I arrive an hour early as I always do for any other jobs. Henry is warmly welcoming his guests at the door so I walk myself in and got started. The night is still young so a lot of the guests haven’t arrived yet. An hour later two of the comedians go up on the stage and the night begins. Maybe people aren’t drunk enough or maybe they are too busy mingling. Even though the comedians are pulling out their best jokes but the laughters are sparse. Tough crowd. Eight o’clock hits and the place starts to packing up. Henry’s partner walks up to me and introduces me to a girl sitting in the corner by herself. “Hi! I am AIko!” she says with a big smile and a Japanese accent. Soon after the introduction I find out that AIko was invited here to tell couple of jokes as well but she too got here a bit too early. While chatting she tells me that used to be a car model, so I ask her if she wanted to do a photoshoot for fun sometimes in the future and asked how did she went from being a car model to being a comedian.
Soon, nine o’clock hits and Aiko was up. I was amased how funny this small Japanese girl was. Her jokes weren’t just daring, bold and hilarious, it was extremely witty. I couldn’t stop laughing with the rest of the guests and I noticed there was something, very non-caring and freeing about this girl. I was intrigued.
Several weeks later, we meet at Kenneth Hahn and did our photoshoot. Aiko was very easy to work with and followed direction very well. Edgy with attitude is not my usual style and it’s normally my job to make my model feel comfortable but it was the other way around with Aiko. During the break we sat on the grass and enjoyed afternoon breeze in the sun. We talked about her coming to the U.S. by herself, the boy she is with, her mom and people in general. Although she spoke about everything lightheartedly, I sensed a deep, strong and enduring kindness in her.
Time flew and the day went by fast. That is usually the case with photography as well as good conversations. Many months have gone by and I don’t know what adventure Aiko is taking on now. Whatever she is doing, I am sure it’s with the same daring, bold and strange freeing magic she casts all around her.
Photoshoot with Aiko and her brilliant smile