A fashion shoot was held this January at sculptor Kohei Nawa’s atelier Sandwich, located in Kyoto, Japan- with 17-year old Mona Matsuoka, most likely the busiest fashion model from Japan, and photographer Chikashi Suzuki. As for Nawa, he contributed a 4.8 m-high artwork imaged after Matsuoka.

After the shoot, Fashion Headline managed to get a quick interview with the young star Matsuoka.

“Joining the modeling agency Image and becoming the face for Isetan Shinjuku’s remodeling project were the biggest turning points in my career,” she told us.

“I met Kishin Shinoyama for the first time two years ago to shoot the visuals for Isetan’s remodeling. I must say that Mr. Shinoyama is a quirky man, but he does know how to bring out the best in women. He only takes a few photos per cut, so the shooting process is really quick. But when you look at the finished product, you know that he had everything worked out in his mind of what he was going to create.”

Matsuoka explained that work overseas increased after joining Image. As soon as she met the age requirement of 16, she made her dignified debut on the 2014 S/S international runway for brands such as Kenzo, Chanel and Miu Miu to name a few.

Like all other models, Matsuoka spent an entire month going from one audition/runway to another. As a professional model, she watches what she eats and opts for organic options whenever possible. She is very careful about keeping her skin moist as well. “I’ve started eating kale recently. I go to the Three Cafe in Aoyama for their salad which includes kale or shop at the farmer’s market for fresh vegetables to prepare at home,” she explained.

■Remaining Strong to Achieve Her Dreams

“Preparing for each fashion show requires a lot of effort,” she continues. Nearly 50 different looks are presented in a 15-min show. For each model, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure when walking the runway. “I tell myself that the people that I love are watching me, and this keeps me calm. For example, knowing that Anna Wintour and other famous editors and photographers are watching me, allows me to do my best.”

“I’ve been a fan of Kiko Mizuhara since I was a little girl. I also respect Charlotte Gainsbourg. I recently worked with Erika Sawajiri and instantly became her fan as well. Ms. Sawajiri is really warm, strong-willed and easy to get along with.”

“It’s all about taking on new challenges, encouraging myself to do better and not losing. Everything I do today leads to my future. I want to expand my possibilities,” Matsuoka said with a smile.