A face who we in the fashion world are all too familiar with (and absolutely love!), Kiko Mizuhara has been a long-time collaborator of Coach – from walking regularly for its runway shows to creating a capsule collection and fronting its campaigns.
But beneath all that fashion, we find the ever-bubbly and charming girl who is also an actress, with two projects launching soon (one being a Malaysian production) and entrepreneur who has just started her own agency "Office Kiko".
And here's what she has to say:
So you walked up the steps of Palais des Festivals in Cannes earlier this year...
Yes, I walked the red carpet for a fashion house. It’s always a little tricky, I think, to attend a “film” festival when you’re not in any of them. But you have to take advantage of the moment. It’s an incredibly remarkable experience and I loved the dress I wore. Cannes is a very special place. I wish I could come back one day and have one of my films screened there.
Let’s go back in time; what is your first memory as an actress?
I was 17 years old when they asked me to audition for Norwegian Wood, the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel. The director, Tran Anh Hung, had already auditioned several experienced actresses before me but he couldn’t decide. I wasn’t very good at the audition but Tran Anh liked my personality. To him, it was close to that of Midori’s character. It was unexpected and I was afraid to take on the role but I ended up having fun playing her.
And at the time, you had already worked for several years as a model...
My career began at the age of 13 when I signed an exclusive contract with Seventeen. For a long time, my mother played the role of an impresario; I was not part of any agency. And then, at 17, I chose to leave Kobe, the city where I grew up in. It gave me the feeling of starting a “new life”.
In which neighbourhood do you reside now?
In Setagaya, which is a bit out of the way.
I understand that you were born in the United States?
Yes, in Dallas. My father was from Texas. I don’t remember much because I was very young when we moved to Japan, first in the Tokyo area and then, for my father’s work, to Kobe. At 16, I started losing my English fluency... it was a shocker!
And your first name testifies to this cross-cultural upbringing of yours!
Indeed, Kiko has the advantage, for a Japanese given name, of being easy to pronounce. My mother wanted that to be the case. And my middle name is Audrie because my father is a big fan of Audrey Hepburn. So it’s almost as if he had always wanted me to become an actress.
What memory do you have of your childhood?
It’s funny because my mom has always loved fashion. At home, we’d watch some fashion or modelling shows on TV. I thought that the models and their clothes were so beautiful.
You are 28 now, where are you with fashion?
I am a vintage girl. I always used to wear the clothes that my mother wore—old Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano et cetera. However, that does not stop me from being anchored in the present. I support the work of my designer friends including Unif. And I always look closely at what’s happening especially during London Fashion Week. London’s fashion scene is and has always been interesting; the creators always imagine unique, surprising things.
What are your next projects?
I’ll be in two feature films that will come out soon: a Japanese and a Malaysian film production. I am also in the running for some international productions. Nothing is set in stone yet but I hope they will come to fruition. Right now I’m devoted to Office Kiko—an agency that I founded two years ago—and I’m working on a project called OK.
OK is not a business. I experiment with things, I collaborate with my friends or brands that I like, I organise parties... For example, last December I created a Christmas tree for a famous mall in Japan. I want OK to be a formal and informal space for young, creative people. Not only kids but for those who are looking for a place to express themselves.
PHOTOGRAPHY JENS LANGKJAER
STYLING VANESSA BELLUGEON
TEXT MATHILDE BERTHIER
MAKEUP ENY WHITEHEAD
HAIR TOBIAS SAGNIER
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT MARION DUCHAUSSOY
STYLING ASSISTANTS GABRIELA CAMBERO & LUCIA WEGIER