YEOJA Mag - Louise - Girl Gaze Tokyo - Interview and photography by Chenshi Pu

Louise

Girl Gaze Tokyo

Moving from Paris to Tokyo isn’t an easy task, but Louise has made it seem super simple. She’s living her dream out in Tokyo, Japan, the place she’s loved since she was sixteen.

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Louise: My name is Louise; I’m 25-years-old and I’m French from Paris. I’m a model, a photographer, and also a casting agent.

How long have you been in Japan?
Louise: I live in Tokyo for about a year and a half now.

What made you decide to stay here?
Louise: Before I decided to move here, I had been to Tokyo five times and at some point I just felt I wanted to live here because it feels so much like home. Besides, I was also a little bit tired of Paris and wanted some change.

YEOJA Mag - Louise - Girl Gaze Tokyo - Interview and photography by Chenshi Pu
Photography: Chenshi Pu

Do you remember how you felt the first time you came to Japan?
Louise: I was sixteen when I first came to Tokyo. I was with my mother and my brother. I was extremely excited because coming to Japan was my dream.

What is it like being a western foreigner in Japan, where the culture is vastly different from your own?
Louise: As a foreigner here, I don’t really have much struggle in my everyday life. I am lucky and grateful because Japanese people are so nice to me. I would say that the main cultural difference is that I say what I think directly, but here they usually avoid being straightforward.

Also, due to the fact that immigration in Japan isn’t as common, I had often received questions like “when will you go back to your country?” as if I am just a visitor, even though I had told them that I live in Japan, or they are curious about which type of visa I have.

There are multiple times that the staff at the convenience stores would rather put a fork and a knife instead of chopsticks into my grocery bag, haha. They don’t mean to do it in a degrading way, they just simply don’t realize what they do is rude. If you ask these questions or do this kind of behavior in France, it would be a big scandal and people would think you are a racist.

YEOJA Mag - Louise - Girl Gaze Tokyo - Interview and photography by Chenshi Pu
Photography: Chenshi Pu

What do you do when you start feeling nostalgic?
Louise: I do not feel nostalgic at all; future is too exciting to look forward to, rather than being nostalgic.

What is the one thing that you find absolutely amazing in Japan?
Louise: There are a lot. But one thing I really admire and has helped my in my professional life here is that they are willing to give you a chance to show what you can do. Also, when you get in touch with influential people in the business, you’ll find them super chill and they are not snobby at all.

How did you take the first step in your photography career?
Louise: I have always loved taking photos but I never dared to do it as a profession, or was not serious about it. However, one day, I just told myself to stop being a chicken and just do it no matter what other people think.

YEOJA Mag - Louise - Girl Gaze Tokyo - Interview and photography by Chenshi Pu
Photography: Chenshi Pu

What is photography to you? What do you try to achieve through your photography?
Louise: I love taking photos of different people, whether they are professional models or not. I don’t consider myself as a fashion photographer; I think I am more of a street photographer. I mainly shoot outdoor with the highlight of the urban background. I always shoot people within an hour. One roll for one person, sometimes even less.

I shoot with film because I think more before taking the photo. And it’s better to create a connection between me and the model throughout the process, because I don’t want to use that many rolls on one person, so I have to explain what I am looking for in each photo. With digital, you can shoot 300 photos and you forget to communicate with the model at some point… Giving direction is something I think I like to do. Sometimes I even pose to show them what I want. Well, I think I suck at digital anyway.
Besides, I love the feeling when you can finally see the result of your developed film. It is like opening presents during Christmas.

How about your modeling career? How did it start?
Louise: My first photo shoot was when I was twelve. My brother and I were the muses of these two photographers. And I am a full time model since I came to Japan.

What do you think of Japan’s fashion industry? How is different from others?
Louise: I love the fashion in Japan, but I would say that they don’t dare to take much risk when they do photo shoots. Most of the time it’s repetitive and boring, to be honest. It is rare that there are photos that make me go “Wow, so cool!” They want to do it perfectly, but not enough to make it cool and outstanding. It can be somewhat contradictory when the clothes and design are really crazy, but the photos are not. But this is only my point of view.

YEOJA Mag - Louise - Girl Gaze Tokyo - Interview and photography by Chenshi Pu
Photography: Chenshi Pu

What does a beautiful girl look like to you?
Louise: A beautiful girl to me is a girl with self-confidence despite how they look. In my opinion, this is what makes them transcend from “pretty” to “beautiful.”

Lastly, what’s your favorite place in Tokyo? Why?
Louise: My favorite place in Tokyo is Koenji. There are a lot of vintage shops and they are not crowded. I also love Shibuya; I think it’s because whenever I am there (almost everyday), I see tourist taking photos and videos of the crossing, and I just think to myself, “this is where I live!” Also I think it’s because I spend so much time there with my friend, and I have so many good memories.

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Original photography by Pu for YEOJA Mag. Check out Louise on Instagram. For more Girl Gaze, click here.