Note from the Editor-in-Chief
Hi there! I hope everyone is excited that summer is just around the corner. As we conduct photo shoots in so many locations, for this Summer issue, too, we shot amazing talents in Los Angeles, New York City, Fort Lauderdale, London, and Toronto. (To all the wonderful shoot crews we worked with for this issue – thank you so much. This wouldn’t have been possible without you guys.) We don’t strategize on what locations we should do shoots – rather, we simply go to whoever we’d like to shoot. I often get asked how we decide who to shoot – in all honesty, I don’t really know, but if there’s someone who would like to take action in hopes of encouraging the youth to go all out to realize their own dreams, I am all in. That said, there has to be a spark on both parties with a sense of mission.
Although each and every shoot is very different, special and dear to me, if this helps for CIVILIAN to be understood a bit better, I wanted to share a little backstory on our Gabrielle Aplin shoot. I first met Gabby 5 years ago in NYC when she was on her first U.S. tour, which led to a photo shoot in L.A. with her for another publication that I was working for at that time. Besides that, we had fun and shared laughter – she showered me with so much excitement from her 2013 Japan trip (owl cafe, cat cafe, photo sticker booth, restaurant manners, etc.), I drew her a sea otter, I asked her to do a Beatles cover (2014 marked the 50th anniversary of their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show), and she actually did and sent it to me two months later. When she spoke, she was so bright and sparkly.
In the summer of 2017, I was home in Japan while I was struggling in every aspect of my life: my family falling apart, so much uncertainty in my career, and my personal life crumbling. When this started taking a toll on my health, I saw a flyer saying Gabby would tour Japan. She was kind enough to invite me and my mother to her Tokyo show, and afterward, we would go say hi to her and she was already waiting for us in the backstage hallway with a beer bottle – so ready to do that non-stop sparkly talk. I did not share any of my personal struggles with her but that whole night encouraged me so much that I felt confident – that I could turn everything around and move forward.
Last February, she stopped by NYC during her rescheduled tour, and as I gave her some gifts from my Japan trip that I did a few weeks prior, we promised to work together again. We shot her this past January in London for this issue, but it wasn't until I read the article draft that I realized she was also fighting to overcome her own challenges the whole time.
The very action of giving others hope and courage despite facing personal challenges is, although not easy, where our real strength lies, and nothing gives me greater joy and honor than working with such courageous individuals and showcasing their stories.