Japan’s favorite model Rola admits she has over 200 pairs of shoes

Japanese and Bangladeshi model Rola is taking the fashion industry by storm. From starring in the first Fenty x Puma campaigns to being a brand ambassador for Louboutins (and owning over 200 pairs of shoes), Rola is basically the girl we all want to be. In between whirlwind trips back and forth between LA and Tokyo, we snagged Rola to get the inside scoop on meeting Rihanna and her ultimate skincare secrets.

How old are you?

I’m 27 and loving it!

How old were you when you started modeling, and did you know that was something you always wanted to do?

I started modeling a little over ten years ago, so 16 or 17. Actually, I was scouted on the street and was kind of dragged into it! But as soon as I started doing it I loved it and I  knew I wanted to make a career out of it if I could. When I was younger, I really wanted to be a flight attendant.

Bralette, Fete. Pants, Namilia. Shoes, Balenciaga. Choker, M Jewelers.

Is it a lot of pressure representing your heritage when you work abroad?

Not really! I wanna spread my cultures, both Japan and Bangladesh, to other parts of the world. I think cultural exchange is very important and I respect both countries so much. I just want to share that with everyone through my work!

Do people ever think you are younger than you are?

It does happen sometimes. It just surprises me, really. I don’t personally think I look younger than my age, so it always takes me by surprise. And really… I think there is a beauty to every stage of our life. Although I’m not trying to rush it, I look forward to experiencing life as an older person too.

You travel so much! What are your tips for long flights?

You have to moisturize. I cannot stress that enough. Before I started traveling regularly, I had dry skin, lips and throat when I traveled. I’ve learned the hard way: night cream for your face, lip cream, hand cream, and loads and loads of water (hope you’re not in the window seat!).

Racing Pants & Top, Her Favorite LA. Boots, Sugar Baby.

We hear you have a lot of shoes…

I have maybe about… a little over 200 pairs? I’m thinking about putting on a shoe sale. Wanna come?

What is something you want people to know about you?

That despite being half Japanese, I was raised in Bangladesh as a child until age 7. When I moved to Japan, I had no concept of the culture, language, anything. It was definitely a struggle, but one I wouldn’t trade. The difficulties I faced growing up, from a lack of ability to communicate to looking very different than the kids around me in a homogeneous society are a strong part of who I am today.

Is there someplace you haven’t visited yet that you want to visit?

Spain! I really wanna go to Spain! I’ve been all over Europe, but never made it over there and there’s just something romantic about it. One day!

What in your closet are you obsessed with right now?

I just got a pair of red thigh-high Steve Madden stiletto boots. I love the way they look and since I’m super cold-natured, they help me stay warm [laughs].

Did you meet Rihanna when you modeled in the Fenty campaign?!

I have met Rihanna before, but not during the Fenty campaign. Actually, it was a Dior fashion show a few years ago. There’s a photo on my instagram ;p

Top & Pants, Brashy. Sneakers, Nike. Safety pin choker, Richardson. Choker, M Jewelers.

You’ve been in the industry for many years now. What keeps you going and pushing harder?

Because I have fun! I try to make everything enjoyable, and it makes all the difference. This life is what you make it. I really believe that. We have the ability to affect our emotions and reactions. It’s not so much what happens as it is how you respond to it that creates your experience and your reality. Stay positive!

What piece of advice do you wish you could give your younger self?

I would tell myself to study business, science and English!

What’s your favorite song right now?

“Love” by Kendrick Lamar. It’s been on repeat a lot at my house, haha.


Photography: Maddie Cordoba

Stylist: Kendall Finzer

Hair: Glen “Coco” Oropeza

Makeup: Slater Stanley

Stylist Assistant: John Mumblo

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