People | 20 QUESTIONS

Makeup artist Zawachin: 'You can't accomplish anything if you don't even try'

Staff Writer

Name: Kaori Ozawa, aka Zawachin
Age: 23
Nationality: Japanese
Occupation: Media personality
Likes: Sleeping, eating


1. Why did you choose the nickname “Zawachin?” My last name is “Ozawa” so I took the “zawa” from it and added “chin,” which was a popular nickname suffix a while back.

2. What do you love about living in Japan? The food is delicious, the streets are clean and everything is convenient.

3. Where do you go to escape Japan? My home in the city of Ota, Gunma Prefecture. The area is surrounded by nature and I find I am able to truly relax.

4. How do you relax when you’re not working? I dye my hair or change my nail design at a beauty salon.

5. What’s your favorite Japanese word or phrase? “Better to do and regret than not do and regret” (“Yarazu ni kōkai yori, yatte kōkai“). There are times when the fear of failure hinders us from attempting something, but it’s possible to get closer toward accomplishing your dreams by letting go of that fear.

6. What’s your favorite phrase in any language? “Good for nothing.” My mother constantly says that to me when I slack off.

7. What song best describes your work ethic? One of my own songs, “Mada Minu Sekai” (“Unseen World”).

8. What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? I once appeared on Fuji Television’s “27-hour TV” and was asked to create imitation makeup looks for 27 hours straight.

9. You are known for your makeup imitations of celebrities in Japan. What first inspired you to start copying the looks of other people? I really admired model Mirei Kiritani from Seventeen magazine when I was in high school and really wanted to look like her. She was the reason I first started imitation makeup.

10. What does makeup mean to you? Makeup has changed my life dramatically. Makeup basically is my life.

11. Who is your favorite person to imitate? I don’t have a favorite person, but I enjoy imitating the looks of men. The process of transforming from a woman to a man is quite exciting, and the reactions I get from my audience are hilarious.

12. Who has been the hardest person to imitate so far? My eyes are quite wide apart so it’s always hard to imitate someone who has eyes that are close together.

13. How long does it take you to complete an imitation? It takes one hour to complete the makeup and two more hours for hair, styling and the photo shoot.

14. Why do you cover your mouth when presenting your imitations? There’s a limit to how much I can imitate one’s appearances with a full face. If I only focus on the eyes, however, I can copy a look almost perfectly by using the right angles.

15. What are your favorite makeup brands? Canmake and Integrate. Those were the two makeup brands I used when I first started wearing makeup. Recently, I also like Leanani and Avance.

16. What is your favorite color? Blue, and black and white. I like blue because it’s the color of the sky and ocean, and I like black and white for a cool monotone feel.

17. Tell us a secret makeup tip. If you have the time, play around with makeup — practice makes perfect. I like to keep in mind that there is no correct way to wear makeup and try to think outside the box.

18. You have just released your debut single. Any plans for more work as a musician? I’ll continue to be active. I will perform at the Yuigahama Beach Festival in Kamakura on Aug. 26, and plan to release my second single this winter.

19. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to spread news about imitation makeup around the world. I want to create my own makeup brand and open stores worldwide.

20. Do you have any words of advice for young people? Focus on your goals and work hard to accomplish them. Most importantly, be sure to take action — you can’t accomplish anything if you don’t even try.

For more on Zawachin (in Japanese), visit www.zawachin.com. Staff writers Megan Green and Chinatsu Yajima contributed to this Q&A.