Shiraishi Mai’s “Now” and “From Here On”
Revealing The Genuine Maiyan In This Two Year Gap Long Interview
~Ray December 2016~
She’s presently into her 4th year as a Ray model, and her 5th year as an idol. While working on these 2 big axis of hers Shiraishi Mai also known Maiyan is into acting, extending her success gradually to new fields. In the last of the 3 issue consecutive covers, what’s she keeping close to her chest now that she’s 24, from here on we will be putting it straight into words.
For the long interview this time we didn’t inform Maiyan herself beforehand. We didn’t want her preparing what she’ll talk on in advance, as it’s our intention to want to know her honest feeling at that time. Though it was sudden, we were surprised that she said 「No worries, it’s okay！」 so easily, impressed that Maiyan is comfortable with the interview.
Right now I’m quite satisfied with the way things are. But yet I strongly feel that “I must change"
ーThough she has appeared as our cover girl many times so far, It’s actually been 2 years since we had an in-depth talk with her. Without a doubt compare to previously the circumstances surrounding Maiyan now have changed a lot haven’t it?
First of all I myself am surprised that I’m 24, it feels like these 2 years have passed just like that. Though I suppose it has been toiling physically and mentally, I’m probably more shocked that time had passed so fast. Really, it’s kind of frightening (laughs). And yet, in these 2 years I was able to participate in Kohaku Utagassen that had been a dream. I had released my first photobook. I had a solo appearance in a movie. ……all these goals I have been able to realize, and the scope of my work has expanded. At the same time, I’m already into my 4th year as a model, I’m heading into my 5th year in Nogizaka, I’m not a new face, so I can keenly feel that I’m no longer in a position where it will all work out with youth and momentum. Speaking of Nogizaka, the new 3rd Generations joined us, a lot of young girls. While you’re working in a group, there’s no resisting to the flow of generation change, so recently at the back of my mind consistently has been what should I do from here on? As a Ray model, when I had just started working, everyone around me were my senpais, but now I have more kouhais. I’m gradually changing from getting mentored to mentoring.
ー24 in the blink of an eye. Maiyan expressed that she’s 「frightened」 by this. So what is age to her?
Although age shouldn’t be a divider, there was a time when I was kind of having 25 as the benchmark. Though that leaves another 1 year more when I think about it, I feel I want to continuing working in Nogizaka still. I want to decide for myself about where I’m going to go regardless of the opinions around me. For example the various speculations that’s been flying around on the internet in regards to my future, it’s also a fact that rumors like these have increased compare to before. Even though I realized I have to face this as I grow older……. Actually I do worry about it, but because I’m the type that becomes depressed when I worry too much, I try not to think about it if I can. Such voices, I don’t want to be swayed by them! I would be an adult if I could hold such a strong feeling wouldn’t I. But, I can’t stay like this forever. From here on I’ll gain experience in my solo work, become able to do other various work, and when the desire gets “more and more” maybe I’ll really think about it. Right now I want to broaden my own potential, I’m in the midst of finding it out
I noticed when I stepped outside there’s a lot of warm friendly people
ーCertainly in addition to being an idol and a model, her work as an actress has increased compare to before isn’t it. What has being an actress brought for Maiyan?
Recently, I took part in the movie 「Yamikin Ushijima-kun Part3」 that’s currently showing and in regards to that, it’s completely separated from Nogizaka, also because it’s the first time I’m involved in such a major popular work I was very nervous no matter what. I have an interest in acting, and I felt I really want to do this so I was glad when there was talk of giving me a role. It’s such a completely different work from an idol, when I went by my own to work on location honestly I was tensed. But learning is part of challenging new genre, at the filming location among the costars and staffs I came across I realized there’s a lot of warm friendly people. Meeting these people, I understood the joy in widening my connections. With movies or dramas having new encounters in every one of these works is one of the charms. In the same way as the time I started my modelling activities, when I’ve gotten something personally, the feeling of wanting to give it back to the group hasn’t change. Right now members beside me are doing their own modelling activities, their chances of appearing on the TV have increased. In the dressing room we would call out to each other 「That magazine you’re on, I’ve checked it out」 or 「Saw you on TV, it was so amusing」. With the various activities, I think it motivates each of us and is a good environment for the group.
ーSeeing the growth and success of other members, what’s the future goal of Nogizaka46’s Shiraishi Mai？？
Last year, though our big goal of appearing on Kohaku came true, I want to appear on it once more (laughs). While I heard that there’ll be a big hole in your heart after fully realizing your dream, I had so much fun, so I’ve amended my goal to “I want to stand on that stage again”. Speaking of year-ends previously the members would gather and watch it on TV, the busy hecticness we got to experience from that last year-end was the first time I actually felt ”I, really am in show biz！” (laughs). And though this year is drawing to a close, we’ll keep on heading through to the end of the year. I’m hoping that we can welcome the conclusion of one year in the best possible way
Modelling is an important, precious time to find myself
ーDuring the interview, in front of Maiyan were the massive number of Ray magazines she has appeared on until now, and also her 1st photobook 「MAI STYLE」 which was released 1 and a half years back. As a model she has shown smooth progress, what does she think when she looks back?
Of course in the beginning, my face was really stiff. I also used too much strength in my shoulders (laughs). Indeed now, I can do various expressions and smile naturally. On the set at Ray it’s certainly “home for me as a model”. I feel at ease seeing the staffs. It may be misunderstood to say that I’m being too relaxed, but working in a group I’ve come to want time to find myself once in a while. With model work I can leave that, and focus on my own things so it’s an important thing for me right now I can’t do without. Having the interview done in this way, although I don’t usually talk about my feelings much, here I want to just talk about my true feeling. In talking about it, I can say “Ah, so I’ve thought about that” and have it organized in my head. Even if I felt troubled I’m the type that won’t say it even to my parents, but if someone asked I’ll certainly talk about it. Doing photoshoot is the same as this too, since I’m going to do it I want make the best stuffs from it, I want to meet the demands as much as I can so that everyone there is satisfied
ーRight right, Maiyan actually is full of an accommodating mindset. That image of she’ll try even if it was an absurd request.
During photoshoot the photographer would sometimes like in the middle of Omotesando asked me “stand there and shout!” (laughs), maybe I’m the type that don’t feel embarrassed and will go along with it. But, rather than a feeling of business as usual because it was simply asked of me that I’ll do it, it’s that there is proper love and trust that I’m able to do it. Besides, even if we wanted to make something good but the direction we were going are different isn’t it just unhappiness for both sides. For myself, my viewpoint is it’s my face and name that’s going out there, but sometimes not everything may go the way you want it to. I’ve been irritated, I’ve done it just because it’s nothing that you can do about. It’s not just my job, it’s the same for anyone working. Thinking about it like that, I really value communication
ーWelcoming her 4th year as a model, is she worried?
Unlike Shika-chan or Matsui-chan, I’m definitely not in the style of those with the model figures, I also mind my height difference. Going into the studio, and seeing a tall model I would be thinking what shall I do if it’s just me that looks weird when we take a photo. But, I don’t like to compare with others, I’m my own self. I believe that if there’s a quality on that person there should be something on me too. Instead of focusing on the minus aspect of my height not being tall enough as a model, I’ll shift more to thinking about the positive parts of myself. At Ray because the senpais and every one of the staffs are so kind and warm, I probably didn’t have to fuss more than necessary. Before I started as a model I was worried that there’ll be fights between female colleagues, honestly (laughs). I was relieved that the atmosphere at Ray rather resembles Nogizaka’s. Recently, when I was at TGC I had the chance to meet my big senpai Karina-san. Karina-san noticed me first, and she called me 「Maiyan」. Although my time hasn’t been long it’s because we’re both Ray models and have the same experience that this happened. Really, I was so happy I thought I was going to cry
I think my sense for “cuteness” is the same as Ray’s readers
ーIn Ray, the clothes that Maiyan wore sold out, and we featured a “Shiraishi Mai” main project. What does she think about receiving admiration from the readers and their ardent support?
Not just the readers, I like “cute things” as well, and I like “cute people”. It would be nice if I can convey that I have such similar feeling…… though I can’t seem to figure it out myself. It’s at handshake events that I can socialize with the fans, a lot of girls who recognizably followed my hair and makeup come for the events. There’s those that followed me by drawing a mole on their lips (laughs). It’s a strange feeling that people “like me”, or “want to be me” but I’m really happy. My activities as a model, it feels real when that leaves an impression on someone. I love fashion and beauties, so I want to continue to work as a model from here on as well. It’s thanks to my meeting with Ray, that the range of my own fashion has expanded so much. When I started modelling my appearance was frankly too childish (laughs). Nowadays I’ve come to like mannish pants style. The places I shop as well, so as not to be the same as the other members I’ll go to selected shops that have a little more personality. Speaking of fashion work, it’s my dream to do collaborations with clothing brands someday
Honestly, there’s some things that can’t be filled with the fulfillment of work
ーWhile she continues to be active in various fields, we’re curious about Maiyan as a girl that’s now 24 years old. When the days are busy what does she think about, how does she feel.
When my life is me going home tired, neglecting my chores, just going to bed and it continues on like this, oftentimes I’ll feel down thinking 「What the heck am I doing」. Everyday even if I’m doing something, while it keeps me busy, that’s just an aspect of work. When I compare the 24 year old me I’ve imagined in the past to myself now, the various experiences I’ve gained have been more than I can imagine that I feel so blessed, I can be confident among my own generation that I’m doing the best with my work. But if I was asked about the things I do in private as a 24 year old, I haven’t done enough of them. The older folks told me 「Isn’t now the most exciting time for you」. So, though I have times when I feel down if I can think that “there is no substitute for the work I do” I can hearten myself, and be motivated as well. (She quickly turns the pages on her photobook) When I was 22 two years ago, I said that I wasn’t any different from other ordinary girls didn’t I. But I can’t think like that now. I was simply too young then probably, I might not have the resolve yet to live out in the world. Of course I want to take a normal break (laughs), but I have to continue to move onward still
ーTo be a member of society is to “work”. When ask about this motivation, on Maiyan’s face was the hint of her thoughtful and unwavering character.
If I have to say quite honestly, that becoming financially independent as an adult, one of the motivation is that I can buy the things I want with my own money. I’m such an adult because of how I was brought up, and I live in this unstable world which is why I really need to save up (laughs). When it comes to thinking about my life from here on I’m the type that thinks backwards. For example if I marry at 30, I have to meet my future husband at 27, 28…… that’s how I would imagine. However, and I’m not just saying it but the biggest motivation of all is for the people who support me. When they see a TV show and say “That was interesting” “Hey, that was good” it makes me happy receiving these more than anything. More than saying that I’m cute, it comes from them having really seen my inner self. At the handshake event a mother brought along her child to dance for me to see, the child said 「I love Maiyan！ Do your best」 giving me support while being embarrassed about it. From the elderly to children if I can leave an impact on them it will mean a lot in what I do. Which is why as someone who’s an adult first of all I must be true in living my life. Not as an idol or a model but as ”Shiraishi Mai”