Sep 2022 Cover Story_Mika Schneider
Bustier dress, Celine by Hedi Slimane. Warrings, necklaces, bracelet (worn as necklace), bracelet, and rings, Tiffany & Co.

Mika Schneider has been courted by fashion houses all over the world since first appearing on the catwalk in 2019. Now that the hectic days and nights of the collection season have ended, Mika is able to join me for a remote interview while she relaxes at home, which we begin by discussing her recent “The Next Icons shoot”. “I went to LA for the shoot, but due to my busy schedule I could only spend 24 hours there. I was working with the team for the first time, but we connected very well. Although the shoot was short, there was a good energy and vibe. I really enjoyed it.”

I ask Mika, who has just turned 21 (her birthday is on 30 August), what she thinks about her generation. “It feels like we are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. While many things are happening around the world right now, my friends and I are trying to move at our own pace as we start out on the paths we have each chosen. It is exciting to think about how the world will change, but I can also feel the responsibility my generation must bear.” Even when our conversation is focused on Mika herself, the feeling of mutual respect is noticeable in her words. When asked about how and why she became conscious of her social responsibility, she replies, “I lived in Tokyo from when I was two to six years old, but for a young child, it is a very big and fast paced city. Even though I was small, by feeling the actual size of the city, Tokyo somehow gave me a chance to separate both the sense of the society and myself, but it also allowed me to feel a part of that society. If I did not live in Tokyo, I would not be here as I am now.”

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Mika has many stories from her time in Tokyo, such as her frequent conversations with the old lady who ran the cigarette shop in her neighborhood, but surprisingly, her favourite memory is how frequently she would get lost. “I would take different routes to my after-school class, depending on how I felt that day, and often ended up getting lost!” But for the young Mika, “lost” was just another word for adventure. She says she was given a lot of freedom from a young age, but it seems that the added freedom she gained through such adventures was a formative experience for her. “I think I like adventure,” she says with a laugh. “A recent big adventure for me was my first trip to New York as a model in February 2020. I got a working visa and stayed there for a month, which was a big challenge. The way they work there is totally different from Europe; it was a life-changing experience.”

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Sep 2022 Cover Story_Mika Schneider
Top and skirt, Paco Rabanne. Ring, Tiffany & Co. Tights, Falke.

For Mika, the adventure never ends. “In these past few years, I have gained clarity on what it is I do and do not want to do. Appearing in fashion shows has led me to an interest in acting. I am also interested in things like Ayurveda, jewellery and aromatic oils. I lived in India for a while, where Ayurveda is a part of daily life. I am interested in figuring out how to adopt the ideas of Ayurveda, that are rooted in the Indian lifestyle, into my own daily life.” Mika says that she is always conscious of returning to her core values through meditation. She explains that concentration and an open mind are essential to being a model, as well as staying true to your own core values. “I have a responsibility to give my best performance to someone who has chosen me as the model. I must be confident that I have been chosen and hope to keep my own core values without being affected by other trends or opinions.” She is always on the lookout for anything new that might interest her, and how to make such interests connect with her contribution to society. “I haven’t found my own path yet, but I still have plenty of time to look for it.”

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When asked what she wants for herself somewhere in the near future, Mika’s response is her “own home” as she feels like she is living out of a suitcase sometimes. Considering her busy schedule travelling around the world, the desire for a place to plant her roots is understandable. “I need a place where I can recharge. In other words, my own sanctuary. This job is about putting all of my energy on display. And just like any battery, my energy gradually runs out, so I need to recharge. I also want a comfortable space where I can collect vintage furniture and other beautiful items,” she says.

Amongst her many dreams for the future, Mika cites her belief that no one person alone can change the fashion industry for the better, and that cooperation is what is needed. “We’ve really got to think about what you or I can give to the fashion industry. Don’t be intimidated. Give ideas and let us take fashion into an even greater creative space.”

Mika Schneider photographed by John Edmonds
Styled by Yashua Simmons
Hair: Johnnie Sapong at Salon Benjamin for Leonor Greyl
Makeup: Grace Ahn
Manicure: Emi Kudo for Chanel Le Vernis
Production: Eric Jacobson at Hen’s Tooth Productions
Set design: Jesse Kaufmann