Where did you grow up? Why did you decide to come to the U.S.?
Well I am from Japan and I grew up in small town next to Tokyo called Kanagawa. My city is Hiratsuka. When I was 15 I moved to the states for a while, came back to Japan, then moved to LA and lived there for 3 years for school at Santa Monica College. I live in LA right now. My hobbies are I just started surfing, I love cats so I adopted two cats from a shelter. I like to go hiking, go to the gym, and I just recently started martial arts.
Why did you want to become a model?
Actually I was working as a waiter in a sushi restaurant and some agents there asked me to become a model but then I kind of refused it because of my personality. I’m an introvert and I don’t like getting a lot of attention so I was avoiding getting a lot of attention. When the tsunami happened at Fukushima in Japan where my aunt and uncle lived, they had to move to the south, which is Tokyo. So, my mom was helping them and I felt like I had to go back to Japan and help them out but then mother said no just take a chance and try it out. So, I actually sent photos to New York 2 weeks before I was supposed to leave from LA to Japan. I changed the trip to New York and I moved there. After that I lived in New York for 2 years, then I lived in London for 6 months. After that, I signed with an agency in Europe, I traveled to Paris then Toronto, Canada and so on. That is how I got into modeling.
Any favorite fashion brands? How would you describe your style? What’s in your closet?
I feel like I’ve kind of thought about what to wear a lot because I feel like sometimes models have to wear certain things to show up to an agency or client. But actually my personality is I’m more into hip hop like Run DMC. That was my first album I ever bought for $30, very expensive but it was important for me to get it. This was the first disk that I bought when I was like 13 or 14. So then I got into hip hop. I started going to hip hop classes in the city because I wanted to learn, I wanted to be a bad ass. So with my clothing I go with a lot of what I see rappers wear like sneakers, Nikes, and jeans. I like the colors black, white, and silver. Those are my favorite colors. When I meet new clients I just show my own personality I don’t really have to be judged by other people just because I work in fashion. I wear what ever I feel comfortable in which is usually black jeans and black Nike sneakers with a white t-shirt. I don’t try to get too creative. I like a lot of jewelry. I’d rather spend my money on jewelry than a lot of clothes.
What motivates you professionally in the fashion business?
I practice ancient Buddhism. I chant every morning and night. I read a lot of philosophy and I have been learning a lot from practicing ancient Buddhism. I feel like I’m not seeking something from a god, saying please give me something. I think all human beings have the potential to overcome things and achieve their goals. Spirituality, I get a lot of strength from that on a daily basis. It made me think about a lot of stuff because I lost my mother and grandmother 3 years ago. So, I was really suffering and I’ve felt a lot of loss but looking back my parents were really supportive and happy about what I do as a model. Both my parents come from a really poor family so they taught me how to really achieve a goal, pursue my dreams, and not to give up. There have been times I felt like I wanted to quit but my mom taught me as long as I have the passion in my heart I have to achieve exactly what I want to achieve, which is a cologne or fragrance campaign. That is my main goal as a model. So spiritually practicing Buddhism it’s helping me get towards my dream.
What are you short term and long term goals?
I’m going to be 27 this year and I have been modeling since I was 21, so my main short-term goal is to graduate from a university by 30 in the field of physical therapy. I would love to help children at clinics doing what my degree is in.
I also want to feel more accomplished as a model within a certain time because I have been doing this almost for a long time. I want to step up as a model and try runway again. I’ve walked for Prada but since then I was really depressed with the passing of my mother but now I’m getting back to feeling really motivated about myself. My biggest long-term goal is to do a fragrance campaign some time in my career.
How do you feel you stand out among other male models?
I don’t really like to feel like I need to compete with other people. I always just look at myself and make sure I’m continuously bettering myself. I don’t worry about being better than others, I just worry about being better than yesterday. I don’t care too much about how other models are doing well I only care about my self-development. I’m constantly challenging myself to do better. I’m not constantly comparing myself to other models I just want to be the best I can be.
Who would you love to work with in the fashion industry?
I would love to work with different Italian brands like Armani, I like Italian brands a lot.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in the fashion industry?
The best memory I have is with the Prada exclusive runway because my career took off after that. Before that I think I got called from Louis Vuitton for their runway show but they never put me in the show. So because of Prada exclusive it made me more attractive to the other brands because Prada had never used an Asian model in their show. So, I was really honored to walk in the show and really happy about it. Also, I got to do a cool photo shoot in the rain in New York with one of the Victoria’s Secret models and I was honored to be there as well. Every job I try not to compare because I am grateful to have worked with different photographers, stylists, and others in the fashion industry and I just appreciate the opportunity to work with all those people and create something beautiful.
#CreativeDirector – @ChaliaBreonn
#Photographer – Viktorija Pashuta @viktorija_pashuta
#WardrobeStylist – @AlexYoung.LA
#HairStylist – Tonya Le @onlytonyale
#MakeUp – Karl Pua @BigPua
Written by, Brittney Washington – @mrs_smith1116