Japanese and Australian
Sharnie Fenn @sharniefenn
What is your blended heritage?
Half Japanese and half Australian.
Where are your mother and father from?
My mum is from Japan and my dad is from Australia.
What do you love the most of your blended heritage?
Being the product of two races means that you have the best of both worlds and cultures.
What is your response when people ask, “What are you?”
I just answer honestly. I’ve never liked getting asked this question if it was the first question someone would ask me, for example, before asking ‘What’s your name, how are you, etc.’ because nationality really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where someone is from to judge whether you want to get to know them.
But if it’s out of pure curiosity, I really have no problem getting asked this question.
What was your experience as a blended kid?
I think most mixed kids are bullied as children. For me, during primary school I was bullied a lot too about how I looked like and how I couldn’t quite fit in with the ‘Asian kids’ or the ‘Australian kids.’ But other than this, I think being mixed meant I was exposed to different life experiences than other children and I was able to use this for my own growth.
What were you family dinners like?
Family dinners were always a mix of different foods. We’d have Japanese one night, Western food the next, pizza, pasta, Mexican, Chinese, etc.
What positive message do you have for blended kids?
I think it’s really important for mixed kids to accept all of their ethnicities and be proud of them.
When I got into modelling, I was told that my ‘look’ wouldn’t sell in Australia. It was completely prejudicial but that’s just how it works here because the market is mainly for blonde, blue eyed and tanned girls.
I’m now an international model and currently in Bangkok, filming TV commercials for Suzuki and appearing in Netflix Shows like Tokyo Red and Altered Carbon. I hope this can motivate mixed kids to pursue their dreams despite what people might say to throw them off, because as long as you hold the passion, dreams are 100% achievable.
I Think it’s so important to learn to love all your cultures equally because it’s what sculpts you as a person. I was bullied as a kid for being Japanese and I hated being Japanese for so long but I’ve realised that it’s such a special part of me and I hope people come to this realization too, for those who haven’t already and struggle with self-acceptance and self-love. It’s so sad that kids have to be bullied to the point where they hate themselves, to the point where they hate their roots and their racial background. But it’s so important to ignore racism and rise beyond it because it is such an amazing thing to be a living breathing product of different heritages