Hello! My name is Kiko. I am an ethical model, consciously working with ethical and sustainable brands who are making the world a better place. I support fashion that is kind to our planet, people and animals, and believe even models can be a voice for positive change!
I became a model after being scouted on the streets of Tokyo when I was 12 years old.
In my career, I have done quite few fashion shows at fashion weeks in Paris, NY, London, and Vancouver, and editorials for magazines as an international model. However, when I was a teenager who didn’t know who I was yet, I got “advice” from people in the industry about my look constantly, and the pressure to look a certain way eventually ate me up.
When I was 17, studying abroad in Canada, I was told by my agent that I had to lose 5-10 pounds within a week or so to look like a perfect runway model. I have been naturally slim my entire life but in that moment I realised that my thinness was not enough for them. My agent also asked me to have a nose job and fix my teeth – at my own cost. Although I didn’t have a nose job or fix my teeth (as I never wanted to), I decided to at least lose weight for them as it was the easiest thing to do and I was also insecure about it.
At the time, I was living with my host family so I had the ‘perfect environment’ to go on an extreme diet where I only ate an apple and a ‘salad’ (only lettuce) per day. On top of this, I exercised a lot. I made sure that I spent at least 3 hours in the gym every day instead of having dinner with my host family.
As a result, I became anorexic and was eventually hospitalized. My heart rate was at only 38 beats per minute and I was told by the doctor that I could have a heart attack anytime and potentially die from it.
From there to recovery, I had to heal not only my relationship with food but also with myself.
I learned to be more kind to myself, listening to my body and what it needs.
I also found a passion for a vegan lifestyle as eating vegan not only made me feel great in my body but also gave meaning to my life. For the first time in so long, I was able to care for the world and animals.
Today, I’m fully recovered and working as an ethical model based in Berlin and Paris.
An ‘Ethical Model’ is someone with ethical beliefs and values and who wishes to make the world a better place through their work, activism, social media, and other platforms. I always spread awareness of ethical fashion through my work as well as social media @kiko.sunflowersoul. I try to do this in a positive way and not to appear to be judgmental as I believe in creating a safe space for people to learn and share.
As a self-love and mental health advocate, I spread the positive message of loving yourself and being kind to yourself first, so that you can spread the love you have for yourself to others, animals, and our planet.
I’ve also recently created an ethical model agency called Ethical Models which connects sustainable brands with models who share their ethical values with.
We are so much more than a model agency. We are committed to protecting our models’ rights as well as planet, human and animal rights in fashion. We make sure to align our business strategy with SDGs goals. We are taking action now.
I believe, together, we can make a difference!
For more posts from our green living series check out: