Talent Agent Yogi Omar
At 18 years old, Yogi Omar was wanted by the Indonesian government for being a gay rights activist. It ultimately meant that he would have to move elsewhere in order to keep himself safe. “Being gay in Indonesia is not accepted. It’s getting better. But it’s not quite there yet.”
Yogi moved across the world to Vancouver, Canada, not knowing a single person, or a word of English, besides the words “yes”, “no”, and “hot”. He was set up with a homestay family for the first three months, and those three months turned into forever, as that family became Yogi’s chosen family. While studying for a degree in Psychology and Sociology, learning English from shows like Ally McBeal and Gilmore Girls, and volunteering at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Yogi fell wholeheartedly into the film scene.
Today, Yogi is the co-owner of InspirationAll Talent, working as a talent agent with a primary focus on booking extras for TV shows and films. He was introduced to the agency with a small roster of 80 people, and proposed an idea to work for the owners for free as an attempt to help grow the business. Despite the constant pull by the founders to close it down, Yogi managed to grow the extras division to a 500-person roster in the first three years, before he realised he was on equal footing with rival talent agencies. Currently, he has more than a thousand people on his roster with six full-time staff members under him.
“I never had any doubts that it will work. I don’t know why, it’s just one of those feelings that I knew, it’s going to work. Everything’s going to be alright; I always feel that way about my life.”
“I love being a talent agent, because it combines everything that I’m good at. I’m good at organising things, I’m a people person, I love connecting people to what they want to do. When I first saw my extras on a TV show, I cried. I cried a lot. It’s the good cry, the feels. It was just amazing.”
As well as being a talent agent, Yogi is also part of the Vancouver Men’s Chorus and is on the board of directors for Qmunity, the centre for BC’s Queer resources, where every day, they’re changing lives.
“I love policymaking. I love making sure that we have the rights to do what we want to do. Now, it’s one thing about being culturally accepted, but it’s another thing that is equally important to have the laws behind it to do that.”
“I’m lucky to live here. And I know that there are so many people, so many queer people in everywhere in the world, who aren’t as lucky as I am. And I was one of them when I was in Indonesia. So I think the most important thing about this, this thing is that you just keep doing you. You just have to be true to yourself and follow through with what you want to do. And if you fail, you fail. But at least you try. You never know you till you try.”
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