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Nadya Hutagalung – When will I wear a Sari again?Nadya Hutagalung made her name as one of Asian MTV’s pioneering VJs, but former model turned creative entrepreneur Nadya’s real passion is green issues. She’s an ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour, runs eco-awareness website Green Kampong, has started her own sustainable jewellery line, Osel, has sold her paintings to aid the Tsunami Relief Fund, and is a keen photographer (see below). Did we mention Nadya’s Tweets have also earned her a place among the Shorty Award finalists? She’s also very nice – as we found out when we met her…

You must be a very busy lady – where are you and what are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been busy travelling around the region for TV commercials and print shoots, mostly in Indonesia.

Who or what gives you inspiration?
My mother and my kids are the main reasons that I do the things I do in life. Beauty, music and travel move my soul and inspire my creative pursuits.

Gold rings, Osel by Nadya HutagalungOsel, the jewellery brand you design for, is sustainable, using repurposed gold and gems to craft beautiful new pieces (left). It’s just one of your many creative outlets; which projects are you most proud of?
Actually I would have to say my kids; I am blessed to have creative, sensitive, well-rounded kids. I have a teenager who is filled with wit and humor and tells me he loves me almost daily, an eight-year-old boy who cooks, paints and wants to be a car designer and a sprightly three-year-old daughter who sings and dances and fills the house with pure sunshine.

Describe your ideal weekend away for us…
Due to the amount of travel I already do for work, an ideal weekend for me is one where our home is filled with friends, family, kids and food. Usually I would be in the kitchen preparing brunch leading into lunch and usually dinner. The sound of the kids splashing about in the pool, with laughter and sunshine filling the house… that’s how I best like to pass the weekends.

You reviewed the Balé hotel in Bali for Mr & Mrs Smith’s South-East Asia boutique hotel guide: which other hotels make it into your top three?
Given the choice to escape all the madness of my hectic life, I would have to choose Begawan Giri as the place to find some solace. Hidden away in peaceful, mist-shrouded Ubud, this Como Shambhala resort is the closest to heaven on earth I’ve found in my travels across this globe. Food always plays a big part in keeping me satisfied, and at the Begawan, meals always leave me with a deeply satisfied inner smile.Jaipur travel photos by Nadya Hutagalung

If you get a chance to go to Jaipur in Rajasthan (top left), a stay at the Rambagh Palace (centre left) will allow you to get a taste of the Maharani’s lifestyle. A meal at At Suvarna Mahal, the grand dining hall, is not to be missed as they have really taken every effort to bring you culinary delight – so much thought is invested into the meals.

Where’s next on your travel wish-list?
I’m hoping that this year I’ll get a chance to visit the Heart of Borneo and Raja Empat. These are two locations in my father’s land which are relatively underexploited pockets of nature that the WWF and other conservation groups are working hard to protect. It would be a real privilege to be able to see both while I still can.

Do you have any hotel hates?
Smelly carpet, beds that have synthetic mattress covers that make you sweat, snooty service staff and most of all, bad food.

What’s the first thing you check out when you’ve checked into a hotel?
I test the bed and open the room service menu – food is one of the main reasons I quickly fall in or out of love with a hotel. Hotels in Bali; SingaporeI am pleasantly surprised when I find toiletries that are not generic plastic bottle fillers.

What’s tickling your tastebuds right now?
At the moment I am into raw food; and anything prepared by Mathew Kenney would have to be my favourite.

Tell us about your corner of the world…
I am living in Singapore, where we are seeing more and more food stars popping up on our shores, where it’s only a short flight to countless getaways both rustic and luxurious, where expats land and never leave, and where – surprisingly – we have some great local organic farms sprouting up!

First thing you’d show a visitor to Singapore?
I’d take them to organic farm shop Bollywood Veggies (they do great banana bread in the Poison Ivy Bistro); browse the boutiques on Haji Lane; head on to Little India (for great malasa dosa); and finally, take a cruise around the famous night safari.

Share a secret from your address book with us…
Naïve – it’s a great plant-based vegetarian restaurant (no meat, no seafod, no eggs) on the East Coast Road: our whole family loves this little gem (omnivores included!) and it has earned a spot in our list of regular food haunts.

Most romantic place you’ve ever been?
Paris, where Mr Smith proposed to me in the Coco Chanel Suite at The Ritz.


Now read Nadya Hutagalung’s review of the Balé hotel in Bali…

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