Life & Career
Childhood and early career
Agnes Monica was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 1 July 1986 to a Yang family of Chinese ancestry. She is the youngest child of Jenny Siswono, a former table tennis player, and Ricky Muljoto, a former badminton player. Her older brother, Steve Muljoto, is her manager. She attended Tarakanita elementary school and Pelita Harapan junior high school. Her talent for the performing arts was evident in her childhood, especially in singing; she sang in church and attended vocal courses.
Agnes entered the entertainment industry in 1992, when she was six years old, and released her first children's album, Si Meong. In 1995, she released her second children's album, Yess!, which includes a duet with fellow Indonesian child singer Eza Yayang. Her last children's album, Bala-Bala, was released the following year. Agnes also became the host for several children's programs, including Video Anak Anteve (VAN) on Anteve, Tralala-Trilili on RCTI, and Diva Romeo on Trans TV. She was awarded "Most Favorite Presenter of Children's Program" at the Panasonic Awards in 1999 and 2000 for Tralala-Trilili.
Agnes began acting as a teenager. Her first two roles were on the soap operas Lupus Millennia and Mr Hologram in 1999. The next year, she starred in the TV series Pernikahan Dini, which served as a turning point in her career by transforming her image from that of a child artist to one of a teenage artist. The production was well received by audiences, and she received the "Favorite Actress" award at the 2001 and 2002 Panasonic Awards, as well as the "Popular Actress" award at the 2002 SCTV Awards. In 2002, Agnes starred in three soap operas, Ciuman Pertama, Kejar Daku Kau Ku Tangkap, and Amanda. Due to her popularity, she became the highest-paid teenage artist in Indonesia.
Agnes also recorded songs in her early teens, including "Pernikahan Dini" and "Seputih Hati" for the soundtrack of Pernikahan Dini, both of which are featured on the 2001 compilation album Love Theme. The following year, she collaborated with the Indonesian senior singer Yana Julio in the song "Awan dan Ombak" for his studio album Jumpa Lagi.