Scans by Taki
Beautiful Eyelashes! Curly! Bountiful!
Hamasaki Ayumi, the leader of “princess make-up”!
Royal Road of A Princess
Resembling a Barbie doll, her blonde hair and black eyeliner emphasize her large eyes. She looks both sweet and cool at the same time…… Among today’s teenage girls, Hamasaki Ayumi is worshipped as their 「Princess Leader」. The trendy styles which ayu set 10 years ago have now taken on new shapes, and we have helped to collect them all. In this issue of Bea’s Up, ayu herself shows us this royal princess style once again. Furthermore, how does this leader define a 「princess」? For all those aiming to be 「princesses」, this interview is a must-read!
Quote: “Because I am strong, I can be gentle. I like the feeling of dignity. It’s important to be calm and strongly objective.”
Quote: “If one is boyish and mischievous as a child, growing up into a woman may cause you to start liking dresses and long hair”
Quote: “No matter what happens, enjoy being the person you are right now. That, plus your behaviour is really important”
She has never consciously aimed to become a princess. Could it be a natural behaviour since young!?
“I saw it! They really wrote that. It was awesome. A 「goddess」. (laugh) I totally didn’t know.”
This shocked outburst from ayu was caused by a ladies’ magazine that focuses on hair, make-up and fashion. One article compiled a list of 「princess」 characters, and they proclaimed our very own Hamasaki Ayumi as the leader of the princess style. They even termed her existence holy…
“Looking at it objectively, I was like 「Heh~ Is that so? So I’m a goddess now」. That day, my staff members all decided they had to treat me like a goddess for that one day. (laugh)”
She said calmly. As Asia’s pop princess who remained shining as top star for 10 years, ayu could have displayed just a little more pride…?
“I do not think of myself as a goddess or anything. I don’t.”
“Though I’ve been called a princess, it’s uncomfortable for me to face anyone directly as say things like “I, the princess, …” In my workplace, many people often refer to me as the princess, so I’ve become used to hearing it. Objectively, I think that 「Oh, so that’s the image they have of me」. In reality, when I wear pantsuits, I get asked 「Why not a dress?」. When I dye my hair a darker shade, or cut it short, I get told 「I don’t like it unless you have curly blonde hair」.”
So when did this “name-calling” start?
“I’ve never actually wanted to become a princess, or to even behave like one. And before I knew it, I’ve picked a dress, curled my hair and dyed it a Barbie shade. That’s why I don’t understand why people said I look like a princess. Why is that? Hmm. But I do like the feeling. Maybe that’s it. That’s how the world is like.”
Saying that, she looked down at the photoshoot she just did with the flowers.
“When I was young, I never played with Barbie dolls, so I’m probably unconsciously fascinated by them. It’s like I’m reflecting a response to the things I never had as a kid, the things I wanted to be.”
So saying, she looked back on her past.
Strong and gentle. Dignity defines a princess
“I totally didn’t have the princess personality. I was more boyish. I never mixed with others, and was always the loner. I was really bad at exhibiting that kind of girlish excitement, or the girlish mentality of “always sticking with each other”. I was cold, aloof, abrupt…”
Crossing her arms, she remained silent awhile, as if searching for the right words. “Something like dignified?” we offered, and her face lighted up.
“That’s good. I was like a dignified princess.”
And the words flowed.
“By looking at my showy outward appearance, people think that ayu will be like that inside too, but that is wrong. However, it’s useless to just say that. I believe that how I am like inside can only be discerned by how I portray myself. That’s why, what I wish to portray in today’s photoshoot is… probably a reliable gentleness. (laugh) This photoshoot appears to have a very beautiful, gentle and cute theme, but there is also a hidden resolution and strength. It shows that I’m neither an unreliable nor fickle person…”
“I liked it that way” After reminiscing, the 「current me」 is definitely still the best!
Even in the celebrity realm, not many stars look so good on a set decorated with drooping branches of large blooms.
Not losing out to the magnificent beautiful flowers, ayu stands firmly in their midst. Strong and beautiful like the flowers… But even more so, her dazzle unparalleled. As the photoshoot progressed, even the staff members cheered. They watched only her, let loose a sigh, and were truly overwhelmed.
The shots of her carrying the large flower on her shoulder were precious. The night’s light and mirrors created the image of the stage spotlight, it truly felt like a live show. How did it feel, to be treated like a princess?
“It was fun and interesting. I took a few shots of myself too, and I look like a manga character. (laugh) I was a little shocked at the size of the hair at first, but once I got used to it, it felt really natural. It made me sort of nostalgic. I used to like dressing like this. But, instead of going back to old styles, I want my current style to reflect these past styles. I feel like I’m a 『ruling princess』 now.”
Another characteristic of a 『princess』: The drive when aiming for a certain goal, all while holding onto the 「current me」
In the little time we had with ayu today, she repeatedly talked about the 「current me」 that she is now.
For example, she discusses her newest album, Single’s Best Collection.
“I did a rerecording for bonus track 「Who…」. Because this was supposed to be a collection of singles, I didn’t need to include this track… But I felt that this is a song that links the fans and I, like a bridge. So I wanted to sing the song again, as the person I am right now.”
While treasuring her “current” feelings, the next step will be to send out these “current” feelings to everyone…
“I think that I am really strong now, and really gentle too. Not that I was a scary, rough person in the past. (laugh) When the feelings from all the staff and fans come together, I am now able to truly feel it within me. It’s not about being all bossy and insisting things like “We must do it this way”, nor standing by and giving instructions and comments like “Do this more” or “It’ll be better like this”… It’s about partnership, about saying things like “Let’s do it this way”, and sharing one vision with the staff and fans. To achieve that, I have become more natural and forthright.”
A heart that offers partnership. Just like a beautiful princess and flower, blooming for everyone. ayu’s gentleness touched us like warmth, and we felt our hearts fill with the light of hope.
The album this time also includes a DVD containing all the precious videos from the past, similarly filled with secrets.
“For a fan of mine who is 20 years old now, he/she was probably only 10 years old when I debuted, right? That’s why, they may now be able to see things which they may not have noticed when they were younger, and it’ll be interesting. That’s why this is like a present for them.”
The highly-praised 10th Anniversary Tour is also left with just the Asia leg. This is the second time she’s venturing overseas for a concert.
“This tour has received many great reviews from lots of people, and everything is near perfect. The setlist, stage, band, dancers, hair, make-up, costumes, everything. It has become something which I’m personally satisfied with. And I wish to bring it even closer to perfection.”
Her insatiable aspirations reach all the way up to the sky. With that strength and gentleness, we’re sure that she will continue to shine wherever she goes.
Quote: “From a wish to share one vision with the staff and fans, strength and gentleness were born…”