We came across Debbie in early 2011 and this encounter is still a highlight for us this year. She quickly became an inspiration for us, in very surprising ways... but she now knows all about it now and you'll probably do too in the near future! And we'll always be grateful that she agreed to take part of our I Am a Cult Siren campaign. A truly wonderful and lovely lady.
(originally published in January 2011)
Can you share with us a bit about your background and any info about your ethnic heritage?
I am a 4th generation Japanese. My grandparents (on my father's side) are Hawaiian born, thus the island look. My mother was born on a farm in Colorado, which I'm sure is the reason why I enjoy the simple life!
We discovered that you held the title of Miss Cherry Blossom Princess early in your career... now what was this all about?
Gosh, you found that out, huh? Well, in my Junior year in high school a teacher asked me if I would like to be in the city's Cherry Blossom pageant. I think they reeled me in because they were in need of more girls lol!
Did you begin as a model first or as a bodybuilding competitor? Or is it the other way around?
After I had my kids I was in the gym and a trainer asked if I would like to train for competition. I loved the idea of setting a goal! He picked a show and as I recall, I trained and dieted for 10 weeks. I ended up taking 1st place in the Women's Lightweight Novice division and also the Overall Women's Novice title. This was in 1990.
The modeling came almost 20 years later as my daughter got me a TFCD modeling job and then put those pictures up on a modeling site and wahlah!! From there I was thrilled to be picked up by ModelFitness. One of my pictures was recently used on a flyer for a new flourishing gym in NY called The Shiny Club.
How we wrong to think that there's not that many female Asian athletes active as bodybuilders or fitness models? Why can this be so?
I think they're out there and I encourage them to at least put themselves out there to be seen. You never know what may come your way. We always think of tall thin models, but I think that there's a chance now for smaller girls with website and print work. Enthusiastic photographers would definitely appreciate any size or shaped model!!
What can be your daily standard routine to still keep fit?
Definitely try to make exercise a part of your day. I truly believe in resistance/weights for women. This is what creates a more youthful look. Also, add some cardio for your heart... whatever you find enjoyable, fast walking, running, biking, dancing... anything that gets your heart pumping. I guarantee you'll get those priceless feel good endorphins going! I believe that if you dedicate one small hour out of the day for yourself, it will be an hour that would be worth a million!!
Would you ever be intrigued to take part in more alternative projects, like classic pin-up, cosplay, or even fetish attire (leather, latex, etc.)?
I've learned to be open to new ideas but I'd have to be comfortable with the whole set up and the photographer. I've learned never to say never.
You also have two children, don't you? What could be the more valuable lesson gained from your career that you would like to pass on to them?
Awwwww... I light up just thinking about them... my all and my world =o) I want them not to be afraid to take life's opportunities, and to make some effort to make things happen!! I want them never to stop learning or growing.
In your view, what is the Number One Health Advice that any individual should follow for a disease-free life?
Hmmmm... only one thing, huh? Well, above all else, to be positive and peaceful.
Do you still take part in a lot of competition these days? What is different doing so today compared to your beginnings?
Speaking of competition, I recently decided to set a goal for myself to do a competition in July 2011. I have not been in a competition for almost 20 yrs now, so this will be interesting. My beginnings were in novice bodybuilding. I am now aiming towards fitness modeling in the Masters category aka the older folks lol!
Is it a delight for you to know that you have fans outside the USA? (yes we're not that far in Canada, but still...!)
Not only am I delighted to have you as my first known fan from Canada, but I am thankful to have met you to do this fun interview!!! =o)