By Stephy Chung, CNN
“It’s safe. Nobody will care about me, no guys will come up to you, and you can just do whatever you want,” she says, vogueing to camera on a shoot with CNN Style.
Avoiding attention may become increasingly difficult. Mizuhara’s star power as a model and actress in Asia is already cemented (she starred in the film adaption of Haruki Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood” and the Japanese action film “Attack on Titan”), and she’s becoming an increasingly familiar face internationally.
In recent years, she’s walked the runway for Jeremy Scott, been photographed by Karl Lagerfeld, and graced the pages of the world’s top fashion magazines.
“Because the Chinese market is really huge, being an Asian model is better now than before,” she says. “A lot of people know I’m well known in China, so they book me because of that.”
Struggles with identity
Beijing photographer Zack Zhang
, who regularly works with Mizuhara on campaign shoots and editorials for Elle China and Cosmopolitan China, describes her as “a girl on fire.”
“Kiko has her own style. Not everyone would appreciate her beauty, but she knows how to show her strength in front of the camera.”
But Mizuhara hasn’t always been so confident. Growing up in Kobe, in the Japanese countryside, she often struggled with her mixed-race identity. (Her father is from Texas, and her mother is a Japanese woman of Korean decent.)
“When I went to school, I felt really embarrassed,” she recalls. “My dad is American. He looked so different — blond hair, blue eyes, super tall. And I also didn’t want anyone to find out that my mom was Korean.”