IN THE SHADOW. Japanese model Daisuke Ueda has built a successful international career with his one-of-a-kind look and enigmatic on-screen personality. DA MAN Style catches up with the enigmatic model to learn more about his work
Sweater by 3.1 Phillip Lim
Daisuke Ueda is neither an immensely beautiful or impossibly muscular model. But there is no denying that he possesses irresistible cheekbones and a languid stare that the camera—and the fashion industry—loves. The Japanese model has a one-of-a-kind quality that gives him an enigmatic personality, as seen in his works for the campaigns of Dolce & Gabbana, Dior Homme, Issey Miyake and various other brands. He has also walked in a number of fashion shows and graced the pages of various publications, making him one of the leading Asian male models who have successfully established international careers. Off set, he is a fun and down-to-earth person who prefers to spend his time with his close friends and secretly wishes to be able to drink more beer.
T-Shirt by 3.1 Phillip Lim
DA MAN: Hi Daisuke, nice having you on board. Our first question is, obviously, how did your start modeling?
Daisuke Ueda: After college, I went for an interview at an agency in Tokyo when I was 22 years old. From then on, I learned to appreciate beautiful things and looked after myself better by going to the gym and taking care of my skin.
“When I started modeling, I think there were only three or four Asian Models in Milan and Paris”
DA: Do you think that Asian models get better exposure these days in comparison to when you just started modeling?
DU: Definitely! When I started modeling, I think there were only three or four Asian models in Milan and Paris. However, during the last fashion week in Milan there were 25 Korean models, 22 Chinese models and 8 Japanese models, totaling 50 Asian models in just one city!
“However, during the last fashion week in Milan there were 50 Asian models”
DA: In your own opinion, what are the major differences between working as a model in Japan and in Europe?
DU: [These days] it depends on the job [rather than the location]. In terms of style, specifically for print editorials, in Japan it is more about the clothes and making them appear beautiful. Meanwhile, in Europe it is more about atmosphere and the mood as a whole.
DA: Out of all the projects you’ve done, which one are you most proud of?
DU: I feel proudest of my Vogue Homme Japan cover with Steven Klein and Nicola Formichetti.
Sweater by Marni
DA: What are the ups and downs of working as a model, according to you?
DU: The ups would be seeing great people and visiting wonderful places around the world. The downsides of being a model are I can’t eat fast food and drink a lot more beers! [Laughs]
DA: Who are your favorite photographers? In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a great photographer?
DU: I admire Peter Lindbergh and Guy Aroch. [On what makes a great photographer,] I think it’s very important to be respected by everyone. I met some great photographers before, and they all had it.
DA: How do you envision the future of your career? Will you foray into other fields such as acting or photography?
DU: In the future I want to start my own model agency for male models in Tokyo.
DA: You’ve traveled all around the world for work. What is the most memorable place you’ve visited?
DU: Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
outfit by Craig green
DA: Who is the most influential person in your life?
DU: My best friends.
“in Japan it is more about the clothes and making them Appear. In Europe it is more about the mood as a whole”
DA: Name five things in your 100-things-to-do-before-you-die bucket list.
DU: Skydiving; meeting current U.S. president Barack Obama; doing the first-pitch ceremony of a baseball match, since baseball is an important game; flying an airplane and traveling to Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand.
Outfit by Rick Owens
DA: Lastly, how would you describe your personal style?
DU: I would say that my personal style is … country, because I actually grew up in the countryside. [Laughs]