Private Eyes: Ayami Nakajo and the way she is. Meet a Japanese actress taking the leap to the limelight and remains true to herself.

This article was originally published in DEW Magazine #24 Street Issue Spring 2017.

Ayami Nakajo may look like an innocent Japanese school girl as we first met her at Nakano Station, but don’t be deceived. Fiery, passionate and charmed, she’s more about gut than glamour, and life experience over luxury. But what do we know about the 20-year-old Osaka girl? One of the most visible film stars in the business, the youngest Japanese actress who was invited to Chanel’s Haute Couture show last year, is actually a bit of mystery. She’s in the film industry’s “purgatory” right now, with two films this year – Anonymous Noise and Let’s Go, Jets! Google her and you’ll get a plenty kawaii picture of her, but she has no facebook page or instagram account, just a lot of imposter.

Ayami is one of the few actress and models who doesn’t document her private life on the internet. It’s impressive and seems to be doing the trick as she still has just that – a (relatively) private life. Sure we’ve spotted her in Nylon or i-D Japan, but aside from that spotlight, pieced together from nothing because she doesn’t give the media a helping hand with their scandalous stories, Ayami has retained her privacy.

Private Eyes: Ayami Nakajo and the Way She isDespite her unconventional lifestyle, she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything and feels true to her 20 years. Listening Chris Brown and Rihanna are the first thing she liked, watching Narnia and Harry Potter repeatedly, visiting vintage shops on holiday, or strolling around the amusement park with her friends, she’ll be excited as any other girls. In our cover shoot, with her impeccable social skills, she hits the street of Tokyo and reflect her thought on her favorite destination in the capital of Japan. “Shibuya has everything, a central place to gather for people from different countries. I love the mess in Shibuya crossing, like feeling lost once in a lifetime,” she says. But to ask Ayami Nakajo to pick favorite of her neighborhoods leaves the actress pleased. “I think every girl who comes to Tokyo should visit my house and neighborhood. I would like to show you the usual place where I live.

Ayami was born in Osaka, her father is British and her mother is Japanese. At the age of 15 she was scouted and later won the Miss Seventeen Grand Prix even though she didn’t believe it or realizes she’ll become a model in the first place. Like most actress, a 20-year-old Ayami’s career didn’t start in the rarefied world of movie industry’s most celebrated auteurs though. Instead, she got her break on television drama, Kuro no Jokyoshi. It may be an after-school tv series but it was the perfect platform for her to show casting directors that she can shine on screen.

Ayami has big goals and we don’t doubt for a second that she’ll achieve it. With a star that never stops rising, it seems her success has been charted and set. She’s the new youth: aware of the draining effect of social media and she doesn’t get caught up in trying to be cool and she is cool for exactly that reason. (Text Teuku Ajie)

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Cover story Ayami Nakajo in YELLY

Photography Raihei Okada

Styling Maya Watanabe

Hair Hirokazu Endo

Make-up Naomi Nishida at Kiki