Beautiful in a unique, almost androgynous way, Koharu Sugawara (@kokokoharu) almost gives a Japanese Ruby Rose vibe, with her amazing features and natural grace. Unbeknownst to some, Koharu is an internationally renowned dancer and choreographer who has worked with mega stars such as 2NE1, Taemin and Koda Kumi. She started dancing at the tender age of 10 and later on, made the decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue her career in dance wholeheartedly. In LA, she became one of the most sought after dancers thanks to her unique dancing style that merges contemporary dance with hip hop. Her strength and resilience, both physically as a dancer and for taking the huge leap of faith that led to her success has made her the perfect global ambassador for Shiseido’s #StrongSouls campaign.
BAZAAR caught up with the gorgeous Koharu when she stopped by Singapore to celebrate the opening of Shiseido Ultimune Red Vibe Street, a travel retail pop-up at Changi Airport.
How does it feel to be the global ambassador for Shiseido?
I feel weird but happy. When I look at my face on the big ad it’s as if that’s not me, that’s someone else. It feels unreal, but I’d like to run and tell my mom and dad about it.
Is it extra special for you that they’ve specifically chosen the Strong Souls campaign for you? Do you resonate with the campaign’s message?
I don’t think it’s particularly special, but I think It is definitely the best fit for me. Because of the polarity: I’m very strong physically but at the same time I can be very weak emotionally.
How would you describe your dance style, and why do you think it resonates with so many people internationally?
Since I started travelling, my body became my language. Because I cannot communicate with words, it allows me to go even deeper into humanity; within myself so that I can reach out to people outside of my own boundaries, using my body as words. It is really to the most basic and deepest parts of being human. The intrinsic nature of this language probably resonates with people.
What is the one moment you look back to as a dancer that gives you strength and pushes you to continue pursuing your art?
There’s no one specific event. At least once a month, sometimes even everyday, I’ll go through that flip of thinking “I’m done being a dancer” and “I love dancing, that’s my life”. I give me 100% or even more; I put my life into every single moment of that process — going to the rock bottom, and like a phoenix I rise from the ashes and grow from that again. I go through this process all the time. That’s what keeps me going. If I do it at 50%, there’s no love or hate. Because I give it my all every time, the hate, the passion is all very extreme, and that keeps me going.
Do you have any special fitness routines or diets to help strengthen yourself; both as a dancer and as an athlete?
I do simple stretches everyday, because I have to practice daily. To avoid stressing my body, I tend to avoid the gym or really intensive work-outs. I’m really close to dance everyday which reduces my stress and makes me healthy. So I guess I’m naturally fits because I practice so hard every single day.
Do you have any self-care routine?
Nothing special, but everyday I soak my body in a warm bath after practice to allow my muscles to relax and I drink lots of water. I focus more on the body, and it translates to the skin.
Is there a person in your life that you look up to as a Strong Soul?
Of course there’s are lots of people I look up to like my mom and my family, and Michael Jackson etc. But not once did I ever think that I want to be them. Because I want to be me. I am my own strength.
The Shiseido Ultimune Red Vibe Street pop-up is an innovative animation inspired by the Ultimune campaign #StrongSouls. It is located at Changi Airport, Terminal 1 departure hall and will be there for you to explore from now till 11 June 2018