The Power Pose and the Forbes Japan Cover

Jie and I are so honored to be featured on the cover of Forbes Japan’s September issue that was released this week. The cover story was titled “Top 55 Japanese Women who are fighting in the world with their mission” (excuse the literal translation!), introducing Japanese women who are making a difference by building an international career and breaking new grounds in fields of business, social enterprise, government, science and entertainment.

Our cover photo was taken with a strong orange background evoking fire/passion, and as we followed the talented photographer’s direction, somehow we ended up power posing without realizing it, with our chins up high and eyes glaring down into the camera. And boy, do we look like fighters!

I thought to write this post since I had an immediate reaction which many women experience (especially in my home country), and found myself course-correcting my own feelings. For a minute, I was embarrassed by how strong and bossy we look, worried about looking overly-confident and fierce towards a society that praises women who are soft-spoken, humble and stay away from the spotlight. I worried — how would the Japanese society perceive us, would we be misinterpreted, could it damage business relationships etc. However, I immediately caught myself conforming to cultural expectations I’ve been working on breaking up. It’s beautiful to be different, and it’s awesome to stand out with what you’re passionate about. In the article, I shared how the 25+ moves across continents helped me continue to reinvent myself from childhood to this very day. I used each new move, new country and culture/language I learned, to experiment with a different and better version of myself.

Reinvention, individuality and diversity are at the core of what we’re building at Material Wrld. We should just stop worrying, and start experimenting. Stop putting limits on ourselves. I’m grateful to photographer Aaron Kotowski for bringing out the fire in Jie and I during this photoshoot, and allowing us to experiment with a different version of ourselves. I encourage anyone who feels trapped by society’s expectations to have some fun experimenting, even if it starts from something small in your day to day like trying on a thought-provoking outfit or taking a different road to work — you may be surprised with what you discover about yourself and how you evolve.

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