Indonesian tv Persona turns plant-based chef and healer, Sophie Navita shares her secrets to happiness...
Sophie Navita has been a TV presenter since she was a little. But ever since she moved from Jakarta to Bali with her family, she has turned her career path from entertainment industry to the holistic and culinary world that makes her a healer and one of Indonesia’s first plant-based chefs, as well as a nutrition enthusiast – she is the founder of “Indonesia Makan Sayur”, a national movement that encourages people to eat more vegetables. She also juggles her time as a wife to Pongki (an Indonesian musician) and a mother of two children, a teacher at many cooking classes as well as a presenter and singer when she travels out of Bali. She has published books – her second one is coming out at the end of this year, titled “Hati yang Gembira adalah Obat” (A Happy Heart is a Medicine). To Bali & Beyond (BB), Sophie Navita (SN) shares her secrets...
BB: So, you are a singer and a plantbased chef, among other things. And you are into nutrition as well. How do you actually want to be recognized?
SN: I’d like to think of myself as a speaker and a listener. Every time I say something, my words can actually either help people or bring them down. Recently, I learned that I should give more encouraging words and be really careful with my words. I have been through an episode in my life you could call ‘depressed’. I am not proud of it but I don’t want to be ashamed of it because I went through it. And now I feel like I need to pull people out who are still stuck in that ‘hole’ and help them.
Somehow, many people come directly to me to share what they have been through. I learn that sometimes people need me to only listen, while other times all they need is a smile or an opinion, though I am careful about giving my two- cents because I think they have to be listening to their own voice. When I speak or write, I really lean on God, The Source of All Words, and I believe that I can help bring a difference to a person’s life.
BB: What made you start the “Indonesia Makan Sayur” movement?
SN: I want all mothers to be able to serve healthy food at home. The definition of healthy food is food with high nutrition, and it can be found mostly in vegetables, organic vegetables especially. I am happy enough to encourage mothers to cook and serve healthy vegetable dishes for their whole family members. But seeing some pictures of tumis kangkung (sautÃ©ed kangkung), sayur bening (spinach soup) or green smoothies that they made and posted to our Instagram account @idmakansayur, it makes me feel even more delighted. That kind of response always surprise me!
BB: What do you want to share in your classes?
SN: I want people to have better knowledge about organic vegetables. Choosing organic vegetables also means we support our local farmers. That is why, “Indonesia Makan Sayur” is also a moral and important movement that strives to bring a lot of benefits to everyone involved in it, from when the vegetables are planted, then grow and are harvested from farm fields, and then cooked, served and consumed.
BB: Your book is about selfdiscovery. How do you encourage people to love themselves?
SN: I think that is the battle for every single human being on this earth. We were born into the fallen world, we were born from a fallen legacy – I learn a theory of creation where Adam and Eve fell and we are their offspring. And there is no way, no matter how gentle and loving your parents are, even for a newborn baby to love himself or herself. We still have a 10 percent chance of developing some sort of self-loathing because we simply can’t control other people and their energy towards us.
The journey of my own self-love is a really long one, especially because I have issues with my father. He is a father figure, he is always there for me but we just didn’t get along until two years ago when my world was falling apart. Everything went wrong and I started to grow thinner because of depression. That moment, I decided to stop blaming others. It was a very big step for me because I have been a person who had always been putting blame on other people. It was like a shortcoming for me. For instance, when I could not tolerate things that happened at work, I thought about getting out of the place to find something else that works for me. After that recognition, my life started to fall into place, slowly but surely. And I realized that acceptance is the answer, or as the Javanese call it, “Nrimo.”
BB: Why did you and your family move to Bali from Jakarta?
SN: It was a holistic reason, actually. My husband and I wanted to rebuild our family values. I do not blame Jakarta for it. But in Jakarta, we could not function as a family as well as we are here in Bali. But there are challenges, of course. When Pongki is out for a tour, I have to stay at home with the kids and that is not easy. I used to have my own income, and staying at home is like training for me on how to be a real housewife. Managing the family finances is not easy, yet somehow it humbles me because I know my husband works so hard and I cannot spend the money irresponsibly.
BB: What do you do to make yourself happy then?
SN: I have been working since I was 9 years old, and now I am in my early 40s. I used to think that I deserved everything in this life, that I could do anything I wanted with the money I got from work. That was my happiness. But you cannot pay for happiness, can you? Now for me, when my kids are in bed early, and I have my “me” time in my room to pray until I cry my eyes out or check out Pinterest, I feel better. That is my true happiness. Simple!
By Wiwin Wirwidya
Magazine issue > Profile&Potrait