Model / Saila Kunikida
Being in the world of fashion, losing my identity
―――You used to live in France, right?
Yes, I moved to Japan from France 3 years ago. My mother is Japanese, but I didn't know too much about the culture of Japan until I came here so I felt a bit of culture shock. When I lived in Paris, speaking my mind was something that was normal, but in Japan I felt as though I was coming off a little too strong… I was worried about this difference. However, after deciding to be me, without losing sight of who I am, it has become much easier.
―――You learned fashion at the famous Studio Berceau. Please tell us how you got interested in fashion.
When I was in my teens, I was very self-conscious about being half Japanese. My mother is Japanese and my father is Italian, but we lived in France. I began to think to myself, “who am I”, “where did I come from”, and didn’t really feel like I belonged and started to lose confidence in myself. I often read fashion magazines at the time and noticed that I only saw very powerful and confident women in them. That was when I realized that fashion is more than just “clothing” and is also a tool for self-communication.
―――Do you think that because you found fashion, it changed you as a person?
Fashion made my life much easier and fun, it made me realize who I am. I realized through fashion that it doesn’t matter where I grew up or how I grew up, what kind of clothes I wore etc. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The natural you is being who you are, and that’s important
―――“Just being who you are” is not easy for Japanese women.
In Japan, teenage girls wear their make-up perfectly, right? I really love to use make-up so I understand how they feel. However, some Japanese women feel that they absolutely “have to wear make-up”. It’s sad to think that women feel like they “have to wear make-up” because it hides who they really are. Asian models working overseas value the importance of being who they are naturally. I think Japanese people are really beautiful and so I hope that they can learn to take pride in who they are without make-up.
―――What are your own beliefs with regards to fashion?
Be yourself. This is a very French way of thinking but the French value “being you” before judging you on what you are wearing. When I look at Japanese fashion magazines, I sometime feel that they are not being themselves, and are kind of a third person. I think you can be happier by wearing clothes that you like, and not by trying to be popular because you are wearing what’s in fashion.
―――Is there anything you are conscious about to keep you shining professionally with regards to your work?
I try not to lose my passion for my work. I don't want to get lost in my work, and lose my motivation. I don't want to get used to my job and I don't want it to feel like a job that I have to do. Ever since I came to Japan three years ago, I worked hard to respect the people I met at work, but in the beginning there were times that I began to lose sight of who I was because I got used to the environment. And that’s why I think it’s important to value who I am now.
―――Is there anything you want to achieve in the future, any dreams you have?
I dream about energy, emotion and fantasy. I want to make my own magazine one day. I want to make a magazine that focuses purely on the enjoyment of women. Of course I want to also get married one day and start a family, but that’s not my goal. I want to make my dreams come true. I don’t want to get married and just be a part of someone, I want to try lots of things.
Self-confidence is what make a woman beautiful
―――”Raw Beauty = without decoration, the natural beauty of women” is the theme of this brand. From your point of view, what is beauty?
I think inner beauty and confidence is beauty. For example, even if you don’t feel confident, you can be smart or have a sense of humor. If you remain positive, that is what shines. On the flip side, if you are beautiful on the outside, but negative on the inside, you aren’t seen as beautiful. That is why having energy is important.
―――That being said, is there a woman that comes to mind that you consider beautiful?
Unfortunately, I’ve never met her, but I would say my grandmother. I didn’t know until recently, but I heard that my grandfather left her for a younger woman. I think there are lots of women who would find it hard to recover from something like that, but my grandmother said “marriage is not a goal”, and got back on her feet to start a business and traveled the world. Back when they didn’t have Google or even a dictionary to depend on, she went to Paris! I really wanted to meet her and talk with her.
―――What is your favorite ARTIDA OUD item?
I really love jewelry and when I go shopping, I hear the jewelry say to me, “put me on”! (laughs) I like all ARTIDA OUD jewelry but in particular, I like simple things like the gold choker. It’s not too flashy and is an jewery I can wear it comfortably on any occasion.
―――Do you have a message to all of the hard working women of the world?
The world is a place where the power of women is still not recognized, but we don’t have to work hard like men. It’s important to just be you, woman-like and show the charm of raw beauty. Women are beautiful. We are not weak and are capable of doing anything.
Born in London in 1994. Daughter of a Japanese mother and Italian father. Raised in Paris and speaks French, English and Japanese. After graduating from Studio Berceau, she moved to Tokyo in 2014 to start working as a model. She makes regular appearances in many of the high-class fashion magazines and is the main visual model for Mitsukoshi Isetan. She is the granddaughter of novelist Doppo Kunikida.
MAKE-UP／MARIKO TAGAYASHI (SIGNO)
STYLIST／KOSEI MATSUDA (SIGNO)
MOVIE／AYAKA SATO（LIFELOG Inc.）
EDIT／RIDE MEDIA&DESIGN TEXT／MAHO MORITA