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Friday, 13 November 2009

This is why CK fell in love with Jenny Shimizu

Jenny Shimizu totally owns it. Pure androgyny.


Thursday, 5 November 2009

Jenny Shimizu Turns Fashion On Its Ear

Date: 21 January 1994
Publication: AsianWeek
Author: Elisa Lee

She sprung up in last year's spring fashion collections in Milan, Paris and New York. She has appeared on the pages of Vogue, Elle, Allure, Mademoiselle and Harper's Bazaar. The former garage mechanic has four tattoos, cropped hair and a navel ring; they say she scared the usually fearless Gianni Versace.

Jenny Shimizu is the hottest Asian American model of the moment and no one knows quite what to make of her.

At 22, Shimizu, who sports a four-inch tattoo of a woman straddling a wrench on her right arm, was discovered at an L.A. nightclub by a casting director who asked her to be in a music video.

Since then, she has walked the runways for designers like Versace, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Anna Sui and Calvin Klein and been photographed by Steven Meisel, Michael Comte, Wayne Maser, Walter Chin and Bruce Weber. She has been spotted around town with Madonna, whom she calls a friend.

Shimizu's popularity has been credited in some part to recent modeling trends favoring "anti-models" like Calvin Klein model Kate Moss, and tattooed, shaved-head model Eve Salvain. "I think it's society and the fashion world getting real," said Shimizu, who at one time swore she would never wear a dress.

She still doesn't wear dresses off the runway, but has come a long way since her Milan runway debut, where she showed up wearing leather biker trousers and a Harley-Davidson T-shirt. "I wanted to quit and jump off the stage," said Shimizu of her first experience.

But Shimizu persevered. "In the beginning I took everything very personally, but you can't do that. You're basically a hanger," said Shimizu whose runway walks are now characterised by an irrepressible personality that her agents forewarn most designers about.

"I have a strong personality and I can't stifle it...sometimes you feed off the energy [of the audience] and get energy from it. I get a kind of attitude. It's only fashion," said Shimizu, who reportedly broke into an embarrassed smile when sent down the runway in a baby- doll dress by one New York designer.

For a woman who grew up wanting to be a cowboy (until she discovered motorcycles), modeling was an unexpected life-change. "I never used to walk around thinking I was pretty. This has done a lot for my confidence," said Shimizu, who went to trade school rather than college.

"The hardest part was feeling comfortable in women's clothes," said Shimizu, who said her agency, Women Model Management in New York, has been very supportive. "The best thing is that I've never been pressured to change my look...Modelling is like an act, a disguise. It's fun for me," said Shimizu.

Fixing motorcycles and cars,said the self-described tomboy, has been a passion since she got her first bike, a `71 Triumph. "It's a physical labour that makes me feel full, and I like getting dirty," said Shimizu. She hopes to save her money and open her own garage someday.

Shimizu finds the biggest difference between the world of the garage and the fashion runway to be the money. "I got to buy my Mom and Dad really nice Christmas presents," said Shimizu, who said modeling is harder work than she thought.

"I think all the models that get paid all the money deserve it. It' s mentally and physically abusing," said Shimizu.

In the world of fashion, Shimizu is the rare Asian American to break the ranks of anonymous pretty faces and become a hot name.

In a multicultural fashion trend, which usually features Eurasian models with vaguely ethnic qualities, Shimizu's clearly defined Asian features, along with her tough image, are helping to change some of the typical standards of American beauty.

"Some women are threatened by her. I've spoken to some girls who are models and they say 'I don't get it,'" said Rosanna (no last name), the L.A. casting agent who discovered her, in an article in New York Newsday.

"I know certain designers who won't use ethnic models," said Shimizu, who nonetheless said that most, especially Calvin Klein have been very open-minded. "Every ethnicity is beautiful. The public is demanding people they can identify with," she said.

"Your roots lie deep. It's like don't fuck with Asians," said Shimizu, who finds herself surprised at being looked up to. "The weird thing is being a role model. I've been thrown into that position and it' s great."

Shimizu is enjoying her new-found popularity for as long as it lasts. "I plan on staying until they kick me out, although I don't plan on being here until 40."

Friday, 30 October 2009

Jenny Shimizu marries Rebecca Loos to protest against anti-gay marriage laws

Would you consider getting married for real?

RL: Yes I’d marry for real, but only if I find the person I want to share the rest of my life with. It’s a commitment to be taken very seriously. That’s what makes it so special.

JS:You know, that’s a hard one. Either we get the same laws as heterosexual couples, or I don’t want it at all. But I’d like to settle down and get married. I feel like, as gay people, we date each other and being girlfriends has always been enough for me, but I’m not sure. It might be one of those hetero luxuries, and we jump right in on it. With my girlfriends I’ve always felt committed without needing marriage.

Read the full article at DivaMag


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Tattooed Lady Is Hottest Model Around

Date: Unknown  
Publication: Unknown  
Author: Liz Smith 

The most sought-after fashion model in the world right now is an auto mechanic with an 8-inch tattoo on her right biceps. No one in the fashion racket can quite remember a phenomenon like Jenny Shimizu. Five months ago, she was taking apart Ford engines in California for a living. Last week, Jenny, 23, was the rage of Paris after modeling new fall fashions for designers Jean-Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler and Gianni Versace.

"She's definitely not mainstream," says Stuart Cameron of Women, the renegade modeling agency that represents Shimizu (as well as starving Calvin Klein model Kate Moss and Donald Trump date-for-a-minute Carla Bruni). Jenny's trademark is her huge tattoo of a woman with her legs wrapped around a crescent wrench. Oh, and it' s real. So are the three others she has - a purple spark plug on her forearm, a burning cross on the back of her neck and a line of Japanese characters slithering down her left shoulder blade (translation: "And she goes").

Overnight, she is also the best known Asian woman in the modeling game, says an editor at Elle, which features Shimizu in a six-page fashion spread this month. You can decide for yourself what all this means. Is there a bathing-suit calendar waiting for her? An exercise tape? An infomercial for Mustang tune-up kits?


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Models Without Makeup

When it comes to models without makeup, I personally think JS still comes out tops. Project Runway fashion designer Santino Rice himself says Jenny Shimizu is 'one of the most natural beauties' he's ever met in person.

On a totally unrelated note - Amber Valletta sans makeup looks A LOT like Jude Law, no?

click on the post title for the link

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Video of the day: Julie Goldman's Celesbian Interviews

click here to watch Julie Goldman's Celesbian Interviews: Jenny Shimizu
via Logo Online

"The model and actress Jenny Shimizu reveals shocking truths to Julie! Her mother was a star on Laverne & Shirley! She likes to be called "Jenny Lynn!" And she reveals the trade secrets of the modeling world. (Hint: Cocaine.)"

Monday, 31 August 2009

Photo of the day: Vogue Singapore

Jenny Shimizu on the cover of Vogue Singapore
via MG Designs' Flickr

Agency at the time: Elite
Magazine Cover: Vogue Australia/Singapore, October 1994
Photographer: Unknown

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Jenny Shimizu: the Anti-Model Model Hottest Biker on the Runway

Date: 8 December 1993
Publication: Newsday pp63
Author: Frank DeCaro

KEYWORD HIT SHE WAS DISCOVERED getting off her 1971 Triumph motorcycle, helmet in hand, outside a trendy Los Angeles nightclub whose unprintable name is what Mother used to call "the F-word." And, in 18 months, she has become, if not the hottest face in fashion, then the most talked about.

But it's no wonder Jenny Shimizu has riveted the style world - I mean, how many fashion models do you know who are better at shop class than at shopping? At 22, this former garage mechanic - that's right, garage mechanic - with an angelic face and multi-tattooed and pierced body has graced the pages of Allure, Elle, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle and both the French and Italian editions of Glamour. She has walked international catwalks - actually, stomped is more like it - for such designers as Gianni Versace, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Anna Sui and Calvin Klein; been photographed by Steven Meisel, Michel Comte, Wayne Maser and, for a Banana Republic ad, Bruce Weber; done music videos for Neneh Cherry and Terrence Trent D'Arby. They say she's hanging with Madonna now, too. "It's like eating at McDonald's one day and then eating at some incredible restaurant the next day, for no reason at all," Shimizu says of her rise from grease-monkey obscurity to sought-after fashion model.

But there are plenty of reasons for her success, observers say. She's androgynous at a time when the tough-tender thing is all the rage. She's a Japanese-American in a fashion age when ethnicity is a big asset way beyond the United Colors of Benetton. In fact, Shimizu is one of the first Asian models to transcend pretty-face status and become a name-to-know. Most of all, she's everything other models aren't. An "anti-model," some have called her. That is, she's a fashion model who isn't too, well, model-y. How '90s! What this means is that photographs of Shimizu convey a certain honesty, and her down-to-earth quality complements the fashions of the day. "My attitude is here I am, this is what you get, take it or leave it," Shimizu says. Many are taking it. In the December issue of Allure, the 5-foot-7 model is featured in a long black wig in a layout on rugged beauty and Western clothes.

Elle magazine, which featured six pages of Shimizu last November, has photographed her in clothes from the Paris spring collections for next February's edition. They shot her this past weekend for a possible spread in the March issue, too. Shimizu's agents would like to believe that their client's real-life, rough-and-tumble exterior has inspired these flights of photographic fancy. Maybe it has.

"She's Asian, which is different than this whole English craze," says her agent Paul Rowland of Women Model Management, the Soho-based agency that also handles models Kate Moss and Carla Bruni. "She's a strong personality and comfortable with who she is. She's kind of the antithesis of what we think a model should be." Shimizu's posture is terribly round-shouldered, her hair is boyishly short and her tattoos are mighty big - all four of them. (She has a woman straddling a wrench from her right shoulder to her elbow, a spark plug on her left forearm, a cross on the back of her neck, and Japanese characters reading "and she goes... " on her left shoulder.)

Certainly, Shimizu looks like she could take out a fleet of Moss-like waifs with one tattooed arm tied behind her tattooed back. But that' s her look, not her style. "She's almost timid, really," says Stuart Cameron of Women Model Management. Calling herself a "free-spirit," the Los Angeles-bred Shimizu says she was "always a tomboy" and "always felt the freedom that boys have." Her "guardian angel" Rosanna (no last name), the L.A. casting agent who discovered her, describes Shimizu as having "no fear of doing anything at all. She just does whatever she wants to." She has always been forthright. In a March 15, 1992, L.A. Times story entitled "Lipstick Liberation" - one that her New York handlers would no doubt like to keep buried - Shimizu was dubbed a "lezbopunk bike-dyke," and told the interviewer "I'm all for sexual freedom: S&M, bondage, dancing half-naked. I just think it's great."

Asked if she was picked on as a kid for being different, Shimizu remembers only one instance and it had to do with her not being herself: When she was 10, her mother made her perm her hair, which then was long. Growing up, she says the neighborhood kids "always thought I was this little crazy girl who'd do anything. My exterior is tough. But I'm really a nice person." That tough-but-tender makeup comes from Shimizu's regular-girl California upbringing.

The daughter of a retired pharmacist father - her mother worked with her father at the store - Shimizu went to trade school rather than college, and moved into her own place in East Hollywood as soon as she was old enough. "I've always been able to work with my hands and with machines. I'm very much a blue-collar thinker. I always felt the harder you worked physically, the more stimulated you were mentally." Shimizu never realised modeling would be hard work, though. But now, she says, "mentally and physically you're going 24 hours a day. It's a job." "When she walks down the runway, she's different from the other girls," says Jennifer Berry, senior bookings editor for the American edition of Elle magazine. "She has a sense of humour about the whole thing. She's excited about being in the business, but she doesn't seem to take the whole thing too seriously. That's where her appeal is."

Not everyone understands that special quality, though. "Some women are threatened by her," Rosanna says. "I've spoken to some girls who are models and they say 'I don't get it.' " Polly Mellen, Allure magazine's creative director, calls Shimizu "the total crossover of boy-girl with more boy than girl," which makes her a model who challenges not only convention, but traditional images of women. When one New York designer sent Shimizu down the runway in a baby-doll dress, for instance, Shimizu broke into a slightly embarrassed smile before the photographers assembled at the end of the runway.

"Jenny knows there's something ludicrous about it because it's so away from her image," Mellen says. When she was in Europe for the ready-to-wear shows last October, Shimizu says she missed New York hot dogs most. In her six months here, she says she has only just begun to take in the city. "I've been to Coney Island, the aquarium. I haven't been to Central Park yet." Last summer, she did manage to fit in a visit to Wigstock, the outdoor dragfest in the East Village neighbourhood that has become her home, "but only for about an hour."

In her spare time, she continues to skateboard and motorcycle, watches "Beavis and Butt-head" ("It rules," she says), wears Red Wing biker boots, and listens to that former Sugarcubes singer called Bjork a lot. She was reading "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" the day we met. The biggest change in her life since she began modeling, she says, is that she opened a savings account. She is not a shopper.

Asked which one of "Charlie's Angels" she'd be, Shimizu says " Oh, Sabrina, naturally." It's no surprise she'd pick the tough, smart brunette that Kate Jackson played. As for her goals in the fashion business, like which shows she hopes to do next season, Shimizu doesn' t know. She envisions herself racing bikes and owning a garage five years from now, not making exercise videos.

"My life has been a series of black and white, complete jumps into space. It has no set path," she says. "I don't know that much about fashion, so I can't really pick out one show. But Chanel would have been good, just for my mother." Thinking about runways and her future on them, Shimizu says "I'd like to see runways get more creative. I had dreams of this roller derby type thing, but on skateboards, and ... "

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Video of the Day: Ring My Bell

Mei Melançon Jenny Shimizu Harry Kim @ Eric Nakamura's

"That's Mei Melancon, aka Psylocke from X-Men and model Jenny Shimizu comparing Blackberry notes in my kitchen. Jenny Shimizu is on the cover of GR10 and she's on Make Me a Supermodel on Bravo. A superhero and a supermodel in my house at the same time. A strange day."

via Eric Nakamura
Publisher & Editor of Giant Robot

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Photo of the day: by Michael Crook

photo by Michael Crook
via Roxy Lee

Who would you trade places with for one day?
Valentino Rossi. He's the #1 Moto GP racer in the world. It would be a dream to ride his bike around the track in Italy for a day...

What is the most important thing a woman has taught YOU? Who was that?
"To get modern." Advice given by Susi Kenna, my girlfriend.

Name one thing you'll do in the next six months that you've never done before.
Be a judge on Bravo's Make Me a Supermodel.

read the rest of the interview on

Sunday, 23 August 2009

A Radical Beauty

Date: 30 September 1995
Publication: A. Magazine
Author: Angelo Ragaza

On the streets of New York, supermodel sightings are a common occurrence. But seeing the paper goddesses in the flesh -- hair dishevelled, duffel bag in tow, hailing a cab to the next booking -- is almost always an anticlimactic experience.

Jenny Shimizu, on the other hand, does not disappoint. The buzz cut, the tattoos, and the killer cheekbones are all accounted for. She looks a little smaller than her pictures, perhaps, but that's a common symptom of ubiquity.

Nevertheless, something is different. Her voice is surprisingly light in pitch, soft, and -- dare I say it? -- feminine. And then, watching her work for the camera, there's another surprise, not that you'd know it from the pictures that are published: Jenny smiles. A lot.

Shimizu's parents, second-generation Japanese Americans, were a little hesitant about her embarking on a modelling career. "My parents were very worried about me going to New York and getting messed up in the drug scene," she recalls, "because they read all these horrible things about models. But it's not like that." Shimizu says they're still a little baffled by her success. "My mother always called me `Funny Face' since I was a little kid," she says. "I think she's still amazed when she sees pictures of me. To her, it's like a freak accident."

By now, Shimizu's "freak accident" is legend. Born in San Jose and raised in the small, central California town of Santa Maria, Shimizu really was a car mechanic. After attending trade school in Los Angeles, she worked as an apprentice at a Harley-Davidson customising shop. One night a stylist spotted her at a club, and she wound up sitting for a picture in Italian Vogue. Soon after that she got a phone call: Calvin Klein was at the Hollywood Bowl, and he wanted to see her. "I ended up riding my Triumph down there," Shimizu recalls, "and Kelly Klein just went crazy over me." The following week, Shimizu was in New York, and the rest is fashion history.

For single-handedly revolutionising the look of Asian womanhood, Shimizu has become a role model for a whole generation of young Asian women. But she never set out, and certainly never engineered her look, to do so. When the fashion world stumbled upon her, the crew cut, the tattoos, and the tool kit were already part of the package. "My walking down the street shatters all types of stereotypes," Shimizu says. "I never thought of submissive Asian women. I never let that stand in my way, because it wasn't a reality. It was a cartoon."

If there were a better way to describe how Shimizu has shattered stereotypes, it would be a line from Hamlet: To thine own self, be true. She has applied the same principle to her sexuality -- Shimizu was out as a lesbian before it became a cool thing for models to do. "I've always been very open about it," she says. "Just by being open about it, people accepted it." (Without naming names, she does have this to say to jackie-come-latelies in the modelling world: "I don't think that going with one girl in your lifetime really means that you're a lesbian.")

Although Shimizu admits that playing the exotic, aloof androgyne has gotten her far as a fashion icon, she's eager to show other facets of her personality. "I don't want to always be cast as the rebel or the bad guy," she says, "I'm trying to make sure people know that there's another side." Shimizu believes she's found a vehicle for that in acting. This year she landed her first film role, as Goldie in the screen adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates's Foxfire, which is slated for 1996 release.

Shimizu says she had little trouble identifying with Goldie, a troubled young Amerasian woman who lives with her abusive father, a Vietnam veteran, and whose unhappiness eventually drives her to drugs. "She feels very alienated," Shimizu says of her character. "She tries to find herself with the help of a few of her friends, and tries to come to terms with the reasons why she has this death wish." After a month of daily coaching, Shimizu felt confident enough to create Goldie' s character on her own. "Because the part was similar to when I was a teenager," she says. "Similar to the developing side of me, the crazy side." So far she's pleased with how the film depicts Goldie' s situation. "They didn't candy-coat anything," Shimizu says. "A lot of teenagers are going to relate to the movie. Not everybody picks the right choice and becomes the homecoming queen."

Shimizu has already lined up her next acting gig, a role in Gregg Araki's next movie, "Nowhere". But for now, she has no intention of leaving the modelling life. "Acting to me is more fulfilling, but modelling is a fun job," she says. "Why stop? I'm having a good time and making money."

Does she have any last words for the interview? "Yeah," she says, her brow suddenly furling. "Will my nipples show on the cover?"

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

So maybe "Make Me A Supermodel" is unfamiliar to you now...

..but it won't be for long, because Jenny Shimizu will be a judge this season.

Joining the cast of this mainstream show will bring Jenny into everyone's homes, not just those of her gay lady fans, which is great for the suburban housewives who crush out on Jackie Warner. Shimizu's always been out and proud as a model and has been active in the fight for gay marriage, as she once faux-tied the knot with Rebecca Loos on Power Lesbian UK.

Will Shimizu's judging expertise make you tune into the show when it airs again?

read the full article on

Also don't miss this other excellent article on After Ellen:
Jenny Shimizu at Full Throttle

Monday, 17 August 2009

Photo of the day: Santino Rice & Jenny Shimizu

" Ironically, Jenny Shimizu is one of the most natural beauties I've ever met in-person and supercool to boot! It was such a pleasure getting to know her throughout the day of shooting. We laughed, we cried... Jenny, you're the shit! "

Jenny Shimizu with fashion designer & Project Runway contestant Santino Rice, on RuPaul's Drag Race Episode 4

Saturday, 15 August 2009

People: How many models can listen to an engine and say "Hmmm... you've got a gasket leak" ?

Date: 8 November 1993
Publication: Time International pp55
Author: Emily Mitchell

JENNY SHIMIZU, 22, can, because until five months ago she was an auto mechanic in East Hollywood. The granddaughter of Japanese immigrants, she was a tomboy who went to trade school, learning all about carburetors and manifolds. "Guys thought of me as a grimy girl as fearless as they were," she says. Not always. After appearing in a music video, she is now the hottest model on the Paris-Milan runways. The lady astride a monkey wrench is only one of Shimizu's four tattoos -- all of them real. Her too.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Hell Bent for Leather, Riding High with Jenny Shimizu

Date: 26 January 2008
Publication: Arts & Culture
Author: Michele Fleury

It was nearing 2:00 am as I wandered into a Canal Street tattoo parlor circa 1995. I vividly remember noticing a (now infamous) photo of Jenny Shimizu sporting a tattoo of a woman riding a Snap-On wrench, which was featured prominently on the waiting room wall. Less than six months later, the CK1 ads released worldwide and Shimizu spent the next few years becoming a homo-household name.

Fast forward a decade or so later; I’m living in LA and filming a reality show called Curl Girls when Shimizu re-enters my life. My cast mate, Vanessa, and I knew of Shimizu from the east side scene and decided she would be a good emcee for our surf contest featured in our final episode. She might not seem the obvious choice to an outsider, but we both knew the person behind the image portrayed in the tabloids. Shimizu is smart, engaging, witty and she never takes herself very seriously.

Oh right, and she’s HOT. (That always helps get lesbians up and out to the beach early on a Saturday morning.) But most importantly, and unbeknownst to most people, Shimizu is a surfer. She’s been out of the water since 2005 because of a motorcycle accident that broke her leg in 16 places. What better kind of rehab than to walk on the sand all day surrounded by hundreds of women? It wasn’t a tough sell.

As expected, she kept the banter and surf speak humming while the production crew struggled to keep up. As the sun set on our last day of filming, Shimizu cemented her place as honorary member of our surf crew. Little did I know that Shimizu had quite a crew of her own…

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Photo of the day: 6th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards & New York Gala

via zimbio

TV personality Jenny Shimizu attends the 6th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards at Gotham Hall on June 1, 2009 in New York City.
(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America)

Friday, 7 August 2009

Can it be that a tattooed grease monkey biker chick is fashion's model of the moment?

Source - Style: Popular Mechanic
Date: 2 May 1994
Publication: People pp126
Author: Janice Min Allison Lynn in New York City

AT DESIGNER ANNA SUI'S SHOW IN NEW YORK CITY last November, former garage mechanic Jenny Shimizu held the audience rapt: With enough tattoos for a sailor or two, the androgynous newcomer stomped down the catwalk, smirking like a spoiled schoolgirl in the frilliest of Sui's baby-doll smocks. "She was the perfect little girl from hell," remembers Sui admiringly. "She's beautiful, with a bad-girl attitude."

Currently the only Asian-American in supermodel contention, the 5 ft. 7 in. beauty was discovered by a television casting agent only 10 months ago as she roared up to L.A.'s hip Club Fuck astride her 1971 Triumph motorcycle. That chance meeting led to a quick gig in an En Vogue video, followed by fashion spreads in Vogue, Glamour and Elle, among others, and ads for Banana Republic and Anne Klein. "I was really into being a mechanic, being happy just collecting bikes," says Shimizu, 26, who remains refreshingly unimpressed by all the fuss. "And now I'm traveling places I've never been and drinking Evian."

She's also meeting new people. Take Madonna (Shimizu denies rumours the two are romantically involved), whom Shimizu met while filming a small part in her 'Rain' video. "We go to movies or dinner or to clubs," says Jenny. "She's a superstar, with lots of money, but she doesn't flaunt it. When we're hanging out somewhere, you know, she doesn't pick up the bill all the time." As for Calvin Klein, who tapped Shimizu for his Hollywood Bowl fashion spectacular last June: "I was so nervous, when he came over I couldn't speak. I'm like kind of a hick. So, when he said, 'Oh, Jenny, nice to meet you,' all I could do is repeat what he said, 'Oh, Calvin, nice to meet you.' "

Though she may be the haute hick of the moment, Shimizu, in fact, spurns the couture lifestyle. Her diet consists of Big Macs and TV dinners, and her duds are strictly Army-Navy surplus. Her favourite prank is to leave "You suck" messages on friends' answering machines courtesy of her talking Beavis & Butt-head toy. As for those tattoos, she is thinking about adding to her family of four, which includes a blue flaming spark plug on her left forearm (done by a tattoo artist in exchange for car repairs) and a curvy blonde straddling an eight-inch wrench on her right triceps. "I live my life the way I want to," says Shimizu. "My tattoos aren't for anyone but me. People don't have to look at them, right?"

Shimizu's bad-girl bravado came naturally from growing up as a tomboy in Santa Maria, Calif. The youngest of two daughters born to Keido Shimizu, a pharmacist, and his wife, June, Shimizu raced motocross with the local boys while her sister Connie, now 28 and a secretary, played house. "My sister had this baking set and stuffed animals, and all the neighbourhood girls would come over and play Barbie, and I would just be like, 'Uhhhh, get me out of here,' " Shimizu remembers.

Dropping out of Cal State Northridge in her sophomore year, Shimizu moved to L.A. before deciding to enroll in auto-mechanic trade school in 1992. "I always loved bikes, loved motorcycles and loved getting dirty," says Shimizu, who repaired cars in an L.A. garage for 2 1/2 months before being discovered. "I was, for a Japanese-American girl, very much a troublemaker in my family's eyes. My mom wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer."

These days the elder Shimizus are nothing but proud of their offbeat offspring, whose new home is a spacious loft in New York City's East Village and furnished with not much more than a good stereo and a bed. "It's the nicest place I've ever lived in," says Shimizu. "My friends come over, and we sit around and draw huge pictures and tack them on the wall."

In L.A., Shimizu and her old pals prefer to cruise for used-car parts in her '54 Ford pickup. Though she is currently hot as a piston, Shimizu is savvy enough to know that the beauty business regularly trades in its own used models. For the future, she is socking away the bulk of her pay (recent take for a one-day Versace shoot: $5,000) to open her own auto-body shop. "Someplace where me and my friends could work on our bikes and hang out," says Jenny. But right now, she concedes, "modeling is a nice life. And as a job, it's easier than putting gaskets on cars."

Saturday, 1 August 2009

"Make Me Jenny Shimizu" - interview with Asiance Magazine

Jenny Shimizu entered the modeling world in 1993 after being discovered riding her Triumph motorcycle by Kelly and Calvin Klein. Once settled in New York, she quickly scored work on the runway, walking in shows for Donna Karan, Yohji Yamamoto, Versace, Prada, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Shimizu went on to model in numerous ad campaigns and countless editorials. She has worked with some of the industry's top photographers, including Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Gilles Bensimon, and Mario Testino.

Shimizu has appeared in a number of television shows, including America's Next Top Model, E!'s Sexiest Top Models, and is currently a series regular on Dante's Cove.

Shimizu is an incredible mechanic and can be found restoring Bentleys, Rolls Royces and Cadillacs from the 1940's, 50's 60's. She is also an avid motorcycle rider with an affinity and love for Ducati's.

ASIANCE: How did you become a judge on Bravo TV's Make Me a Supermodel

Jenny: Wow. It’s pretty basic. I received a phone call. They asked me to do a screen test for “A show”, a competition show. They didn’t tell me what it was for. I basically shot a screen test in Los Angeles and three weeks later they asked me if I would be a judge on Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel. Quick standard nothing exciting!

ASIANCE: What do you think are some differences in the modeling industry today and when you were really doing it?

Jenny: The major difference is that all the girls and agents have cell phones. It’s like an invisible leash on all the young girls. I hung around with a few models from the ‘90’s and we thought, god it would never be quite like it was in the ‘90’s (modeling industry). It was very different than what it is now. We were sitting around talking about it and we came to the conclusion that it is cell phones now. It’s definitely better for the agencies and the girls working. It’s good for discipline. They know where you are.

ASIANCE: Are the models more disciplined now you think?

Jenny: Oh definitely. I went out with a couple of the Victoria Secret girls. They all go to the gym. Eat really well. Go to all their auditions. They are just a really different breed. I think people just started being more professional at an earlier age, whereas back then we were all just kids, big city, traveling together, and doing all sorts of things.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Photo of the day: Jenny Shimizu for Shiseido

sugar & spice: Grrrls on film (excerpt)

Date: 31 March 1997
Publication: A. Magazine
Author: Unknown

On Jenny Shimizu as Goldie in Foxfire:

Look, CK girl Jenny Shimizu is always going to be a lesbian. Hiding it would not work. She just lets it all out: cropped hair, wide leather belt, softened old jeans, and shit-kicker boots. So even though she doesn't actually say "I'm a lesbian" in this feminist Breakfast Club movie about five high school girls coming together in an unlikely bonding, she is.

The cast of characters, a slut, an achiever, a tough wanderer, a druggie (Jenny), and a geek all get together to beat up the science teacher trying to cop a feel from his female students, to hassle the football boy hoping to rape the achiever, and to kidnap an abusive father. Sounds like a lesbian movie to me.

lesbian realness quotient: 8

sex scene: none. but romance all over the place.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Photo of the day: by Emily Shur

Jenny Shimizu Joins 'Make Me A Supermodel'

via Just Jared

Former model Jenny Shimizu is returning to the spotlight as a judge on Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel. Here’s what the 41-year-old had to say to Life & Style:

You quit modeling to become a mechanic. Why come back now?

Being a mechanic is really my passion, and I’ll always do that. But I actually love fashion and modeling too. I like the fact that I came from a different place: I’m Japanese, I’m small, I have tattoos, I’m a lesbian. Shows like this offer a huge amount of possibility and opportunity.

Are you surprised that Angelina now has kids and is with a man?

No. Gender never really plays an issue with someone like her who’s attractive to everybody. And Angelina was always going to adopt a lot of kids. She told me she was going to, and she’s a woman of her word.

Read the rest of the interview on Just Jared

Monday, 27 July 2009

Photo of the day: Jenny in her apartment

Jenny Shimizu: A Model Mechanic

Date: 24 February 1994
Publication: USA Today pp02
Author: Elizabeth Snead

NEW YORK - The model of the moment is a garage mechanic with a pierced navel and tattoos, who wouldn't be caught dead in a dress off the runway. Her name is Jenny Shimizu. Her tattoos include a naked woman astride a wrench on one arm, a spark plug on the other, a burning cross on the back of her neck and Japanese characters on her shoulder that translate: And she goes. An unlikely fashion model? Not in today's cross-cultural climate where the androgynous punky "bad girl" is a logical step up the fad chain from those wan and winsome waifs.

The 5-foot, 6-inch Shimizu was discovered eight months ago hopping off her '71 Triumph motorcycle outside a trendy L.A. club. In weeks she was in a Banana Republic ad. Now her 26-year-old Asian face has been featured in Vogue, Elle, Allure and Harper's Bazaar, plus a spread in the March Mademoiselle.

Shimizu's parents are Japanese immigrants. Instead of college, she attended trade school and apprenticed at a Harley shop before working full time at an L.A. garage. For all her in-your-face appearance, in person Shimizu seems shy and down-to-earth. Yet she is "good friends" (she says with a knowing smile) with Madonna and sees her once a month despite their busy schedules. She's openly gay: "I've always been a tomboy," she says with a shrug. And she can be outspoken. Interviewed for a '92 Los Angeles Times story on "Lipstick Lesbians," she was dubbed a "lezbopunk bike-dyke" and said: "I'm all for sexual freedom: S&M, bondage, dancing half-naked. I just think it's great."

You think fashion models are ethereal goddesses who drink eight glasses of water a day, get eight hours of sleep a night and eat healthy food? Uh uh, says Shimizu: "It's really amazing. I'll be out in clubs with these people smoking and drinking till 3 in the morning and they look great in the studio at 7 a.m." Her beauty secret? "Excedrin PM before I go to bed."

She lives for McDonalds, loves Beavis and Butt-head and listens to Bjork (formerly of the Sugarcubes). Now a fave of fashion designers Calvin Klein, Anna Sui, Jean- Paul Gaultier and Gianni Versace, she did her first runway show last fall in Milan: "I was terrified. Everyone was staring at me, and it felt like I had no skin. I wanted to just run out of there."

She stayed. Now she's comfortable on the catwalk. Unlike the old stylised runway sashay, Shimizu saunters with a sly glance and sheepish grin. Designer Gaultier says Shimizu represents the new femininity. "An angel face with a man's look - very tough." How does it feel to be fashionable and famous overnight? "Kate Moss (her pal) gave me the best advice," Shimizu says. "She told me, 'It's not about you.' " That helps her keep all the fuss in focus. In her spare time, she still works on her '54 Ford pickup. Fixing an engine isn't hard: "Guys like to pretend it's really complicated but it's not. There are only three things that can go wrong with an engine: fuel, fire or power." And what will she do with all the modeling money she's making? Open her own garage.