Lifestyle: Exclusive Interview With OTSM's Actress Of The Month : Japanese Actress Yoko Matsuda.

by - 16:30:00

Biography:
Yoko Matsuda was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. She spent her high School year as an exchange student in California, USA. She later returned to Japan for university where she studied at Kansai Foreign Language University.
After graduation, she became a jazz singer and traveled and lived in approximately 40 countries. During this time, she lived in Spain and is conversationally fluent in English and Spanish.
In her recent years, she transitioned to the movie industry and play a Co-Leading role in the film "Grandma All Good", which won the Best Director of a Foreign Language Film Milan International Film Festival of World Cinema 2018.
In addition, she has been a member of the UNHCR as the Public Relations Supporter of Japan for UNHCR for the past 15 years where she has helped both refugees and abused children across the world.
OTSM: It’s amazing to see you also have a passion for music, so from being a “Jazz Singer” - When did you realize you had a passion to become an Actress and how did you do it?
YM: I recognized that I can’t express myself by singing jazz when I became a jazz singer in Marriott Marquis Hotel in Broadway NY even though that was my dream before.
Then I started to play in the musical, I later recognized that I had an interest In acting and wanted to want to act more. I felt like it’s so great for me to live as a different person at various times through the film industry. So I challenged myself and had many auditions to become an actress and to make my dream come true because I believe we must never give up on our hopes and dreams.
OTSM: What is the most rewarding part of your work?
YM: The most rewarding part of my work is that there are many abused children around me who are happy to see me in movies and dramas on TV and the fact that I can give them dreams and hope.
Also to assure them that dreams can always come true regardless of your family background and all kinds of suffering you have gone through in life, you must never give up on your hopes and dreams.
As I have been doing volunteering for them and also in Japan for UNHCR for 15 years, I was able to meet so many people with warm hearts.
OTSM: What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
YM: I would like to play a role as a Spy, Secret agent because I want to challenge action.
OTSM: What is your own definition of happiness?
YM: “Happiness for oneself and others” that’s why I have been doing volunteering for a long time.
OTSM: What are some of your latest and upcoming projects?
YM: My most recent project was the part I played as the mother of the leading actress in the Netflix and Amazon Prime Series of "She Was Pretty" Which was aired on Japan TV. My most recent project is a 2022 short film called "Hatsuiro" in which I played the leading role.
 
OTSM: Do you remember your first experience as an Actress in font the Camera?
YM: Oh yes I do! I remember I was so nervous because it was my first time on a movie set and it was for the film "Grandma all Good", but I was happy and lucky to have the director and producer helping me. You can also watch this on Amazon Prime.
OTSM: Tell us about your experience as a Co- Leading Actress In the film "Grandma All Good”.
YM: I was so surprised when the Director and a producer chose me at the audition It did not matter that I don’t have any experience in acting films. Also, it was amazing I got to play an important role in this story because I am a bridge between grandma who had "dementia" and my son who played the part of the leading actor.
The film shows the effect of dementia, not only in Japan, but also in the world, the problem of dementia is occurring every day, and as human beings, we are born unable to do one thing at a time, but this is not something to be sad about.
The film elaborates the story of how we can help each other and live with our hearts connected until the very last moment. I really learned a lot playing a role that was a complete opposite of myself.
OTSM: How big a role does Acting play in your life?
YM: Speaking for myself personally, Acting is the challenge I seek in my everyday life, It's the thing I instinctively want to do from the depth of my soul, I want to inspire people through my acting skills and help them achieve their own dreams.
OTSM: Where do you see yourself and your career 5 years from now?
YM: Hmm! In five years I want to have accomplished most of my dreams and goals, I have lived in over 40 countries and experienced different cultures and traditions, this has given me the motivation to want to play different roles in drama on television and films globally.
OTSM: What is the most embarrassing or unexpected thing that has happened to you when filming a scene?
YM: The most embarrassing thing that has happened was when I was playing a scene full of tension, I said my lines right after the camera rolled, and guess what? It wasn’t my turn yet.
OTSM: Wow! I would have just rolled under the table to hide if that happened to me. This brings me to my next question: What would you say is your favorite shoot/campaign/work till date?
YM: It has to be the L’Oréal Paris Campaign. I felt so natural in my role, it was as if I was enjoying my private time and it felt so realistic.
OTSM: What’s the best lesson you have learned from a co-star?
YM: Aside from getting my lines right, I learned that creating a relaxed and positive atmosphere can be of great help while portraying our roles before going into the lines.
OTSM: What do you think is most important in this field?
YM: To feel rather than to act. I think the most important thing is to express naturally what actually comes out of your heart, not just lines on the surface or something you made up.
OTSM: Which characters and actors were you obsessing over when you first started out in the industry?
YM: This Beautiful lady right here "Angelina Jolie". 
I had cervical cancer in 2003, I almost lost the energy to live longer and wanted to give up my life because of my ill-health, Lack of finances, and loneliness after my divorce. 
At that time, I saw the film “Beyond Borders” then I started to do volunteer work for Japan For (UNHCR).
In a nutshell, Angelina Jolie and Japan for UNHCR gave me hope and the motivation not to give up on my dreams. Finally, I decided to live my life again to achieve happiness for myself and others.
OTSM: Nowadays with the abundance of streaming services, the smaller screen has started to considerably gain more acclaim than film. What do you love about TV?
YM: What I love about TV is the fact that dramas and movies have become very familiar to us.The fact that my performance can now be easily seen by everyone around the world.
OTSM: Aside from acting, what’s on your mind these days? Could you provide us with some more insight into the other endeavors you are passionate about?
YM: I am also interested in film production, screenwriting, and producing as well as acting.
In addition, this is not only in the entertainment industry, but also I was involved in regenerative medicine, and because of my past illness, I understand the importance of life and health, so I enjoy working with both of my businesses.
OTSM: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
YM: Live your life to the fullest, just as you have always wanted to.
There may be many life-threatening challenges ahead, but you just have to believe in yourself and keep going.
OTSM: This is my favorite question: In your own words, please define "Women Empowerment" and what it means to you personally.
YM: I believe that a woman's unique strength is her maternal love. We believe that women have deep compassion to protect the weak, regardless of whether they have children or not.
I believe that if every woman in the world could believe in her potential and live a happy life, the world will be a better and more peaceful place.
OTSM: What’s your beauty regime? Would you like to share some of your best beauty secrets?
YM: I love eating Good organic food, I love yoga, and I only use cosmetics with stem cell culture fluid. Most importantly, I never stop praying for myself to make sure I keep believing in myself. 
OTSM: What have been the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career so far and as per your opinion, what are the main challenges in the fashion industry today?
YM: As for the issues in the fashion industry, I personally think that more diversity should be allowed.I also think it's worth pointing out that- the aesthetic sense in which models who are too skinny are considered beautiful is different.
OTSM: Luck or Hard Work, what do you think weighs more in defining a successful Person?
YM: I believe it's all about effort. If you keep working hard, luck will be on your side.
OTSM: What is your all-time favorite movie and why?
YM: “The Greatest Showman”. It is inspiring to see a weak person turn fate into a mission, and make sure they give their all to become a great performer. Also, the music is great. I still listen to many of these great songs and sing them at my concerts.
OTSM: What advice would you give to aspiring actors and actresses out there?
YM: If you don't have a strong determination to make your dream of becoming an actor come true, you might as well give up now. It will be harder than you imagine, and you may find yourself financially struggling and desperate but try to stay strong and positive and know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I also recommend doing one more professional job at the same time, not just being an actor. I think it will be very useful for the role, and society will need it, and it will create an economic foundation for you. Lastly, I believe that in the end, no matter how long it takes, your dream will come true!
OTSM: Anything else you would like to add?
YM: I would love to say a big thank you to OTSMAGAZINE for giving me this opportunity to share my story and give my fans and supporters a little insight into my life as an actress.
Producer|Naomi Kawada
Photographer|Norio Ozaki
Hair|MakeUp|Yuzuru Miyazawa
To Keep Up With Yoko Matsuda follow her on Instagram 
For Features, Promotions and Interviews| contact@otsmagazine.com

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