State / Region
I was born and raised in Japan until the age of 18, but I was always different. I was listening to American Hip-hop, Reggaeton, and Caribbean soca. Getting inspired by American celebrities, I was dressing very differently from other Japanese girls. Being different doesn't make you comfortable in the homogeneous country on many levels. I have tried to be like other girls, but I couldn't change myself. I was always attracted to the western representation of women, who are independent, confident, and sexy. I was struggling with the social pressure to be like others and also the submissive representation of women in my country. I was finally able to find my freedom when I moved to LA. I started modelling, dancing salsa, enjoying being my true self without being disturbed by others' opinions and judgments. The city allowed me to be who I am, and pursue what I want.
Miki, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Model?
I aspire to seek more opportunities in modelling while establishing my academic career in the field of International Relations. I'd love to continue modelling no matter how busy I get. I started modelling from absolutely nothing. I didn't know anybody when I first moved to LA and barely spoke English. But I kept submitting my pictures and attending as many casting calls as possible. These continuous efforts led me to amazing opportunities. I couldn't imagine myself being a part of LA fashion week or playing the lead model in music videos when I first landed in LA. My experience taught me nothing is impossible if I trust myself and keep working hard. I'd love to keep breaking my comfort zone and see how far I can go.
Who is your inspiration in life Miki? How do you keep inspired?
I have deep admiration for Coco Chanel. One of my favourite quotes of her is "to be irreplaceable; one must always be different." This quote helped me a lot when I was suffering from being different back in Japan. I got inspired by the fact that she broke the tradition of women's fashion, even though people were first laughing at her that she dressed like a man. Her words and the way she lived her life gave me the strength to trust myself and go somewhere unknown to pursue what I want in my life.
We all make mistakes Miki; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Model; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
I won the 3rd prize in Miss Universe Japan Okayama 2015. During the competition, I was in the middle of the academic quarter. I somehow managed to skip a couple of classes and went back to Japan for attending the training camp, and then immediately flew back to LA. Since I was extremely busy to catch up my school work, memorising my speech was everything I could do. I couldn't afford the time to learn and practice the pageant performance. I saw the other candidates, who had more pageant experience, representing themselves better than me on the stage. They knew how to move their arms and play around with their gowns. Although I do appreciate the fact that I won the 3rd prize, I still feel regret that I could perform better if I were able to make little more time to practice the pageant performance.
Miki, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Model, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?
When I first started modelling, I had some opportunities to model for group photoshoots. I learned that the photographers usually take pictures by turns, and once their turns come, they often step forward. So, I was trying to keep slightly changing my positions and angles so that each photographer gets the chance to take the best photos. I always keep it in my mind to pay close attention to each photographer and read what he/she wants from me. And I make sure not to hesitate to ask a question whenever I get confused.
Please tell us, Miki, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Model?
It was very challenging for me to move my modelling career forward while working on my degrees at the same time. I often had to sacrifice my sleep and social life, especially during my master's years. However, attending casting calls and being on set has always been my priority. I never wanted to give up any modelling opportunities for my school work. So, I was always carrying my reading materials and using my waiting time for studying. (Especially, there are a lot of waiting time on fashion shows) At the same time, my busy schedule never hindered me in fulfilling my responsibility as a model. For example, I always try my best networking with the people around me, including other models, designers, photographers, and staffs. Also, I usually leave my place very early to arrive on set at least 15 minutes early.
Miki, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
I became a part of the wedding fashion show held in Japan in this January. Since I was in LA, I could not attend their mandatory practice days. I never experienced any runways in Japan, and I wanted to participate. So I negotiated with the coordinator with a little hope, presenting him my runway videos, pictures, and resume to show my ability and experience as a model. As a result, he gave an exception and offered me the opportunity to model at the show.
Miki, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Model. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
I became a part of the LA fashion week runway last year, and it was a great accomplishment for me. Before attending the open casting, I practised my walk many times in front of the mirror. So I was super excited when I got chosen. There are usually not many Asian models at fashion shows, in fact, I am often an only Asian model. So I always feel very honoured to represent my race in front of the audiences.
Miki, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I enjoy the shoots which allow me to go creative and be a free spirit regarding posing and facial expression. Also, when I collaborated with the photographer who was flying from the different state, I gave him some location suggestions. It was very interesting but also challenging because I felt a sense of responsibility to make the shoot successful. But overall, I love the process of artistic creation, and I always get inspired by magazines and artworks.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Model?
I believe that it is very important to be authentic and express your true self through modelling. Especially in the United States, I found that people are more open-minded and appreciate a wide variety of beauty. Therefore, you don't have to work hard to be like somebody else. Instead, you want to make the greatest possible effort to be the best version of yourself, both inside and outside.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
I'm looking for more collaboration with other creatives :) Although I'm open to any ideas and concepts (except nudity), I'm currently focusing on fashion/editorial and beauty, so I'd highly appreciate any related opportunities.
Photographer: Jackie Mena @jackiemenaphotography Photographer: Pete Andrews @eagle1photoPhotographer: Shadow Dragu-Mihai firstname.lastname@example.orgPhotographer: Jeremy Duplaquet @jeremyduplaquet Photographer: Tyler Mcdaniel @lisaandtylerjPhotographer: Troy Tackett @troytackettcaPhotographer: Larry Wang email@example.comPhotographer: Leonie Roland firstname.lastname@example.org