Signing to a model agency at only aged 13, Tokyo-born child-star turned-adult-muse Naomi Shimada is the Drew Barrymore of the fashion world. Now 29, she’s not just a rising plus-sized fashion icon but a body positive ambassador — or, as she puts it, an “accidental activist. If you sell the size why can’t you just shoot it?” she asks, discussing the hypocrisy of zero-sized model shoots that appear in supposedly liberally-minded fashion magazines. A regular columnist for InStyle, her column offers readers razor-sharp style tips. Her multi-faceted career, however, is blooming in all directions. “I always think that the best thing about me is that you can’t really box me into any category,” she smiles. “Which has been a gift and a curse in my industry.”
Plus-sized spokesperson and filmmaking maverick: Naomi Shimada leads the new fashion frontier.
This year, Shimada has been exploring a life’s ambition — filmmaking. Desperate to engage more with the “plus size” conversation, Shimada is hoping to use her platform to combine her passion for travel, culture and food with her desire to open up dialogues, especially among women. “[I’m] the female Anthony Bourdain,” she giggles. Her style is more Bourdain by way of guerilla auteur Parisian Vincent Moon though. “I want to make new travel films with social focuses, “ she says. “I want to make gentle reminders that we are all people.
“Being in this body and not caring about limiting what I could wear and eat, having a non-apologetic attitude to my very normal size just suddenly became a big deal,” she continues. “So I wanted to use this platform that I have — connecting with women is what is most important to me.” Currently stateside, Shimada is currently documenting the famous seven Padilha sisters, who brought the Brazilian wax to the heart of New York back in ‘87 and revolutionised much of Manhattan’s underbrush. “I was just fascinated how they achieved this kind of American dream in this very unconventional way.” Elsewhere, she stars in the newly launched artistic cooperative PET Collective, a collaborative space for passionate female creative professionals. For Naomi Shimada, the future’s posi.
Thanks to Green Lens Studios.