Alisa Ueno may be a familiar face for some of you; she’s amassed over 290k followers on Instagram, has had her music feature in a commercial for the iPhone X and is a street style star. She’s far more than just an internet sensation, however. Ueno is also model, DJ and creative director of Japanese clothing label FIG&VIPER.
When she’s not traversing the world playing at some of the of the biggest clubs in the world, Ueno is back at home in Tokyo working on her many other endeavours. We managed to catch this creative polymath despite her hectic schedule to talk about everything from what inspires her personal style to the beauty essentials she couldn’t live without – read on for more.
You’re a busy women between being a DJ, brand owner, model and more. How do you balance it all?
I don’t think that I am balancing everything to be honest! All the things I’m doing right now are things I enjoy and am passionate about, so I think that just naturally balances everything out, maybe?
How did you get into DJ’ing and what kind of music do you play and why?
I’ve always enjoyed listening to music, loved going to clubs, and since I was very picky about what type of songs I liked listening to, one day I thought I’d DJ and play the songs I enjoyed listening to! I asked my friends to teach me how to DJ and slowly started to play at my friend’s parties. After a while, it became a career for me. If I had the choice to play any music I liked, I would play future house and tech house, but I play a lot of house music at parties usually. I enjoy listening to electro music and I also like hip hop, but I prefer to dance to it more than playing it.
Your work has taken you all over the world, what have been some of your fave places?
Every place I’ve visited has it’s own color and I enjoyed travelling to all the places; I don’t have one favorite place. But the more I travel to different places outside Japan, it makes me realise how much I love Japan. It sometimes takes one to leave the country and experience other cultures to realise the beauty of your own culture.
Of all the places I travelled last year, I think I enjoyed my Croatia trip the most. I went to a town called Istria and from a Japanese person’s perspective, it was like being in a movie scene or a fairy tale. I couldn’t stop taking photos and the lifestyle was amazing as well; I would love to go back again this year.
Although you’re well travelled, Tokyo is your home at the moment. What are some of your favourite parts of the city?
Since I was born and raised in Tokyo, I actually don’t know much about things outside of Tokyo so I would love to travel within Japan and learn about other cities and spots, too. I’m the Shibuya ward travel ambassador so Shibuya is a must-stop travel spot for me. The reason why I chose to go to the middle school I went to was because the campus was in Shibuya!
My go to areas in Tokyo are Shibuya, Harajuku, Omotesando, and Daikanyama but my favorite would be Sendagaya. Sendagaya is located right between Harajuku and Shinjuku but it’s very quiet and has a lot of fashion showrooms. There are a lot of cute cafes and it has a good vibe. I liked it so much that I actually lived there until recently.
You’re known for your personal style as well. Is there anyone you’re inspired by style-wise, and how would you describe your look?
I don’t have one particular person that I’m inspired by – I look at a lot of different fashion styles. This could be through Instagram or even just from walking in the streets. If I see something I like, I take a note of it and use it as inspiration for my style.
I think if I had to put a label to my style, it would be street style I guess? Even if I wear proper, fancy clothes, I tend to wear sneakers with them – I incorporate street style into my overall look.
What are your favourite fashion brands at the moment?
I guess I tend to wear a lot of FIG&VIPER clothes usually. I don’t really care about the brands of the clothes I buy. If I think it’s cute, it doesn’t really matter what the brand is. I also buy a lot of clothes online and so wear a lot of clothes from brands I barely know much about.
You’ve worked with beauty brands just as much as fashion ones. What are the beauty essentials that you can’t live without?
Do you have any big plans for the rest of 2018?
I would like to spend a little more time in the U.S. Every year my goal is to maintain what I’m doing right now in terms of my life and my career. I think this is a good thing because it means that my previous year was a good enough year for me that I want to maintain what I had then.