Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “VoCE” February 2014 issue (English translation)

Beauty is simple

“I always want to keep showing new aspects of me.”

“A tightly pulled-back bun and pink lips. That’s good for this winter.”

People often say I’m like a samurai. Even when I’m off from work, I’m constantly going at full-steam.

When I see Ms. Kitagawa, the phrase “Going with all your might” comes to mind. Despite it being so long since the last time I saw her in the studio, it was good to see her jumping right into things, saying, “I think this top best fits the character’s theme”, and “If she goes with a pink lip in this scene, then we’ve got to do something to balance that out with her hairstyle, right?” No matter what project she’s working on, she’s always the height of professionalism, and very conscious of the impact her influence makes on whatever character or cosmetic she’s promoting. In her own words: “I’m always serious about my work, because it’s important to me to do something well. Doing something just 70% of the way isn’t my style. I always give everything 120%, or else I just don’t feel right.” This time I came out to see her in her home to interview her for this feature in VoCE magazine. When I arrived I noticed that she had some back issues of VoCE magazine, which really touched me and the rest of our staff. She said, “Whenever I decide to do a magazine piece, I always research the magazine itself. So that means I read it, and I’ll watch any DVDs they’ve released. Whenever I’m at home I’m still always working. But I love working, so I don’t need to get away from work. Ever since I did my first audition back in high school I’ve been like this. Nothing’s changed.” I couldn’t believe it, how someone could work so hard as a model and actress since high school and not get burned out at all. But she continued on, “Sometimes I thought it would bother me, but so far this fast pace has suited me. Once I started to push forward, there was no way I could start going back. Once you work hard, and grow and thrive, you can never go back to being the old way you were, it’s too depressing. I always feel sorry for people who don’t know how to move forward and grow. I consider myself lucky to be where I am, and I think it’s too bad when other people struggle to grow. What worries me is when people don’t know what they need to do to grow, because then they can’t help themselves.”

Because she lives her life in such an intense way, people often say she’s “Like a samurai, because you’re so courageous” and that she’s a “chivalrous spirit.” During her role in the movie “I Want to Hold You – a True Story”, this part of her character really served her well. In this film she played the role of a heroine, a woman named Tsukasa, who becomes paraplegic due to an accident. Despite all of the difficulties facing her, she doesn’t give up and stays strong through all of her struggles. She falls in love with the character played by Ryo Nishikido, and the couple develops a natural chemistry on set. When I asked her about work on the set, she described her co-lead as very shy. “Even among women, I’ve always been bad at talking to men. But when I was talking with Mr. Nishikido, he was always very kind to me, and kept cheering me on. I think we even became friends. Now when we talk to each other, we just say, “Have you been keeping busy lately?” (laughs) And then from there we launch into more serious conversations, but really he’s a great person to be around, I have a very good impression of him.”

She says that through her work, she’s managed to overcome her social anxiety. That’s the kind of stoic personality I saw when I met up with the actress on set promoting a cosmetics line. “I’ve never been to a day spa – I’m not big into skin care treatments”, she admitted, adding that “I just wash my face with water every morning, and again in the evening with a little bit of gentle soap. Sometimes I use a mild lotion because my skin is very sensitive, but I don’t do much else. I prefer a chrysanthemum lotion, and I try to be mindful and make sure that I eat three healthy meals per day. I try to avoid fast food and even when I’m coming home at 2 a.m., I make it a point to keep on top of my usual routine. Sometimes I do slip, and pig out like a guy (laughs). I always make sure I have enough energy for my work. My main goal is to feel good!” If skin care can make you feel good too, then sign me up!

“I want to keep entertaining my fans, so I take on roles that are diverse to keep them interested. This time the characters I’m taking on roles for are new for me, they’re all different, and will allow me to show my fans that I am versatile. I don’t want to have any regrets!”

Keiko’s Simple Best

Wake-up to Noni Juice
“The taste is, frankly, intense, but it’s the best thing to get you up in the morning. It’s organic, and gives me the vigor to do my best every day. I chug it down every morning! This one is the best.”

How to make it full anyway
“So mild you can use it every day on sensitive skin without worry” – Free plus moisturizing lotion, 130 ml, retail ¥ 2940 by Kanebo Cosmetics

Minimizing the red in fair skin
“Minimize facial redness and contour the sides of your nose with this elegant concealer” – Coffret make-up concealer in medium beige. Retailing for ¥2940 by Kanebo Cosmetics

Make a gentle impression with your eyebrows
“To make a friendly impression, make your eyebrows look as soft as possible” – Kate Designing Eyebrow, NEX-5 ¥1260 by Kanebo Cosmetics

Open up your eyelids!
“An excellent, deep liner” – Kate Super Sharp Liner S (Spider) II, retailing at ¥1050 (February 1st 2014 limited release) by Kanebo Cosmetics

Inner lining pencil
“Line your eyes up!” – Coffret D’or pencil eyeliner, BK-32, retailing at ¥1260 (resellers: ¥1600) by Kanebo Cosmetics

(Original Japanese article written by Moyuru Sakai. Translated by Miss Dream under their “Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans)

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