Girl To Know: Lauren Tsai

by Cassandra Chum

Meet Tokyo’s it girl: illustrator, model, and actress Lauren Tsai. Born in Massachusetts, raised in Hawaii, and currently based in Tokyo, the multi talented artist blends her passion for illustrating with fashion. Her journey as an artist began with her first exhibition in 2017, titled “18”. This gallery displayed several telling pieces, focusing on emotion.

In October 2018, she created a line with Marc Jacobs ranging from purses to graphic tees, all featuring her artwork. Her pieces came to life, capturing fantastical creatures and deep sentiment. This collaboration with Marc Jacobs showcased her fluidity and expressiveness in illustration, allowing her to bring a fresh perspective and unique eye to fashion.

“I’m not Chinese-Chinese, or white-white, but I tell myself, it’s okay, you don’t have to be either. You can just be you.”

With increasing but still much needed diversity in the fashion and media industry, Tsai is one of several Asian figures in entertainment that have reached milestones for Asian representation and have become catalysts for more representation in these industries. In an interview, Tsai reflected on growing up with a multicultural background and how it has affected her career as a model. As a biracial Asian American in a predominantly-white industry, she has had a more difficult journey towards finding her identity than most. Tsai explains, “When I’m working in Japan, I’ve never wanted to feel like [my ethnicity] matters, but at the same time, I don’t want to turn away from who I am...There are definitely times when I felt out of place, or wondered who I am. Like, I’m not Chinese-Chinese, or white-white, but I tell myself, it’s okay, you don’t have to be either. You can just be you.”

Aside from a flourishing art and modelling career, Tsai has also appeared in Netflix’s reality series Terrace House: Aloha State and FX TV show Legion, which was her acting debut. While seeking new opportunities and stepping out of her comfort zone is something she’s grown accustomed to, Tsai always comes back to art, where she feels most like herself. She still makes sure to draw every day, despite her whirlwind lifestyle.


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