Naomi Shimada, Model & Filmmaker


"I’ve been living like a nomad for the past three years or so. I have an apartment for the first time in a long time in London—right now, London feels like home. That's where I started modeling. That industry is so funny to me, because it really is only 5% percent of girls who are doing super well, and the rest are barely getting by. There’s never any stability. It’s really hard when the way you look is, you know, the thing. When paying your rent depends on how skinny you are, the desperation kicks in. And I didn’t recognize that person in myself anymore.

It got to a point where I was like, who are you? You need to stop. That was when Mark Fast had done his show in London and he used a few plus-sized girls in it, and I noticed that was the beginning of [plus-size models] being in the press. And instantly after I started working as a plus-size model, I felt the work was important. That’s the only way to normalize this, that's the only way for change to happen. Now we're talking about covering a range [of sizes]—how about the size 8s and the 10s and up? Why don’t we start somewhere realistic and tangible to a regular person? It works for advertising—they’ve done the research, women want to see it, they have the spending power… What is the problem? We're human beings, and as women, our bodies are changing all the time. I feel like there should be more than one representation of beauty. Whoever decided there was just one... That's not safe.

Beauty should be whatever you want it to be. It’s a personal tool that you should use exactly how you see fit—it’s your face and your body and your life. Don’t be judgmental! We’re all different, so as long as you’re doing your thing I don’t care. For me, it’s just something that normalizes my life. My routine is the one thing I can stick to no matter where I am. I wear makeup most days, and I mix this Korres Wild Rose CC Cream SPF 30 with my illuminating Suqqu Makeup Base. It's quite glowy. And then I also really love using this Liquid Summer Bronzer from Giorgio Armani. I kind of wish the packaging was easier to travel with since it’s like this big glass jar, but it's so good. It’s like the 'on holiday' version of me, which is what I want to be all the time. [Laughs] Island girl is my beauty vibe.

I’m a mascara hopper, but the Urban Decay Perversion is what I’m using right now. It’s a good brush and it’s not too clumpy. I don’t like a clumped lash. I am done with eyeliner because I don’t know how to do it very well. But it’s also because I wear a lot of color and my fashion is a bit intense so I feel like I always want my makeup to be more demure. I like the contrast, you know? I might wear a little metallic eyeshadow, though. I’m wearing this new makeup brand called 3ina Cosmetics from Spain, and I use their Metallic Eyeshadow in 506, just a swipe over the eye. And then Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Sultry. It’s really hydrating and it’s like one of those things I bought running into a drugstore on my way to a casting because I forgot a lipstick. This must be my sixth one, and I usually never finish products. I use it as chapstick and when I’m not wearing a lot of makeup it just looks like I’ve got something on. The Armani Lip Maestros, too... Those are like a religion to me.

I love this Sisley Paris Radiant Glow Express mask. It’s just an illuminating radiance mask, so it cleanses and moisturizes, but it pumps color into your cheeks. I used to always do it before castings or just as a refresh for the week. One of the brands I’ve been using recently is called Trilogy, it’s an organic brand from New Zealand, that’s really amazing. I use their Cleansing Gel and their Roseship Oil too. The Sisley Paris Black Rose Precious Facial Oil, however, is my favorite face oil. Not only does it hydrate really well, but it’s also got some luminosity to it. I really feel the elasticity in my face the next day. I’ve started to massage it into my face, which is like the grown-up way of doing it.

In general, I'm obsessed with oil. Instead of scent, I wear oils in the shower so they soak right in. I picked this orange blossom oil up in Marrakech and I’ll put it behind my ears and on my wrist. The Monoi Tiare Tiki Tahiti Oil absorbs really nicely. A lot of the times I’ll mix it with coconut oil as well so I’ll have a bit of scent plus a lot of moisture. Moisture is important—I feel like nobody ever talks about how bad chafing is for any girl my size. It’s big girl problems, like I can’t walk anymore. But no one’s ever made the right product. I use Gold Bond Friction Defense, this runner's stick, because nobody makes a cute one. How many women must suffer before we get the right product? I mean, come on!" [Laughs]

—as told to ITG

Naomi Shimada photographed by Tom Newton in New York on July 29, 2016.