Christina Iskandar, Sydneysider, Greek/Australian grandmother, mother, wife, stylist, creative director and general manager of Best In Bali started the DIVA Lunch six years ago on a mission to raise money and enable positive changes for the local people of Bali. By utilising her social butterfly status, Christina singlehandedly manipulated Bali’s notorious lady lunches (enjoyed frequently by locals, expats and tourists alike), into a fundraising force to be reckoned with. She got every Diva who felt a connection with Bali making a difference by doing what they do best: luncheons with the gals!
Christina has visited and resided in Bali for 30 years. She met and married her true love in Bali aka “hubby”, handsome Jakarta dude, 26 years ago and this tropical middle aged couple personify the fruits of modern day global lovin. In true testament of the clashing of cultures this union produced three gorgeous sons and two grandchildren- yep Christina’s a Yaya (Greek Granny) to boot. Her life is chaotically torn between Bali and Sydney, between country and family but is driven by some inherent maternal, manic, charitable gene. She really cares for everything.
This lady chats like a local to the locals and has an honourable determination to enable a country so close to her heart. Her first DIVA Lunch consisted of only eight gals nattering, eating and sipping their way towards raising money for local charities. Nowadays its a difficult event to get a ticket for and the support has become overwhelming. The upcoming DIVA Lunch on the 27th May at Cocoon Beach Club is a sold out gig of 160 covers. Its being sponsored by Chandon, entertainers being the iconic Australian cabaret artists Carlotta and Polly Petrie; and the auction of an array of lusted- after prizes donated by supportive local businesses.
In Bali the DIVA Lunch has been hosted by acclaimed venues such as Cocoon Beach Club, Ku De Ta, Mamma San, Slippery Stone. Every 3 months Christina sets the stage and flutters around the DIVA Luncheons typically dressed in ornate kaftans, talking to everyone and ensuring that all that oestrogen in one space has got Bali’s back. She is the unicorn in the room. Each DIVA Lunch makes something magical happen. The Ibu Suryani Institute for the mentally ill, were given 90 million RPS (AUD9k); the YPAC Orphanage for disabled children have been bought a van and computers from DIVA proceeds, and the list of awesome deeds goes on.
The DIVA Lunch has snowballed in popularity and has now reached Australian shores. Perth, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast have all hosted such events. Organised by ladies who had gone to the Bali based events and decided to organise that DIVA charitable vibe on home soil. The upcoming Melbourne DIVA Lunch is hitting its second occurance and the Victorian Divas are determined to beat their first phenominal collection of AU$27k for the Bali Children Foundation.
I asked Christina what makes a DIVA? “A confident, happy in your own skin woman, mother, granny …” Lengthy pause which I break by saying, “I think that’s an unfinished sentence Christina?” “Well the rest is up to you” she answers
Christina Iskandar has put the fierce back into DIVA. possibilities back into many people’s lives and the glory back into ladies luncheons. Not bad for a Yaya from Bronte.
Some of the charities DIVA LUNCH supports.
The Harapan Project is a non profit organisation providing aid services and education while inspiring hope to poverty stricken people located in remote Indonesia. http://www.proyectoharapan.org
Bali Children Foundation creates scholarship programmes enabling disadvantaged Balinese children to attend school http://www.balichildrenfoundation.org
Kerti Praja Foundation conducts outreach work and support for AIDS & STD prevention and treatment for vulnerable Bali communities. http://www.kertiprajafoundation.com