What is your blended heritage?
My blended heritage is a mix of European, Japanese and Native American.
Where is your mother and father from?
My parents were both children of Air Force families. both of my grandfathers retired out of Mather Air Force Base in my hometown. So my mother was born on Tachikawa AFB in Japan. My maternal grandather was French-Canadian and European, he met my Japanese grandmother when he was stationed in Japan in the mid 1950s.
My father was born in Southern California in Lompoc. My paternal grandfather was the grandson of an Osage Nation Native American woman. My grandfather was very proud of his Native heritage. Apart from the Native portion of his bloodline, my father doesn’t know much for certain about his ethnic makeup. He is mostly a blend of Western European.
What do you love the most of your blended heritage?
Being mixed is a large part of my identity. As a model, I love that I’m often told that my look is unique. It gives me confidence that the high goals I’ve set for myself are achievable with this unique look and my hardworking spirit.
What is your response when people ask, “What are you?”
When people ask “What are you?”, I like to play the “What do you think I am?” guessing game. I’m always interested in how others perceive me before I give them my true answer. I enjoy seeing myself through their eyes. Most people’s first guess is that I’m Russian or Eastern European. People who are blended Asian, or who know a lot of blended Asians usually correctly ask if I’m blended Asian, but generally don’t know specifically what ethnicity I am until I tell them.
What was your experience as a blended kid?
Most of the time during childhood, I felt pretty normal. I grew up in a very ethnically diverse area in Sacramento, California. Mather Air Force Base, in my hometown brought a lot of blended families to this area. I did have some cultural exposure to things that weren’t as popular with american children. I remember having Sanrio character coloring books before Hello Kitty was a household name in America. I took Osenbei in my lunch box and I liked seaweed, which, to a group of elementary school children, was super icky.
What were you family dinners like?
Family dinners were mostly cooked by my mom, who is half Japanese, half Caucasian. There was almost always rice. My mom cooks things like rice pilaf, casseroles, spaghetti, chicken piccata. she also cooks japanese comfort foods like pork donburi. Dinners were often full of joking conversation. Sometimes we ate together at the table, and sometimes we sat together and ate while watching a movie; but growing up, we always ate dinner together as a family.
When it comes to your modeling career, have you experienced any positive or negative affects in being a blended model?
Thus far in my 2 years of modeling, I have had far more positive experiences from my blended heritage than negative. The only negative I can think of is being told that my look is more fashion appropriate, and not as marketable for commercial work. Being ethnically ambiguous seems to be en vogue in the fashion modelling world now. I hope that as I continue to improve my portfolio and find new, bigger opportunities, I will benefit from the unique look that my blended heritage gives me.
What positive message do you have for blended kids?
I’d like to tell other blended kids that the world is becoming more and more blended. It’s so fun to meet other mixed race people. It’s so cool to get multiple world perspectives, food influences, little superstitions, social norms and histories within your own family. You’ll grow up just a little more worldly than some of your peers. Don’t let anyone tell you that being blended isn’t awesome– it is.