During the last year, I’ve been trying to ask questions instead of talking. I’ve discovered that if you take the time to truly listen to what someone else has to say, no matter whom, you’ll always learn something interesting. Jette Edens was no exception to this rule.
This talented interior designer, based in the Netherlands as well as in the Maldives, is quite a woman. An environmentalist, an entrepreneur and a surfer, Jette travels in various countries with the hope of bringing her own touch of happiness along the way. She is deeply passionate by other’s culture and as you’re going to see below, she would even be willing to call Sri Lanka her home in the near future. She chases the waves and try to protect the earth not because it looks good on social media (she’s nowhere to be seen), but because she actually cares.
On her latest trip to Bali, the Amsterdam-based photographer, Maeve Stam, discovered the beauty inside out of Jette and decided to capture her essence on films. It was raw, it was natural, it was unexpected, it was honest.
Find out more about Jette Edens and see the shots Maeve beautifully captured of her.
Originally from the Netherlands, I can’t help but wonder how you’ve discovered surfing. Can you tell me a bit more about your first encounter with the sport and the first time you’ve tried it?
14 years ago when I started, there were only few shops selling boards and wetsuits in the Netherlands and a handful of fanatic surfers. My boyfriend at that time used to surf and I told him I was looking for a challenging sport that I could practise without the pressure of competition and obligation of regular trainings. I used to practise handball back then and played about four times a week and worked as a sailing teacher in the summer months, so I was done with schedules and just wanted to have fun. I promised myself never to compete in any surf competition or to become a surf teacher. Surfing would be me-time. He lends me his classic Malibu board and a stiff old wetsuit full of holes. We paddled out in the brown cold North Sea, no idea what we were doing because he had been out of the water for a few years, but it was fun and difficult and I was hooked straight away.
What did surfing teach you so far?
There are thousands of surf sessions on numerous locations and you quickly learn to adapt to the conditions and to make most of it. It’s a cliché, but you basically learn not to give up, to work and fight for what you want to achieve, to overcome the most difficult obstacles, and to push yourself to get there. Surfing is just a method of training these characteristics, which you can use in daily life and business situations.
If we had to know one thing about you, what would it be?
One single answer will make you judge a book by its cover 😉
Now based in Den Haag and the Maldives, it seems like you’re living a life fulfilled of culture & palm trees. What are you doing as a career to lead that kind of lifestyle?
Haha, that’s every millennial’s favourite game, trying to figure out how others could afford their lifestyle, especially with all social media importance these days. It’s simple; you are the director of your life. Don’t back off, shit yourself or scare out. Teach yourself what is needed. Listen to your heart, be integer but fight, and the rest will follow.
I once stayed one night on a boat next to Thila Fushi, the garbage island of Maldives. Google that, it’s a shocker. Waking up the next day in the smoke of burning plastic, with a swollen throat and the scary thought of developing overnight cancer, I wanted to make a change, starting with making the Maldives a greener destination. At the moment, I am working as an interior designer for 5-star resorts in this beautiful archipelago and I am studying a Green MBA specialized in architecture and development on the side.
What is the most challenging aspect of having two home bases?
I feel at home in a lot of places, as long as it’s warm, has beaches and waves and I could be amazed by history, architecture and design. The challenging aspect right now is to be at the right place and time to not miss any (business) opportunities while still being friendly for my wallet.
Where can we typically find you in The Hague? And in the Maldives?
In The Hague you can find me behind the computer most of the time (nerd—yes!), working on an interior design or making creative concepts for a Hotel or Resort. I also love a quality aged whiskey with friends catching up on their latest travels and adventures.
In Maldives you can find me in business clothing looking for the nearest AC conditioned room while running from meeting to meeting in Male’ the capital, on a site visit during a new resort’s construction wearing a men’s T-shirt, long pants and trucker’s cap, or surfing my favourite Bing surf board to rip some waves apart with ClearWater Surf Travel, the Kotch family and our local friends.
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow morning, where would you go?
That will be Sri Lanka for sure. I fell in love with the country, culture and people, and am dedicated to make it a new home. It’s a diverse, interesting and upcoming destination and I expect it to develop as the new Bali in the next 15 years. It’s an hour flight from Male’, which makes it perfect to combine with work on the Maldivian islands. I am currently looking for interior design opportunities in Lanka and will drag my boyfriend over to join me in this quest.
Who are your main inspirations, in and out the sea?
Laird Hamilton—because of what he wrote on my surf board more than 10 years ago: “All is possible for the believers. Just make it.” Sounds tacky but is very true. This has been my mantra ever since.
Eva Malmstrom Shivdasani—founder of SixSenses Spa & Resorts and Soneva Group. She has been my mentor for three years, teaching me about sustainability, aesthetics and interior design. The positivity and joy she puts in her work are infectious and her idealistic visions and business strategies are from another level and something I also hope to achieve one day.
Any tips for future women’s entrepreneurs and surfers?
Like I said; you are the director of your life, take that responsibility.
See Maeve Stam’s Portfolio
Halal Agency Amsterdam