Member Interview

Privy Interviews Tokyo-based Fashion Model Melody Yoko Reilly

  • Post by Privy Editor
  • Jun. 06, 2012

Occupation: Fashion Model and Japanese TV Personality 

Based in: Tokyo, Japan

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Melody Yoko Reilly is an American-Japanese model currently working in Tokyo, Japan, as a fashion model and TV personality. She graces the cover and pages of many magazines, as well as being considered one of the top models in Japan on the runway.

A sweet and sexy California girl, she has represented many brands such as Shiseido, Uniqlo, Peach John, SJX, Shima, AXE Body Fragrance and many more.

In, 2010 Melody became the goodwill ambassador for AQUAPEACE Indonesia. Together with AQUAPEACE, she helps raise money to support orphans and orphanages in Bali and hopes to help build an International School in Indonesia.

Despite her hectic jet-setting schedule, Privy caught up with Melody for an interview. Stay tuned for Melody's picks for the Privy 5 Tokyo Guide.


Growing up in Los Angeles, when was the first time you visited Japan and what was that experience like?


The first time I visited Japan I was probably less than one year old, so I don't really remember it all too well. The time that is most vivid in my memory of my first experiences in Japan was probably when I was 15 years old, going to Tokyo to visit my grandparents during the summer. I loved sitting at the Starbucks at Hachiko Crossing in Shibuya and just watching so many hundreds of people cross the street every time the light would change. The sheer number of people in one place at one time was mind blowing. 




There are many differences between Japanese and American culture. What was the move to Japan like and how did being American-Japanese help in adapting to the country?


I think being exposed to Japanese language and Japanese culture definitely helped to make the transition to Japan easier. Japan is definitely a complete 180 from living in Redondo Beach; big city, foreign language, public transportation, no beach, weird food. But anyone moving out on their own is in for a world of new experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Actually, I think being brought up in the U.S. helped me to not be afraid of what the future held and to do my best and have fun in whatever that came my way.




How does Japanese food in Tokyo compare to Japanese food in Los Angeles?


I might be biased but I think that Japanese food in Tokyo does not compare to Japanese food in Los Angeles (laughs). Of course there are delicious Japanese restaurants in L.A. but you can never really get the full variety of Japanese cuisine and with the range of prices like you can in Japan. From the cheap izakayas (Japanese pubs) and standing ramen shops to the high end sushi restaurants in Tsukiji, It's absolutely wonderful! I love the food here!




What was your first modeling gig in Japan and how did you first get started?


My very first modeling gig was for a lingerie brand. It was their debut and my debut! I had never done anything like it in my life but channeling my inner Tyra Banks and Gisele Büdchen, I rocked "what my momma gave me!".

I first got started in modeling because my mother entered me into a modeling contest when I was in high school and I won! It was with an agency in Japan so I finished high school and decided to try modeling in Japan that summer. That summer is when the stars aligned and I met amazing people who believed in me and helped me to start my modeling career. Instead of moving back to California for university I decided that since I would be moving out of the house for college anyways, why not move to Japan and pursue my budding modeling career and attend school in Tokyo. So in all of that, my mother is the main reason as to how I started my career because of her love and belief in me.




You're a television personality in Japan. Any futures plans to get into acting?


Yes! Definitely! I always felt confident that I could be an actor so I am looking forward to taking the next step in starting an acting career. Next Asian action star perhaps?




In 2010 you became a goodwill ambassador for AQUAPEACE Indonesia. What can you tell us about AQUAPEACE and some of the ways in which they improve the lives of orphans in impoverished countries?


AQUAPEACE is a great NGO that helps provide food, clothing, furniture, mattresses, books and materials to orphans in Bali. Some of the orphanages are damaged and many have big holes in the roof due to the heavy rainy season in Bali so AQUAPEACE helps provide funding for roof and housing repairs. It is a great organization that is really doing what it says it is. I really believe that there should be a direct benefit for the people you are helping. Currently AQUAPEACE is building a school to help teach students specific skills to allow them to get higher paying jobs for the future.




What's a day in the life of Melody Yoko like?


Hmm...that's a good question (laughs). Depending on the job, I usually will wake up anywhere from 4:00am-10:00am, throw some clothes on, wash my face, brush my teeth, and grab an apple or orange and rush out the door. On any job, hair and make-up will take about 1.5 hours, then a fitting for the clothes, lighting check and then you start shooting. I love being transformed into a character and you play the part depending on the make-up and clothes. A shoot can last anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. It's always nice to finish early and meet with my friends for dinner. On my days off I like to do yoga, run, bike around the city, shop or just hang out at home (I am currently addicted to watching Game of Thrones and New Girl). I love traveling so if I have a few days off in a row I'll book a cheap flight and take a mini-adventure, my favorite!




What is your favorite vacation destination?


I fell in love with the Greek Isles last summer. And I will always have a place in my heart for Bali, Indonesia.




What about a favorite city?


Istanbul, Turkey. The history, the culture, the people, the architecture, the natural landscape, the food, must I go on?




What's next for Melody Yoko?


A lot more travel! (Laughs). In the nearest future I will be moving to Hong Kong, while continuing to travel back and forth to Japan. Of course, I hope for continuing success in my modeling and TV career as well as hopes for one day achieving a big-screen career. Also, I would love to start my own swimwear line; creating swimwear to make every woman feel great in her own skin.




What do you like about Privy and the promise it offers?


It's an exclusive one-stop shop for the new generation of movers and shakers to share valuable first-hand experiences of their travels, cities, hotels, restaurants, and it connects people from all over the world. I also really like that Privy is a globally conscious network. That is so important to be able to give back and to take the steps to try to make the world a better place; one cause, one day, one heart at a time. 


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