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“My name is unique. Using Japanese characters, you can’t read it ‘Hikari,’ you read it ‘Hoshi,’ which means star. So, I write my name ‘star’ but I read my name ‘Hikari’—it’s kind of hard to figure out. People call me different names, so sometimes I just say Hiki, what my mom calls me. My mom is American, but I was born and raised in Tokyo. I wasn’t a fashionable child—I just wore old stuff from my brothers and sisters. I didn’t think that I was going to have this job. My sister sometimes took me behind the scenes when she went to shoots, and I really looked up to her. I attended the Met Gala for the first time this year—I was so nervous! I can jump into that kind of stuff, and it’s exciting, but I have to have my roots.

When you grow up in Japan, people are very private—I think that’s the Japanese beauty. It’s in terms of emotions, but it’s reflected in the fashion, too. My grandmother’s so strict about staying elegant and not showing too much skin. I think the Japanese side of my family pulls me back in a good way—it’s a good balance. I can appreciate that, but I still love showing my legs. In Japan, fashion is very categorizing. When you go out in Roppongi, people are wearing the tight, body-conscious, mini-mini sexy stuff. If I want to have fun playing with my outfit, I go to Shinjuku Ni-chome. It’s a gay area, so the energy there is kind of unique. Something everyone loves to do is go to the Shibuya area—it has great vintage shops, and they’re open until 2AM. We go eat, and after midnight go there and buy stuff. I’m always a little bit tipsy, so it’s fun to shop! [Laughs]

I wear makeup every single day, so I try to take it off and let my skin detox when I can. Recently I like the magnetic masks—do you know those? You put the black stuff on your skin, and all your blackheads come out. I do that when I’m jet lagged. Cleansing is my most important thing. To cleanse I just use cotton pads and cleansing water, or Shiseido Gentle Cleanser. When I feel that my skin has a lot of dirt inside, I make a really beautiful foam using gauze and Perfect Whip from Shiseido. I like toner—I use so much. I dab Hydro Clarifying Lotion from Cle de Peau on a cotton pad, a lot of it, and do it two or three times. I’m more of a toner girl than a cream girl. I have oily skin, so toner is better for me because it hydrates but takes away the oil. I use Shiseido Benefiance Eye Cream, because I get puffy eyes. In the morning I try to use ice pads and cool it down. I use sunscreen, too. This is really good—it’s called Anessa. It’s waterproof, SPF 50, and it’s tinted. You just need a little bit, like one drop, because it covers so much.

Kanoko Mizuo cut my hair in New York. I have so much hair! I think people usually don’t want to cut my hair because I have so much of it. When I wake up in the morning, I have a mountain behind my head—it’s so crazy! Everyone was telling me that if I made it short it would be awful, because I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But she really did a good job. I usually just use Tsubaki oil, which is an oil from a Japanese flower. It’s really good for healthy hair, plus it calms it down. When I wake up, I just run it through, and it smooths it out. I get some highlights—my natural color is really black, so it becomes very heavy if I don’t.

My eyelashes are kind of curly—my sister told me she cut them when I was a child! She said she read somewhere that if you cut them when you’re young, they become long. I still curl them with a Shiseido lash curler, and the mascara I like is Integrate Curl—I use the waterproof version if I need it to last all night. For lips, I like Shiseido Rouge Rouge in Toffee Apple. It’s easy to use—it starts as a light red, and you can build it. Sometimes I like to just put a little and make it like a stain. I have a stick concealer with a brush at the end, the Shiseido Eye Zone Corrector, that I put under my eyes and around my nose. But really, if I just have this brown eyeshadow from Shiseido Integrate, I’m fine. This line is for young people, and sometimes they have it in the drugstore—price-wise it’s good. I put it all around my eyelid so it has definition, and on my cheekbones—I use it everywhere. This has a little bit of gray, so it kind of becomes a shadow. I have a lot of fragrances—I can’t decide on just one, yet. I’m still working on finding my signature smell, but I know I like clean scents. The one I brought is Burberry.

There’s an area in Shinjuku called Golden Gai, which is an old-school Japanese drinking spot with red lights—they shoot a lot there, so you’ve probably seen it. I usually drink Oolong-hai, which is tea with shochu. I love this about Japan—you can drink outside! I used to be a Roppongi girl—trying to be sexy, wearing full makeup, trying to meet people—but now I’ve changed how I go out. I keep it casual. I like to eat at an izakaya, which is a restaurant for small plates like edamame. Then, do you know what a snack is? It’s a typical Japanese bar with karaoke, and you sing in front of everyone. The music they play is from the ‘80s, and the best song to sing is ‘Dancing Hero’ by Yoko Oginome. If you go to a typical snack, no one looks sexy—it’s just a t-shirt and jeans, because you go after work. And the best late night food is Taiyaki—it’s a pancake-like thing that’s shaped like a fish and has sweet beans and soy milk inside. I live in Iwayama, and I like to go out around my hood. Sometimes I sleep until 12am and then go out—I can dance, I have that energy! But usually I just eat and get tipsy. When I go out and get tired, I just want to be in my bed ASAP.”

—as told to ITG

Hikari Mori photographed in New York by Tom Newton on May 9, 2018.

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