Queer Eye‘s Japan Guide Kiko Mizuhara Is A Really, Really, Really Big Deal

Photo: Visual China Group/Getty Images.
The Fab Five added a sixth member for Queer Eye: We're In Japan! to help guide them around Tokyo. And Queer Eye is lucky that Kiko Mizuhara was free to take the job, because she is extremely famous in Japan. Like, huge. Which means she's pretty busy. Throughout the four episodes, Mizuhara acted as the Fab Five's guide in Tokyo, taking them to cool restaurants and clubs, helping them understand Japanese culture, and even stepping in to help out with some of the heroes.
In the first episode, she joined Tan during one of his fashion consults, which makes sense because that is Mizuhara's field. The model and actress has been modeling since she was 12 when she won a contest in Seventeen Japan. Soon she was working with brands like Marc Jacobs and Coach, according to Interview magazine. In 2018, Dior Beauty made her their first ever Asian ambassador. In early 2019, she had to deny rumors that she was dating Harry Styles. In May, The Cut called Mizuhara "Japan's most famous woman." She has five million Instagram followers — which is just above the Fab Five's most followed member, Jonathan Van Ness, who'd got 4.6 million.
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And when she's not modeling or acting (she's starred in a number of Japanese film and TV projects since 2010), she's running her fashion label Office Kiko. So yeah, she's kind of busy.
Her life sounds like a dream, but it hasn't always been easy for Mizuhara. On Queer Eye, she opened up about how her sense of fashion isn't always respected in Japanese society. She admitted that some people may make fun of her choices, like the high pigtails she was wearing that day, but that she enjoys fashion for herself and not to please others. She also explained that many women in Japan feel pressure to dress a certain way, but Mizuhara prioritizes fashion to please herself as a person — not just as a woman. She refuses to be boxed in by labels. 
It's taken work for Mizuhara to reach that point of self confidence. CNN reported that she struggled growing up because she's biracial. Her father is from Texas and her mother is Japanese from Korean descent. "When I went to school, I felt really embarrassed," she told CNN. "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." She added that she asked her dad not to come to her school so her classmates wouldn't find out he was American. She also dressed like the other kids to fit in. But it came the cost of stifling her true self.
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Mizuhara eventually found that self again through modeling. After moving to Tokyo at 16 she found a community that included other biracial models.
"I felt stronger. I started to explore my roots, to try to understand my parents," Mizuhara said to CNN. "Being original is sometimes difficult in Japan, but there are a lot of original people in Tokyo."
Mizuhara can now count herself as one of those people, and she helped the Queer Eye heroes in this mini season to be true to their original selves as well. She fits in so well with the Fab Five that it's honestly sad to have to say goodbye to her at the end of these four short episodes. But maybe, just maybe the show will return to Tokyo for a second season with Mizuhara — that is, as long as she can find room in her jam-packed schedule.
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