned lawyer Juan Felix Tampubolon, he knows he somehow has to continue the legacy eventually. But he has no regrets.
“I feel blessed,” he says. “I have spent many years of my life studying the law, and you can be sure that it won’t be for nothing. The path I have taken for now has led me to singing, acting and, eventually, this role. Playing Captain Norman has taught me a lot. Training as a soldier for over a month, and living with soldiers, is a life-changing experience. They taught me the importance of discipline, to never give up and to believe that everything is possible.”
For one scene, Tampubolon had to climb down a waterfall using the rappelling technique. “I used to be afraid of heights,” he confides. “But those soldiers are fearless, and they inspired me. Now, I’m not scared of heights anymore. In one scene I had to kill and eat a snake. Thanks to this role, I have overcome all of my fears. It’s more than just an acting job for me.”
As for his relationship with Cartier, Tampubolon says he has known about the brand since he was in high school. “At that time, it was impossible to have a Cartier watch,” he says. “Now, I’m doing a photo shoot with them, and it’s like a dream come true. I feel grateful. I have an undying love for good watches. For me, a Cartier is more than just a timekeeper. I feel instantly cool every time I put it on.
“My father gave my first watch when I was in elementary school. When I got older, he gave me another one, and gave one to my brother as well. I like vintage-style watches. The Drive de Cartier collection fits my sense of style perfectly.”
During his back-and-forth schedule between Bogor and Jakarta, Tampubolon still found time for his singing career. After the photo shoot, which took a full day to finish, he went to the studio late to work on his next album, which comes later this year. In the morning, he went to Bogor and became the captain of 12 soldiers. After that, he returned to Jakarta in the evening to sing jazz numbers at DAMan’s 10th Anniversary Party. How does he do it all? “Discipline is the key,” says Tampubolon. “I’m trying my best to be professional in everything I do. Yes, you can’t do everything at once, but you can do things if you take them one at a time.”
In the end, it’s his faith that drives Tampubolon to do the impossible. As he posted on Instagram: “Being driven by faith to personify the spirit of never surrender is the crucial aspect to propel ourselves into the parade of a successful future.”
Photography: Robby Agus
Fashion Direction: Peter Zewet
Styling: Koko Namara
Asst. Styling: Primawan Hakim