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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…

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