Interview with Irish Kashima
Working as a fashion model has been a rewarding experience and I wish to continue my work in order to inspire others so that they follow their dreams as well. I am from The Philippines with a touch of Chinese ancestry. Relocating to Japan has really done wonders for me in terms of the talent and modeling world. I have been involved with many projects including commercials, runway events, educational photo sessions, and other artistic endeavors as well.
When I met Michel Machida of TheJEGroup in Japan, he signed me up to become a fashion model not only for the Japanese market but for the New York location as well. I have also worked with names like; Guillaume Tauveron from France in terms of consulting him on his modeling photo sessions in Japan as well as some of the best directors, producers, modeling agencies, photographers in Japan and from around the world. I am also the winner of the 2011 Central Casting Productions Model of June 2011 Modeling Search program.
My business background has enabled me to become a [big picture thinker] and I wanted to be involved in assisting others to become successful in terms of artistic projects. IrishStar Talent Brokers was born out of my desire to assist others to the top. Together, I thought, we all can enjoy success. IrishStar Talent Brokers is an online talent and brokerage agency located in Tokyo, Japan. We assist not only adults, but children as well, to become models, actors, as well as dancers and singers.
It is my dream to be involved with other creative people from around the world to create amazing artistic films, fashion shows, and events that people will always remember.
In the future, I will expand my modeling career to America as well as to Europe, It’s my dream to be internationally recognized whether it be for my artistic work or for projects that I am involved with.
Can you tell us a little about where you grew up and what you were like as a child?
I was born in the Philippines however soon moved to Japan with my family. Having lived in Japan enabled me to learn new things that other children back in the Philippines did not have the resources to. For example, my father sent me to acting and modeling schools at the age of 11 years old. I was a curious child and wanted to learn more and more about the world of art. I learned how to walk the runway and perform in front of a large audience. By the time I was 16 years old, I was ready to work with some of the best in child modeling and acting in plays and short films. As a child, I was eager to know more about the word stage. I was internationally exposed to so much because my father traveled so much around the world and I was able to travel with him. I especially liked New York City. By the age of 20, I and my father visited Broadway and took in many theatrical performances and musicals that I will never forget. As a child I was involved with almost all aspects of the arts to include acting, modeling, performing at events, and promotional venues.
Was modeling something you always wanted to do when you were younger?
In short, YES! At an early age, I think it was around the age of 9 or 10 years old, I saw a fashion show on television and could not believe the beauty of the clothing that the tall models were wearing. The first time I saw a modeling show, it hit me that [that’s] what I wanted to do. I wanted to be involved in what ever it was I was seeing. I was so young that I was not 100% what it was that I was seeing. In the Philippines, we do not see such tall beautiful women with such beautiful gowns, dresses, and shoes. So, Yes! I not only wanted but knew at a very early age that I was going to be a professional fashion model. Thanks to my father, he helped me to see a clear image of what I could be if I worked hard and trained to become something more that what I was at the time. A professional talent.
How did you get your first modeling assignment? What was it like? Were you nervous?
Was I nervous? YES! Anyone would be. The first modeling assignment I experienced was incredibly not what I expected in terms of how I obtain the first modeling assignment of my career. You see, I had gone to acting and modeling school in Japan and thought my first real paid modeling assignment would come from connections or studio career assistance, but no. I sightseeing in Japan with my father and we went to Nagano to go skiing for the first time in my life. I always wanted to try to ski since I have never seen snow that much in my life and I have never gone skiing or event sled riding. So, as I was learning how to ski from my father, who had experience in the past since he traveled around the world for his job, a women approached my father and I and asked where we were from. She was a talent scout who was on vacation from New York. She talked with my father for about 20 minutes while I was trying to learn how to stop using rented ski’s. Soon, they both came to me as I was falling in the snow looking like a lost bunny in the white fluffy stuff. My father explained to me that this stranger wants me to take a few photo’s for her in a few days. I thought this was some sort of practice or more training. However, she said that my look is very different and exotic. She wanted to utilize my images for a new line of fashion coming out of New York. So, that was that. I did the shoot and was very nervous only because at the fashion shoot, there were about  photographers and the largest camera’s I have ever seen. I knew then that this was not ordinary photo shoot. This was the real thing. I received payment for the fashion photo shoot and could not believe that all the money was mine! To a young girl, that was a lot of money!
What types of modeling styles do you enjoy doing the most?
I love them all. However, I must say that I really enjoy photography, runway modeling, and event and promotional modeling the most. Why? Well, because I love creativity. I have experience in fashion photography, and the “cat-walk” over a thousand times and can tell you that photography and the runway is my home. Event and promotional modeling is also very interesting in that I work with some of the best photographers and organizers available in Japan. I also love fashion photography because it brings out the creativity not only in me but in everyone involved as well. I am working on creating my own line of fashion that will focus on looking your best in your 30’s, 40’s, and even in your 50’s! Anyway, true models can work in all venues of modeling, but if I have to choose, it would be television commercials, fashion, and photography.
Are there any models, photographers that you admire. or inspire you?
Yes! I have many friends who are models, but it’s my photographers who really inspire me. One would be Justin Bun who is currently working in France, has a very creative view and I learned a lot from him. Also, Paul Stevens has been a great photographer as well. In terms of a photographer who works hard at his craft is no other than Todd Mizomi from Hawaii who travels to Japan often to work with me and other talent in Tokyo. Also, Michael Machida of TheJEGroup! has always been great to work with.
What is it you enjoy about modeling?
One word. Creavity! I am very creative. I love working with like minded people as well.
How closely do you work with the photographers, MUA and stylists?
I feel that a model must realize that it’s not only the model who creates the perfect image, it’s all involved. And I am humble enough to realize that it takes a village to make things happen the world of modeling.
What do you think is your best asset and your worst?
My best is that I am always open to change. I am flexible. I am humble by the people I work with. I learn from everyone in some way or another. My worst? I am not good without my coffee.
Were there any tips you received that made an impression on what you needed to do to become successful?
Yes. No one can me a professional model in 24 hours, you need patience. Make effort. Meet the right people. Get a great agent. Work hard. Modeling is not as easy as it looks. Wake up early. Have coffee. Hit the road and expect to work hard. And when you make it to success, work even harder.
What are your plans and goals for your business in the future?
Goals and objectives? To become the super model I am cut out to be. Also, I have already started on my own business as well. It’s know in the industry as IrishStar Talent Brokers. I started my own agency because since I have been in the fashion modeling business since I was a child, I have met the right people who can make things happen for young aspiring models and other talented people. Of course I always focus on my own modeling career, however I want to be able to assist others who wish to become a model to do it with the help of someone who has already been there. IrishStar Talent Brokers is my baby at the moment and I want to see her grow into a world class organization.
Are you working on any projects lately that you can share with us?
Yes. I am currently working on an assignment in terms of a television drama in Japan. I am also working on a few television commercials. I am currently working on a project with Michael Machida of TheJEGroup! in terms of a fashion line that has just come out of New York. I can not say to much about it at this time since it’s in it’s infancy. However I can tell you that the fashion line is cool, slick, and makes any women look thin. A real challenge for some women to look thin in some of today’s fashion lines but this line has all the markings of success for women over 30 years old.
Do you have any advice you can give to men and women just starting out in modeling?
Yes. I do. You must be model material. And, before you begin any endeavor, you must seek and find a mentor. Mine is Michael Machida who not only offers advice, but clears the way for me. I think anyone in the modeling world knows what I mean. You need someone who will be the manager of your career. Having said that, your modeling career will become easier and you will learn years worth of advice in a single meeting. Also, connections are important as well.
What are the things you love to do when you’re not “at work”?
Health is very important to me not only because my work is fashion modeling, but also because everyone should care about their health. I love to urban hike for 2 to 3 hours up stairs and down the mountain side. I also like to do a bit of weight training and jogging. I eat well and my favorite food is popcorn!
Where can we find out more about you?