Up Close with Christina Iskandar
We recently spent a very fun afternoon at Christina Iskandar’s treasure-filled Bali home playing with her fabulous sequin outfits, dodging a boisterous golden doodle called Bruno, and getting the low-down on all her gorgeous mementos from around the world. But Christina’s not all sparkles, and glitter, and fun (ok… she is really!); she also does fantastic work for a number of valuable charities around Indonesia, especially Bali.
When she’s not arranging a fundraiser or organizing a new bus for the orphanage, you’ll find her in the office heading the marketing and PR for the newly launched online fashion site, Design Dope, or at a glam villa styling a photoshoot while simultaneously Facebooking. Even back at home she’s Skyping her grandkids in Oz while hanging with her hubby and two teenage boys, before changing into a party frock to head out to a launch party.
It’s no wonder she described herself as a wind-up toy – this certified Bali Diva is go, go, go!
Christina, you have a long and loving connection with Bali. How many years have you been here and what has kept you in this gorgeous part of the world?
I landed in Bali in August 1983 and have been living here on and off for over 30 years, but permanently now for the last 6 years. I first came for a holiday and fell in love with the place, and since that time I’ve always considered it my home.
I also met my husband here in Indonesia; we’ve been together for 23 years and married for 20. Boyke is from Jakarta and we met there when I went up for a trip.
Part of the reason I have stayed is that I just loved Bali so much; this is where I’m grounded. Even though I’m originally from Bronte in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, this is my home!
We love and respect all the work you do for charity and we know you don’t like to blow your own trumpet, but tell us about what you do.
We are all so blessed and this becomes very apparent when we see others in Bali less fortunate than ourselves. There is so much we can all do to make a difference. The charity I am most affiliated with is YPAC (Yayasan Pembinaan Anak Cacat Bali), the Institute for physically and mentally handicapped children. A few years ago we held an art event called Heartstrings and with the money raised we built a new kitchen and computer room, and purchased new beds and air conditioners.
This year we are getting ready to purchase a vehicle for the YPAC, through the pledges we received for the Iskandar Challenge. (Christina went on an awesome 12 week fitness challenge and raised over $20,000 ).
Ok! The infamous diva luncheons. Tell us a bit about them. You raise a lot of money and have some serious fun while doing them.
The Diva lunches originated as a charity fundraiser three years ago with just eight ladies lunching at Biku and since then we’ve had many lunches, sometimes with over 100 people. Over the years we have helped so many charities including, to name a few, Bali Peduli, Harapan Project, Bali Children Foundation, Bali Kids, Sole Men, and The Safe Childhoods Foundation.
We raise funds for various charities through raffles and auctions, all whilst having loads of fun and laughter in the process. This month is Halloween and we’re raising money for the Bali Children’s Foundation.
You are friends with all the hottest Bali based fashion designers. Who are your absolute must wears at the moment?
Yes! Most of my mates are fashions designers. I do love Miss Milne, and So Clothe, and I love Balinese fashion designer Willy Hermanto. He dresses me for events and he gets it right every time.
You have a great place! Thanks for having us. Boho-chic is a word that comes to mind, but how would you describe your style?
One World. I love the concept of no borders. I have stuff from everywhere, I have an evil eye from Turkey, Mongolian riding boots, South African dolls, Ostrich eggs from my friend’s farm and lots of trinkets from Cambodia.
What don’t you ever leave home without?
My Samsung Note 2 & my Diptyque Tam Dao perfume.
What’s a typical day involve for you?
The best way to explain my days is to think of a wind-up toy that you wind and wind and let off, that’s me… there I go! I have breakfast at home with the family, the kids go off to school, then I go-go-go, off to the office, work, emails and home at six and then hubby does the family dinner!
If you could meet the younger you…what advice would you give?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
We know you’re the Bali gal about town. Can you give us the insider low down on shopping, eating and drinking in Bali?
Well that would be Design Dope for online clothing, Willy Hermanto for sequins, Mejekawi at Ku De Ta for dining, and you can’t beat the margeritas at Motel Mexicola or the Bloody Mary at Petitenget for a drink. A lot of the furniture and homewares in my house are from Kody Ko, so that’s definitely the spot for interiors.
Thanks for having us, Christina! All images taken by Radhika Rao. After 15 years of running a successful photography business in Hong Kong, Radhika now calls Bali home. Contact: [email protected]