Balancing higher education, a modelling career and making a name as a blogger isn’t easy, but Choom makes it look effortless.
Now a BA Graduate in Japanese Studies, she’s an ambitious Londoner with an alternative style and positive attitude we adore. Her sights are now set on Tokyo. Candid about her obsession with anime and her love of fashion, Choom believes in the empowering potential of individuality, and that standing out from the crowd is never a bad thing.
We chatted to Choom about diversity in the modelling industry, her tips for wellbeing, and the importance of pigment in eyeshadow.
What drew you to a degree in Japanese Studies?
Around the age of twelve one of my friends introduced me to anime and I became obsessed! From there, I discovered other aspects of Japanese subcultures, in particular street fashion. I've always been encouraged to follow my interests and do what I love so when it came to choosing a degree I did just that. I couldn't think of anything better than to fully immerse myself in my lifelong passion. My dissertation was about the evolution of alternative street styles, so I was even able to incorporate my love of fashion into the degree!
So how did you balance university with your blogging and modelling?
Honestly it was so difficult, and often blogging had to take a backseat. I only took on modelling gigs during holidays and weekends otherwise I would have been completely overwhelmed by the workload. Since I've graduated I finally have a lot more free time and I've been shifting my focus onto YouTube and bigger projects.
What have you learned along the way?
Do what the fuck you want. I've achieved so much by doing things on my own terms, in my own way, and going it alone. I'm not afraid of being the odd one out, and I'll never fit in looking the way I do - and that's okay!
When did your love for fashion begin, and how would you describe the style you’ve cultivated?
I think it stemmed from wanting to look like an anime girl, but then I discovered the difference between cosplay and real fashion. I've been dressing alternatively for about ten years but I've only recently really felt like I'm turning out complete looks. My style is difficult to explain but I guess if you see something in a shop and think "that looks ridiculous" I would probably wear it… with platforms. I also try to wear as much colour as possible because it brightens my mood.
Who are your style inspirations?
Anyone who is enjoying their fashion and feeling themselves from head to toe!
Agreed! What has your experience been of diversity in the beauty industry?
For modelling it has been mixed. Most of my experience has been positive but I have been asked to participate in shoots to “give it a more ethnic feel.” There is a huge push to create a more diverse dynamic in the beauty and fashion industry which is absolutely fantastic, but conversely I am finding more and more people are using this as an opportunity to reduce me to my skin colour, like some sort of well meaning tokenism.
What does ‘beautiful’ mean to you?
Beauty is being genuine and true to yourself.
What’s signature to your own beauty look?
I only started wearing make up in the past year or so, (I only bought make-up brushes last month!) so I'm still really finding my way. I always do a cat eye because I don't actually know where to stop, so I just keep going. Also I copy the extreme blush worn by a lot of Swankiss shop staff!
How do you stay healthy, body and mind?
YOGA! Ever since I graduated I've become crazy about Yoga. I had serious back pains from the months I spent bent over books revising, but after a few Yoga sessions the pain was hugely reduced. As for my mind, not being at university really helps! I'm currently finding my way spiritually with a bit of meditation too.
If you could only Slapp on one beauty product, which would it be?
I really like 3INA's cream eyeshadows - they're super pigmented.
What does the future hold for you?
I'm moving to Tokyo to pursue a career in fashion. I'm also currently undertaking a huge secret project too so look out for it!
Follow Choom: @choomychan