Interview with Jasmine Wu
Jasmine Wu was born in Japan in 1990 in Yokosuka city, south of Tokyo, where one of the biggest US military base is located.
Both her parents are Chinese. She has an older sister and other relatives living in China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, US, and Thailand.
Jasmines life bridges two cultures, Japanese and Chinese. She went to Chinese middle School in Yokohama (this school has both kindergarten and elementary school, so it’s not middle school), where one of the biggest China towns in any Asian countries is located. The inside of her house was Chinese but outside of the house appeared to others as Japanese.
After she graduated from her Chinese school she attended a Japanese high school. After graduation she went to the US then returned to Japan where she attended a Japanese University in Osaka.. Because of her international environment she was interested in going to the US to studying abroad.
Jasmine has always been very good at dancing and singing and enjoys performing in front of people. She learned to perform Chinese ethnic folk dances with Chinese friends in Chinatown. She also joined her high school dance team and danced Hip-hop, Reggae, Jazz, and Rock. She also joined a Brazilian Samba team with Brazilian girls in Japan when I started studying at University in Osaka.
Jasmine started modeling when she was 16 years old as a hair model at some hair salons in her hometown area. Her modeling pictures were shown in some magazine and posters. It was one of her big dream to be an actress, singer and dancer since when she was little. She had approached by some talent scouts when she was in middle school but her parents did not want her to pursue it as a career. “My dream seemed very far away from my future.”
Jasmine won the grand-prix of Queen of her university and placed second in the Miss Queen of Queens of Universities Pageant. This pageant is to determine the best of best queens of all the universities in Japan. She competed in the Miss Hong Kong pageant in 2010 but due to scheduling conflicts with the Shanghai EXPO she was unable to finish.
She model often while attending university although she sometimes found it very hard to balance studying and working.
Since she already could speak Japanese, English, and Chinese she began learning Spanish at University. Her interest in Latin American culture , people, way of thinking ,and of course Latin dance increased. Jasmine decided to move to Mexico to learn and experience the culture and people. In Japan she had worked as a reporter on a local TV program so decided to study journalism in the university in Monterrey, Mexico.
“I feel the life in Mexico is totally, completely different than the life in Japan, I am not working at all, and totally different environment, having so much fun and great experiences every day. Also I love people here. I am not sure about my future, I mean I am not cleared if I am going to keep my modeling job and working on TV, or start job hunting after I graduate (I have one semester left in Japan after this study abroad), but I am just enjoying every single moment now. We young people should try whatever things we want to and we can as much as possible, as long as we are healthy. Life is short.”
Jasmine, it is a great to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I find it fascinating that you grew up in a Chinese household in Japan. How was the mix of cultures growing up? Was it confusing?
It’s my pleasure to meet you too. Thanks for taking interest in me. For me, it wasn’t confusing; I knew the culture at home and outside of the house. Also my family has some Japanese culture too, so I think I have my own culture, sometimes I didn’t even know I was behaving in a Japanese way. But now, I really appreciate that I have this environment to understand both cultures, I like it very much.
When you went from Chinese school and attended Japanese high school were you accepted by the students there?
Yes. Because I had many Japanese friends since I went to Japanese school until I attended the Chinese school. So I knew about Japanese school life, and also I think I understand Japanese customs more than Chinese since I live in Japan. But actually, I had some difficulty of understanding the way of thinking and how they spend time on their school life. So I was always independent from everyone, while others were always gathering as some groups which is a big part of Japanese culture. I had part time job, was a member of dance team with high school friends and also had Chinese ethnic folklore dance team with overseas Chinese friends which always had many performance events. I was also learning piano at piano school, and was taking on modeling jobs as a high school student. Those were very, very busy days but I did all the things I wanted to do.
Your college days must have been very stressful. You worked a part time job, modeled, danced and had to complete your schoolwork. How were you able to handle the workload?
I don’t even know how I was being able to hand all the things. lol But I just kept going. It was very important to plan all the things in advance so my school life was very scheduled and I always carried my schedule book. Sometimes I felt like I was doing too much but when I found a good opportunity or chance I always wanted to try and catch it. That’s why I was working with many companies. I think in Japan it’s very common that university students go to study and work, even they work very hard.
Tell us a little about what you like about modeling?
Well, when I was always fascinated when I saw some beautiful models on magazine or in the movie, TV, etc.
Also since I was little I always liked to be in front of people and perform. I think I like expressing feelings. Expressing something that makes people smile and share. That’s why I was interested. I like trying myself.
I also like when everyone who is involved is trying to make the best work on photo shooting and make the best result. That makes me to do so as well, and even about school work, part-time job, this makes me get in a good cycle, It makes me to do my best on everything. As a model, I share my opinions with photographers and other staff, they are so creative. I like sharing good ideas and I like making one object included my idea. I think it’s one of the arts. I enjoy it very much, usually I keep in touch with people who I have worked and sometimes they ask me to another job.
Is there a certain type of modeling you prefer?
I would like to try any type of modeling, but I think I am good at wedding modeling. So far, I have tried wedding, Japanese kimono, Japanese wedding, fashion ,etc.
When you arrived in Mexico did you like it right away or did it take some time to adjust?
Well actually I liked it when I just arrived here, I didn’t have any difficulty of adjusting myself .People, the weather and the culture is great!
How about Mexican food? What have you tried there that you like? What do you dislike?
Yes, the food is the very important part for me.lol I have tried most of basic famous Mexican foods so far, and I like most of them.
I don’t have anything that I cannot eat or dislike, just I cannot eat a lot like Mexican people. I envy them.lol
There are a lot of spicy foods. It is one of the famous things about Mexico, and since I am already used to eat a lot of spicy Chinese food, I love putting spicy salsa on every food like the custom in Mexico. There are so many recipes of homemade foods especially because they have been influenced by the Indians(Natives).
Have you had the opportunity to do any traveling and have you seen any of the sights in Mexico?
Well, this semester I went to a lot of short trip, but I went to Guanajuato and Mexico city as a trip. I would love to go to beaches and more historical sight-seeing places next semester.
It was, at the time of this writing, Halloween. Did you celebrate Day of the Dead?
Yes, I spent that day at school since I had classes. But there were many Altares (The thing they celebrate with) in campus, it was very interesting for me and I like about the Mexican culture and its point of view.
Is there a large Asian student group where you are located?
Actually, no. There are some Asian international exchange students but there are very a few Asian students, and most of them are Korean. But there are many Mexican Sushi restaurant and Chinese restaurant. I think there are a lot of Asian people in south of Mexico andthey have many Asian communities.
You are almost done with your study abroad. Will you continue to study journalism in Japan or do you think your experiences in Mexico may have changed your interests?
I am not sure about it. But I am still learning so I would like to continue more and I am also interested in studying sociology and stage acting. I would like to learn more and do a better job of reporting on TV.
I know you have not decided but will you continue your modeling and dancing career as well?
Yes! Definitely! I think that’s my favorite job, and my favorite hobby! Let me know if you know some interesting job!