How this model quit the industry and became a real estate mogul

Loemongga is the type of multihyphenate you may not know exists


Adele, Björk, Bono, Cher, Drake, Eminem, Enya, Iman, Liberace, Madonna, Pink, Prince, Rihanna, Shakira, Sting, Twiggy — there can only be one of these personages.

In Indonesia, there can only be one Loemongga.

Loemongga Haoemasan, known to many Indonesians only as Loemongga, worked the television circuit, walked runways, and covered various magazines in the 1990s. Now the former model and broadcast personality’s star is radiating in a different wattage. As president director of PT Asiana Lintas Development, Loemongga oversees some of the archipelago’s biggest real estate projects, including Senopati Suites and Nirvana Residence in Jakarta and Biu Biu in Jimbaran, Bali.

A graduate of Boston College in Massachusetts with a major in finance, the Bandung-born entreprenuer paid her dues as a banker with ING Barings before she embarked on property development. Her radical career change has not gone unnoticed. Loemongga was named one of the “Most Inspiring Women” last year by Forbes Indonesia.

We had a chance to speak with the cerebral multihyphenate at the 2016 South East Asia Property Awards last month in Singapore.

It’s the question on everyone’s mind: Why the move from the entertainment industry to the real estate sector?

I’ve always been interested in real estate, in design to be exact. Although I studied finance and I worked as a banker for a while, I always had an interest in architecture and design. The entertainment industry was something of a hobby. It was never really the focus. After I graduated from college, I worked as a banker. During that time, the majority of my clients were real estate developers, and I exchanged information with them. It gave me the interest to explore property. Entertainment was really not a profession. It was more of a hobby, which I did during my spare time.

Any chance of you going back?

The time was never friendly. I’m lucky enough to have been asked to participate in a number of programs but because of the work that is very demanding right now, I’m never going to have the time. If I have the chance, then I would love to go back, once in a while, just to reminisce the old times.

Now yours is a very inspiring story, especially among women. What advice do you have for women hoping to penetrate a sector that has traditionally been male-dominated?

It’s quite cliché, but we’d just have to be confident. If you know that what you’re doing is correct — just be confident. If you love what you do, it doesn’t matter if it’s a male-dominated or female-dominated industry.

But I personally think that as a female, you have a different eye than men when you build properties. That gives added value to the product itself because we’re very specific and we focus on details. And we know exactly how to make a home or space more comfortable. I think it’s just the nature of females, and that adds to the value of the projects. That has been my experience.

What do you look forward to in the next phases of Indonesia’s tax amnesty?

As Indonesians, we are all hoping that the number of people declaring their undeclared wealth will be a lot, and that the amount will surpass the target and expectations. Then hopefully we’ll see investments in property.

Any advice for your celebrity friends?

They have to join the tax amnesty. I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because it doesn’t happen every year. It might not happen again in ten years even. This is a chance to clear the past and start afresh. The next time you want to invest, you won’t have concerns; you’ve declared everything. You can start planning on your new declared finances. It’s a great chance for every Indonesian. They should join because it’s a golden opportunity. We should all make use of this.

What’s your outlook for the Indonesian market next year?

I believe it will be much better than now because of the repatriated money from the tax amnesty. The funds definitely will be invested rather than just be put in banks. It would be wise to invest in the different sectors that we have in Indonesia, and property will be one of those. We will see economic growth better than this year, and hopefully it will reach 6 percent.

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