Now Casting: Kiko Arai


Kiko Arai is one to watch. With stunning Japanese features and cool-girl blunt bangs, the new model took the runway by surprise this past fall, debuting at Calvin Klein before walking for the likes of Givenchy, Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Paco Rabanne, to name a few. She may be new to fashion, but she’s a well-known name in her hometown of Osaka, Japan after competing for, and winning, Miss Japan in 2012. At 26, Arai is ten years older than many of her fellow models, and her maturity and poise help her to stand out among the throngs of teens and influencers at Fashion Week. CR caught up with Kiko to ask about her no-fuss beauty routine, working with Raf Simons, and competing for Miss Japan after her mother’s passing.

How did you get involved with Miss Japan?
I’m the youngest of three sisters. My oldest sister, Hisae, won Miss Japan in 2011, and after I saw her experience, she recommended that I enter. I did when I was 20 (right after my mother passed away) to try and establish a new world for myself. That’s why I really wanted to win.

Who do you look up to in the modeling industry?
My favorite model is Sui He. She is Chinese, and has really beautiful hair and skin. It’s not so easy to look like that, even if it seems like it, so I look up to her a lot. Soo Joo [Park] is in the same modeling agency as me, and I always get good motivation from her. She’s so cool, and has been modeling for a long time.

What was it like to walk for Calvin Klein?
It was amazing. Raf Simons is so kind, and I’m really excited to have walked with such a great team. It was a very, very fast show in New York. I was so happy.

How do you prepare for a job?
After I wash my face, I just put on a Japanese moisturizer. I don’t use acne medicine or anything harsh like that, only moisturizer.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I’m sporty. I played volleyball for six years and ultimate frisbee for two years in college. My father used to be a professional baseball player in Japan, so I’m very interested in the sports world.

What’s your favorite place in the world?
I just started working in New York this summer. Before this season, I was working in Europe, especially in Paris and London. Everything is so different in Europe. I am really excited to be here, and would love to live in New York. For relaxing, I think my favorite place to go is Singapore.


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