Man of the Hour: Commemorating 20 years of Acting Success, Chicco Jerikho Takes a Nostalgic Look at His Humble Beginnings

By The Time Place Magazine

Before he himself even knew it, Chicco Jerikho’s bustling acting career has hit its 20th-year mark. Highly acclaimed and respected, the movie star is a household name in Indonesia’s film industry—and for good reason. His dedication to portraying characters, professional work ethic, and persevering personality have led him to become absolutely adored by filmmakers and cinephiles alike. Safe to say, Chicco spent the last two decades making his mark in the world—journeying through different characters, picking up knowledge and experience, and touching hearts along the way.

Chicco never intended to pursue film stardom, but fate seemed to have other ideas. His father, the Thai-born, Chana Jarumilind, was a star back in his heyday. As the saying goes “like father like son”, and it may almost be predestined for Chicco to follow in his father’s footsteps to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Looking back to his childhood days, Chicco recalls growing up immersed in action films. His love for cinema was evident as he eagerly awaited to spend the weekend watching rented laser discs of movies such as “Toy Soldiers” (1991) and the TV series “21 Jump Street” (1987) with his family. Now an accomplished actor, Chicco reminisces about times when he would re-watch his favourite movies over again and again, even re-enacting standout scenes with his siblings.

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It all started back when Chicco was still a student in school. His mother suggested he enter a competition as a cover boy for a teen magazine, which he won and ended up modelling for. From then on, he auditioned for commercials and weekly Indonesian soap opera roles. Unlike now where it seems second nature to the experienced actor, memorising scripts and expressing emotions on camera were daunting tasks that he used to dread.

Nevertheless, Chicco never once considered failure. It was simply not in his books. As he persevered through the learning process and grew his experience, Chicco slowly began to overcome his doubts and worked on becoming steadily skilled and seasoned. In 2003, he debuted in the Indonesian soap opera, “Bulan dan Bintang”, marking the start of his long-standing acting career.

To hone his skills further, Chicco sought guidance from the late legend Didi Petet, who he considers as one of his biggest inspirations. The movie “Catatan Si Boy” (1987) is one of his favourite films and one in which Didi Petet played a major role as the flamboyant Emon. “I am humbled to have been mentored by the late Didi Petet. The man was an icon for portraying Emon so profoundly,” Chicco conveys with admiration. “Didi Petet was a trailblazer and pioneer. He established the benchmark for our present actors taking on queer roles.”

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Intending to dive deeper into the realm of performing arts, Chicco aimed for the heart of the discipline and entered the realm of theatre and musical production. The year was 2011, and he remembers trickles of sweat running down the sides of his face as he was challenged to sing live in a musical. After belting out the final notes, Chicco smiled from ear to ear and beamed with pride. It dawned on him then as he pondered the vast and multifaceted universe of performing arts that being an actor was what he was destined to do.

His journey to success was not an easy one, as it was marked by setbacks and rejections. At times, directors told him that he was not cut out for acting, his performances were “too soap opera”, and he did not have the talent to succeed in the industry. Despite the many criticisms, he remains undaunted and persistent. “Being an actor means having thick skin. You do not take criticisms to heart. Instead, you reflect on what it is trying to teach you, and be better next time.” Chicco says with confidence.

With nearly 30 movies to date, Chicco believes that each one has influenced the course of his life and acting career. A particular movie that holds a special place in his heart is “Cahaya Dari Timur: Beta Maluku” (2014), in which he played the character of Sani Tawainella. Through the film, he met Angga Dwimas Sasongko, and became part of the production house, Visinema Pictures.

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In 2015, “Filosofi Kopi” was released in which Chicco played the role of Ben, the barista. A major hit, the movie garnered exemplary nominations as well as international recognition. Most importantly, it became a source of inspiration for many people. The film “Filosofi Kopi”, directed by Angga Sasongko, and starring Chicco Jerikho and Rio Dewanto, brought the three men together, who eventually became good friends and business partners. Recognising the potential of “Filosofi Kopi”, the trio transformed it into an intellectual property and expanded into coffee shops, clothing lines, music, concerts, and even bicycle collaborations.

Even after establishing himself in the film industry, Chicco never felt like he has reached the end of his learning journey. By never becoming complacent, he continues to grow both as an actor and a person. “Do not ever think that you have reached the pinnacle of success. There is always something to be learned from others, including actors who are just starting out. Never believe you are finished,” the self-effacing movie star apprises.

Always eager to create something extraordinary, Chicco is currently working on a movie that could be his most arduous yet. To get ready for the film, he has been tasked with several responsibilities, from learning to play the violin to pushing the boundaries of his physical capabilities. The movie, entitled “Perang Kota”, is an adaptation of Mochtar Lubis’ novel “Jalan Tak Ada Ujung”, and takes place in 1946, a year following Indonesia’s independence from the Dutch and Japanese occupations.

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From his time acting in soap operas to starring in big-screen movies, Chicco has kept his Breitling Navitimer watch by his side. “I have always been fond of Breitling watches,” Chicco reveals. In his eyes, Breitling represents strength and a kind of ruggedness that matches his style and personality. When asked about how it feels being part of the Breitling Squad Indonesia, Chicco slyly replies, “It fills me with so much joy and pride. I have always known that Breitling and I were meant to be together.”

Over the course of Chicco’s two-decade-long acting career, he inevitably encountered challenges and obstacles that could have hindered his journey towards success, but his determination to pick himself up never dimmed and dulled. Like a tree constantly growing new branches to reach for the sun, Chicco keeps himself open to the prospect of new experiences and ventures. Throughout all his different roles, he remains an eager learner, like a sponge soaking up new knowledge. “Although this year is the 20th anniversary of my acting career, I still have many things to learn and reach for,” he expresses with strength and intention.

Like a skilled chess player, Chicco makes way for his own destiny, navigating through life and adapting when necessary. He directs every move with purpose, as the choices he makes could determine the course of his life. From someone who had no skills and experience as an actor to emerging as one of the most renowned in the nation, Chicco acknowledges that he now knows how to play the game of life well, so with a sense of pride for remaining persistent and true despite the obstacles that could have taken him down, he declares… checkmate.

Creative Direction: Erika Tania

Photography: Zaky Akbar

Styling: Charlene Atalie

Grooming: Ryan Ogilvy Team

Location: Eastern Promise, Jakarta

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