We had the good fortune of connecting with Savira Windyani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Savira, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
In the beginning, it was for my own personal reasons. I wanted to be one thing and have the option to be everything and anything at the same time. It was a chance to release my unfiltered emotions from my actual life through the eyes of another being. But, as time went by, it slowly became about empathizing with different people in different situations, and being able to fight for that person. It became about being able to create and provide an escape for people when they needed a world to escape to.
With that being said, growing up, there weren’t a lot of people represented on screen that I was able to relate to. No one looked like me. Because of that, I resorted to watching mostly cartoons until high school because I related more to a sponge who lived in a pineapple under the sea, than I did with real people in movies. Representation is slowly getting better, but, I wanted to participate in that change.
There are certain groups of people who believe they could live without art, but when the world’s suffering from a pandemic, we watch movies, read books, listen to music etc.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think what might set me apart from others is my curiosity and willingness to try anything and almost everything. I’m the sort of person who wants to understand every part of being in front of the camera, as well as behind the scenes. On stage and what happens backstage. If they need me to learn a new hobby I’ll do it immediately. To me, being able to understand every aspect of making a production makes me a better actor. I also just love consistently learning because there’s always room to grow anywhere, and who knows? You might surprise yourself, and find magic along the way.
My recent work I happen to be extremely proud of was, winning for best fight choreography along with my partner, Michael S. Garcia, at the Artemis Women In Action Film Festival. This was the first fight we’ve ever choreographed together, and the first fight we’ve choreographed professionally, and we happen to win at this festival recognized by a number of stuntwomen we’ve seen in films we adore. We definitely pushed each other’s boundaries when creating the fight and it paid off incredibly well. Just goes to show, when you’re having fun, it shows in the work you put out there. I’m also insanely proud that I’m still going. It’s been tough but…hey! Every moment’s a blessing, I happen to still be alive through these crazy times, doing what I absolutely adore doing. My family and friends are well. What more could I ask for?
It might’ve been naive of me but, I got to where I am professionally by having no doubt it was going to work out. Looking back on it now, it was pretty crazy how I moved out here, to Los Angeles, from Malaysia, at the age of seventeen without knowing anybody in this part of the world. One day I just decided, this was going to be it. I was going to move here. Granted, it didn’t come without its challenges. Every story has its inciting incident and climax. But, as I’ve mentioned before, and I’ll keep mentioning again, I’m lucky enough to have incredible role models who happen to be my parents. They have shown me through advice and action, time and time again, that anything could be accomplished if you set your mind to it. My father once compared his goals to water. No matter how steep those hills are, and how low those valleys seem, you’ll figure it out and adapt to get to your source of water. Trust me, I don’t nearly have it all figured out, but with prayer, and my parents being who they are, when I get up after falling, at least my legs are stronger.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, especially last year, is finding the balance between life and work. I tend to go into tunnel vision whenever I focus, and it sometimes makes me blind to the special moments that are happening right in front of me. It might be derived from the fact that my parents sacrificed a lot to get me here, so the idea of failing terrified me. To me, it meant their sacrifices would be for nothing, and no matter what, my successes will make it worth it. But, in turn, time spent with my family decreased because I chose my work over spending precious time with them. Then the pandemic hit, and you don’t realize what you have until it gets taken away from you.
This last question took me some time to think about but I think I’ve got my answer (for now). Right now, I want the world to know that, I have eczema and I think it autoimmune conditions need to be normalized. Also that, my story up to this point in my life is just the beginning. I can’t tell you what I think might happen next because you can only plan so much, but, I hope through this article, you’ll come along this wild journey with me and be there to see my successes as well as my failures.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To give her a true LA experience, I’d take her hiking in Malibu, a day at the beach, then brunch at Castaway or something. But because I haven’t seen her in a while and I’m not one to socialize out a lot, I’d take her camping in Yosemite, because I’ve never been. Maybe even a trip to the Getty Villa, or Huntington Gardens.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my goodness. I was blessed with quite a number of people in my life that has lead me to where I am today. If I thanked every single one, you’d be reading this segment forever. So I’ll just give the highlights.
First and foremost, as cheesy as it sounds, I need to give a shoutout to God because there were moments in my life I didn’t think would be possible but it happened. I truly feel His presence in my heart and soul, and I feel protected. My parents secondly. They have been my motivating force my whole life. The challenges I go through is nothing compared to the sacrifices they’ve made to get me here. Scott McQuaid, my first acting teacher that introduced me to my love for this art form. He’s pushed me beyond my limits and is the sole reason I realized and believed I could do this as a career. Stephen Susco, my first feature film director, who believes in me, and constantly teaches and exposes me to new ways of creativity to help me take control of my own career (he is also my walking encyclopedia of movie history). Shihan Vince Cecere, my ju jitsu master, who is just an endless pool of wisdom and a constant positive reinforcement in my life. I’ll forever be grateful for his teachings and the strength he’s brought out in me.
Some personal shoutouts to people who’ve helped me in my personal life. Michael S. Garcia (a.k.a the love of my freaking life) who’s been my rock throughout my journey out here, my brothers, Faris Waiteasa and Farel Sigit, Jason Coulter, Sophiya Sabapathy, and all my other friends, family, and teachers I had growing up. You guys know what you are to me.
Katherine Barcsay Leah Huebner Presley Ann Garage26LA