Yumi Nu on ‘Hajime’ and Why Kim K and Bella Hadid Are Her Style Icons
, 2022-05-20 15:22:20,
You might recognize Yumi Nu as one of the foremost emerging models of the moment—one who’s walked countless runways (Jacquemus, Anna Sui, and Jason Wu among them) and landed covers for Vogue, Teen Vogue, and now, Sports Illustrated (she’s the first plus-size model of Asian descent to do so, to boot). You might even see her and think, That girl kinda looks like Devon and Steve Aoki (you would not be wrong—they are her aunt and uncle). But today, Nu is adding another title to her already robust résumé: musician. With the release of her debut EP, Hajime, the 25-year-old model introduces listeners to her bedroom pop-inflected style of hazy, soft R&B; on tracks like “Illusions” she runs through themes of self-exploration and making the decision to live her life by her own rules. “There’s a theme of losing myself and putting my work in all these different places,” Nu tells me over the phone from her home in Brooklyn a few days before the project drops. “I felt like I needed to make a mindset change in my life, because I’m a huge people pleaser. It was an exhausting way to live.”
Although this isn’t the first time Nu has released music—in 2018, she put out a series of tracks through Steve Aoki’s label, Dim Mak—Hajime marks a comprehensive dive into motifs that Nu has been mulling for years: bucking other people’s judgments, healing from generational trauma, and existing with unapologetic visibility. Below, the New Jersey native discusses being constantly inspired by family, breaking toxic cycles, and looking to Kim Kardashian and Bella Hadid for style inspiration.
What’s the story behind the name of your EP, Hajime?
Hajime means “beginning” in Japanese. I got the idea for the title because my uncle and everyone in my family have been…
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