Belinda Betz helps make Kilo for a madcap clientele. Opening photo: Stephane Sensey. Words: Tony Stanton.
Belinda, tell us a bit about where you’re from and how you grew up . . .
I graced planet Earth with my majestic presence in Jakarta on December 24, 1992. My mother is Indonesian mixed Chinese and my father is German. Growing in Jakarta was challenging, especially with a mixed background; it’s pretty hard to figure out where you belong. I had a lighter skin tone than everyone else but I spoke fluent bahasa . . . yet I couldn’t fit in with the locals. I was lucky enough to be placed in two international schools that surrounded me with kids who had the same confused culture-clash problems as I had. It was pretty interesting. I think kids in Jakarta, and Indonesia in general, grow up a little faster than everywhere else in Asia, just because we are exposed so quickly to the outside world.
We’ve seen your FB videos . . . you could do stand up. Where did that sense of humour come from?
Why thank you! Funny that you mention that. I have piles of videos back home of me doing stand up and theatre comedy when I was growing up. I love comedy and comedians . . . Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Jackie Chan . . . and I guess I mix that with a bunch of childhood cartoons. These are the main ingredients, and from that comes the randomness. I sometimes look in the mirror and question my sanity.
We’re guessing you don’t much mind what people think of you…
The last thing that bothers me is what people think about me. I’ve always stood up for who I am in spite of other people’s opinions of me and what I do with my life. I guess you can say it’s also gotten me into trouble, but I always think to myself that you can never please everybody at the end of the day . . . so you might as well just stick to your badass self and conquer the world one strawberry-filled jam doughnut at a time.
One day you’re modeling, the next you’re dressed up as a moo cow. What’s with that?
About 80 percent of my day consists of making fun of myself. I love it. And I love it even more when people are entertained and they laugh. If I can make a person’s day a little bit better with a giggle, I’m more than satisfied with that. Modeling is a form of art for me, where I can express myself in photos through beauty. Coming from a theatre background, I’ve always attached emotions to modeling to not only make pictures seem more real but to also capture a moment. That, for me, is what modeling is about.
Ok so – what are the five words that best describe you?
Lol, ok. Tell us about an event that had a big impact on your life.
The biggest impact on my life so far was my move from Jakarta to Singapore. I moved to Singapore by myself when I was 18 thinking I could be independent. Boy was I wrong. I was living by myself and did a course in make-up artistry, which eventually got me an assisting job during the day for a professional freelance make-up artist, but I also worked in restaurants and lounges during the evenings, which ignited this hospitality fire in me. It was no walk in the park. It was many hours of hard work, plus at the time I was in the dumbest relationship that drained me emotionally. In the two years that I was there, I learned a lot about myself. You don’t really know how strong you are until being strong is your only option. I finally threw in the towel and moved my sorry ass to Bali, which is when I finally broke out of my shell. Best decision yet.
What are you most proud of?
My parents. They have always had my back, and they still do. My parents even each other out, filling in what the other lacks, so they’re literally balanced. I’ve seen them go through tough times together, and this has taught me to never give up. I’m really lucky (and proud) to say they are still happily married, and still showing me what a strong relationship is all about – to value love as a whole.
What do you dream about most often?
Growing up I always had nightmares. It was either vampires hunting me down, or zombies, but this was probably a lot to do with the fact I’ve always had a love for horror movies. Recently I’ve had dreams of going up on stage and forgetting my lines, and having to improvise on the spot.
What’s the maddest thing you’ve ever done?
Oh God. Where do I start? I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my short life. Probably the first one that pops into my head was when I was in high school – I used to sneak out of the house a lot, but it was my method of sneaking out that you could say was slightly mad. So my room was on the second storey and I had a balcony, which was right next to the roof of the garage. If you climbed up the roof, it led to a back part of the house that was the laundry room and down a ladder to the garage, then out the back door. I locked my room on the inside so it looked like I was sleeping, then climbed from my balcony and ninja’d my way up the roof, balancing in mid-air in the middle of night. I used to give myself a curfew – I had to be home before the sun came up.
What does food mean to you?
Food is life. Literally. Growing up with an executive Chef father and a mother that owns her own food supply factory was definitely a privilege in terms of giving me a knowledge and appreciation of food.
Talk to us about Kilo restaurant and the restaurant business as a whole . . . is it all long hours and moaning customers?
The first thing that attracted me to Kilo was the concept. The whole philosophy of ‘Kilo’ itself is based around communicating memorable moments through delicious food, music and soul in homey scenery. I think people feel this when they come to Kilo; it filters out a certain crowd of guests that just want to have a great time. You don’t really feel the hours when you’re enjoying what you do.
What’s the best thing on the menu?
Beef Tongue Tacos, BBQ Pork Ribs, Wasabi Tuna Tartar, Squid Ink Rice and the oh-so-mouth-watering Chocolate Lava Cake.
What do you eat all the time at Kilo?
Squid Ink Rice. All day, everyday. Or until my jeans don’t fit anymore.
If we were to order one cocktail and a starter at Kilo, what would you recommend?
My go to signature cocktail is either the Sake Sangria or A Sure Thing, I can’t choose between the two. Recommended choice of starter I would say Seafood Ceviche, a fresh combo of octopus, kimachi and tuna. One scoop of that and it’s literally like a party in your mouth.
Belinda Betz, thank you for your time.