Dutch | Indonesian
I identify as mixed-race, straight and I’m spiritual but not religious. My dad is from Indonesia (The Mollucan) and my mum is from Holland. My parents met in The Netherlands. I grew up in a small town in the north of The Netherlands. My parents embraced each other's culture. Openness, acceptance, honesty and growth have made sure that they are still together and luckily my brother and I were raised with the best of both cultures.
I think I was 7 or 8 when I first began to understand I was of mixed ethnicity. I found it very challenging and confusing which friends I could hang out with at school. Do I belong best with the white kids or with the black kids, I always wondered. Picking a hair salon suitable to my type of hair also proved to be a challenge because I don’t have smooth silky hair, but I also don’t have typical rugged black hair.
I connect the most with my Indonesian roots. I embrace the strong connection that we have as a family, I embrace our beautiful traditions and I love the delicious Indonesian food. When people ask ‘where are you from?’ I always tell people that I’m half Dutch and half Indonesian. Most of the time they respond by looking confused I guess that’s because I don’t identify as typical Dutch or Indonesian.
I have an amazing group of friends from different backgrounds, each with their own beliefs and sexual preferences. People with an open mind who are eager to learn, develop themselves and want to contribute to society. In selecting a romantic partner, I don’t really look for their ethnicity or cultural background. What I do find important however, is that my partner is a worthy addition to my life. To me, that means being able to grow both together and individually, experience the world and continue to love each other.
I absolutely think there are still bias attitudes towards mixed-race people. I see people struggle daily in things like mixed-race marriages, relationships, children or finding a suitable job.
I was living in Iceland back in 2001. A week after the terrorist attack on 9/11 I flew back to Iceland after a family visit in The Netherlands. I was the only person on the plane with a mixed-race appearance and when we landed at the airport, the security were much more strict than usual. I was taken by customs for a more rigorous check and had to hand in my passport. It took well over an hour before they told me I was released from customs.
A very positive experience started last year when I started working as a professional model. Ever since I have gotten a lot of modeling gigs because according to clients I have an appearance a lot of people can truly identify themselves with.
I embrace the fact that I’m mixed-race and I always try to connect with other races from a positive perspective by being open and honest about my culture and by showing sincere interest in different cultures because I believe that we can learn a lot from other people coming from different backgrounds. People are becoming more open to diversity and I love and support that because only then the world will get a much happier place for everyone.
If I were to be born again I wouldn’t change a thing because all the challenges made me who I am today.
I’m convinced that the future for mixed race people is bright! Diversity is becoming more and more accepted. You can clearly see this in the media, interviews, stories, programs, things like that.
And on social media, platforms like yourself are able to really contribute in a positive way to the perception of being mixed race. As a result, more and more people are becoming aware of people from different backgrounds and are increasingly accepting of them. Keep up the good work!