Interview with Crazy Rich Asians' Sonoya Mizuno

Interview with Crazy Rich Asians' Sonoya Mizuno

One to watch

Text: Renée Batchelor

Newly-minted as the face of Shiseido makeup and a cast member of the highly anticipated Crazy Rich Asians, Sonoya Mizuno is officially on our radar

We've definitely gleaned on to the appeal of Sonoya Mizuno early on when the casting of Crazy Rich Asians was first announced. The Japanese-born, British-raised actress, model and dancer (she studied ballet), has a truly international face thanks to her Japanese, British and Argentinian parentage. But while we know her for her fine, bone structure and long, silky hair from her red carpet appearances, when we met her in Tokyo, for the launch of Shiseido's all-new makeup range we were surprised to come face to face a gamine beauty with a sensational, short crop. Asked when she made the chop, Mizuno said it was two weeks prior to the press event in early August and said, "My hair has been getting shorter over the past year, but when I first did it, it was scary." 

In person Mizuno, who has danced and acted in acclaimed films like Ex Machina and La La Land, and even appeared in Frank Ocean's 'Nikes' music video is poised and polished with a crisp British accent and a measured tone. Tall and lithe, she carries off her clothing with an effortless elegance. Asked what it meant to be working with Shiseido, a Japanese beauty brand with a 145-year history she said. "I am definitely excited to be working with them on makeup and skincare. I've always known that it is a well-established brand with a fusion of science and art that is so well-respected, not just in Japan, but all over the world. It's the kind of collaboration that I would look for — working with people or brands that have real integrity. It's an honour to be part of the family." Find out Mizuno's thoughts on Asian representaion and her favourites from the new makeup range.

What was the experience like on Crazy Rich Asians?
It was interesting working with so many Asian actors and being surrounded by a cast that was so different from each other, and who brought so many different qualities to the film. I am just keen to seen what the response is from audiences all over the world, and particularly from people of Asian descent. Hopefully they will have a particular response to it that has been missing from them for a long time.

Sonoya Mizuno at the Crazy Rich Asians premiere in Los Angeles

How did you learn to embrace your Japanese heritage?
I moved to England when I was two years old and was raised without my father, so I only ever experienced Western culture. Growing up as an Asian child in a Western school, I was bullied, so it wasn't always easy to embrace that part of myself. It's been a real journey, but as I've gotten older, I've spent time with my father and worked in Japan. I love the richness of the culture and it's a part of who I am. I want to represent Japan and show the world that its culture is infused into everything, including food, art, and makeup.

What is your personal definition of beauty?
I love the Japanese concept of wabi sabi [a philosophy focused on finding beauty in imperfection] because I find beauty in a person's truth. Everyone's truth is different and imperfect, but if you can be truthful, you can let people in, and in turn, they will let you in. The truest version of myself is when I'm performing or creating.

What are your thoughts on Asian representation in Hollywood or even British film?
It's more progressive than it used to be. There's definitely an accelerated change going on — although it is still slow. But compared to before, there is change. I will just keep working and pushing to cross boundaries and break through them. If there are enough Asian actors out there doing the same thing, then progress will be made.

Do you have any makeup or skincare tips to share with us from your time as a performer and model?
Remove all your makeup properly. You also need to use good quality makeup that still allows your skin to breathe. I have sensitive skin, so I am quite mindful of that.

Sonoya Mizuno filming the campaign

What's your go-to makeup products for everyday use?
I go for a natural look: A tinted moisturiser, a brow product and mascara. If I am going out then I do like to wear lipstick. I can't do it the way Patrick Ta (Shiseido's global colour artist who did her makeup before the interview) did it though — it's so perfect.

What was the experience filming the makeup campaign with Shiseido?
All of my projects with Shiseido have been creatively satisfying. They allow me to be expressive and appear as myself. It's been a collaboration and they've always been respectful and interested in the type of movement that I think is right for the campaign. On a couple of these sets that have been movement directors there as well, but it has always been a collaborative effort. 

Shiseido Makeup Minimalist WhippedPowder Blush in Sonoya

What are your top five products from this new Shiseido range?
I loved the Minimalist WhippedPowder Blush because it was named after me. 'Sonoya' was the hero shade and the one that I wore in the campaign. I also love it because although I don't really wear blusher, this feels really light and you can blend it easily, so I really love that quality about it. 

I love the ModernMatte Powder Lipstick and the cube-like shape of the tip. I would go for a classic, red shade like 'Exotic'. I love the ImperialLash MascaraInk in Sumi Black Waterproof. It has an amazing crown at the end of the wand so that you can really get into the corners. I always go for the waterproof formula, because you don't want smudged mascara when you're in a hot city like Tokyo or New York in the summer.

I also love the amazing Crystal GelGloss (unavailable in Singapore) that you can put on your lips, but is opthomologist-approved — you can apply it on your eyes as well to add sheen. [It's in the gels category and has a high-shine, glossy finish.] Finally, I love the Daiya Fude Face Duo brush. It's such a good shape and I like that it's multi-purpose. It's a beautiful piece as well — you want to have it on your dressing table.

Shiseido's new makeup range is available from 1 September 

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