Interview by David Cirone
November 22, 2019
Jun Amaki has emerged as a legend in the popular world of gravure modeling, and her fame reaches far past her fans in Japan. Even the briefest scan of comments on her Instagram feed reveals comments in multiple languages from all corners of the globe, and the massive support matches her seemingly endless ambition. With a long list of best-selling photobooks and DVDs, countless magazine covers and sold-out in-person events, Amaki takes nothing for granted — intelligent and ambitious, disarmingly self-aware and humble, the small but spunky performer has her sights firmly set on the future.
Many years ago, you first gained attention performing as an underground idol. Is that how you began your entertainment career?
Jun Amaki: Working as an underground idol was my first step into performing. I knew right away that I wanted to become famous, and not just for singing and dancing. I also wanted to become an actress. To get that started, becoming an underground idol was the entry point for me.
You’ve become one of most popular gravure idols on Instagram. How do you feel when you see the comments from international fans?
Amaki: I’m always checking all the comments. I was really surprised at first to see so many reactions from international fans, but now it makes me want to work harder to let everyone know more about me. I’m always excited to read messages from any place my fans are watching, even if it’s not from my own country.
You share a variety of experiences on Instagram — modeling, workouts, time with friends — why do you share so much of your life with your fans?
Amaki: Usually, I see celebrities only posting images where they look glamorous, but that always seems to me like it’s far away from real, everyday life. The people who are looking at Instagram have normal lives, too, so I don’t want them to feel distant from me. I want to show them everything. I want my fans to love all the sides of me, not just the shiny, celebrity part.
Jun Amaki’s “Morning Routine”
Your “morning routine” video on YouTube was really eye-opening. As a young model, how do feel about showing yourself not looking your best?
Amaki: I don’t want to keep my guard up, If my fans will accept me like that, then I want to show them those moments.
What’s your physical workout like?
Amaki: I go to the gym once or twice a week. And I’ve started doing “dark kickboxing”. I really like the heavy EDM music and since it’s dark, I don’t have to worry about the face I’m making when I get really intense!
Your posts are not always serious modeling poses, and you’re usually quick to keep up with social media trends. For example, the “Virgin Killer” sweater — how did you get idea for that photo shoot?
Amaki: The concept was created in a manga, and I started to see social media posts that said “I want to see a gravure idol in that sweater!” Then right away I started to get messages and request from fans to model in that sweater. So I decided, “I want to be the first one!” I contacted a designer to create the sweater for me, and I just did it right away. I had fun talking on that challenge, and now whenever there’s something new and sexy in a manga or anime, I start to get requests right away.
How did you feel about seeing the story in media overseas?
Amaki: To be honest, I didn’t really know about these stories until recently. I think I haven’t paid as much attention as I should to how people are reacting overseas.
You’ve made other popular videos, like your version of Pikotaro’s “Pen Pineapple Pen (PPAP)” and the “iPhone oppai challenge”. You seem like you’re having a lot of fun.
Amaki: I never let myself have second thoughts or wonder how it’s going to come out. Once I make up my mind to try something new, I just go for it. I have fun, but I’m also making sure that I’m presenting something high quality that’s going to make my fans smile.
Do you remember the first time you saw a gravure magazine? How old were you? What did you like about it?
Amaki: I was in middle school, and I thought it was kind of “echhi” at first. There was a famous actress on the cover, but I was still too shy to look inside. I was with my mother, and I don’t know why I said this, but I turned to her and said, “Mom, I’m going to be on the cover of this magazine someday.” I really don’t know where that came from! At that time, I was really insecure about my assets, so I had no plans to try modeling or anything like that, but it eventually came true.
Did your family and friends take time to get used to your modeling career? What’s it like when they see one of your covers in a bookstore?
Amaki: My family is so great, and they’re always behind me. My dad was a little hesitant at first, but he’s become very supportive and he enjoys watching the way I handle this career as a professional. With my friends, I used to get lots of reports, like “I saw your photo at the bookstore!” but now it’s become more common for them, so I don’t hear about it so much. I’m lucky to have great people supporting me.
Check out Part 2 of our interview with Jun Amaki, where we discuss fan events, her new acting career, and plans for the future.
Jun Amaki Official Website: https://jun-amaki.com
Jun Amaki Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jun.amaki
Jun Amaki TikTok: https://firstname.lastname@example.org
Jun Amaki Twitter: https://twitter.com/jun_amaki
Jun Amaki YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBWzoX35BFoO_kzesqQ8QuQ
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