I really didn’t know what to make of singer-songwriter Haikaa Yamamoto when I first read about her diverse cultural background. Her pictures are not telling but she is a Japanese descendant born in Brazil and has studied in both US and Japan. And what really enthralled me was when I heard her performing “Work of Art”, a lovely number she composed with her songwriting partner, Mercuri, and sung in 19 languages to celebrate the appreciation of diversity. Other than English, some of the other languages include Arabic, French, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Turkish, and even some very obscure tongues such as Guarani M’ Bya. It’s got a very catchy tune and when performed in the different languages, the song brings such a soulful dimension to the idea of global connectivity! You just have to hear it for yourself!
I wanted to share her music here because I find “Work of Art” very refreshing as it’s a song about beauty that begins with self-acceptance. According to Haikaa, the first step to being and feeling beautiful is understanding who you are and working inside and out. And since the song is sung in different languages, it would also appeal to my international readers and allow us to connect from a common standpoint about beauty.
To learn more about Haikaa’s inspiration, I also took the opportunity to ask her some questions and to get some insights into her notions of self-acceptance and very personal beauty tips for staying youthful looking.
Share with us what has inspired you to produce such a unique piece – Work of Art?
Haikaa: “Work of Art” is a song that celebrates the uniqueness of each and every one of us. On a more personal level, I wrote “Work of Art” as a declaration of love for myself regardless of people’s opinions of me.
You’ve mentioned that some people’s opinion of you were not so flattering. Did it have to do with how you look and how did you deal with that?
Haikaa: In general, the love and freedom that have guided my life have led me towards unusual paths. So, I sometimes deal with the cynicism of people who see me as “a dreamer who refuses to grow up”. With regards to my looks, I was walking down the streets of Sao Paulo once and I got called a “delicious samurai”. Then, on another day during a job interview, a Japanese TV producer asked me if I was pregnant. I realized very clearly that looking outside for reassurance can be very confusing.
What advice do you have to give ladies with issues of accepting who they are or how they look to others?
Haikaa: My advice is to understand your assets and limitations and accept what you can’t change and work to improve what you can. Every woman has her own ugliness-beauty range. Being and feeling beautiful is about striving to be on the higher end of that very personal scale.
You look a lot younger than your age! Can you share some of your beauty tips to looking youthful?
Haikaa: I’m 37 and for my face, I use cleaning products for oily skin and pore minimizing cream daily. I also get a facial once a month at the end of my menstrual cycle. For my hair, I got red highlights to make my face shine which in turn also gives me a more youthful look. In order to get the highlights, I had to bleach my hair first. So I have to moisturize my hair once a week at home and once a month at the salon. For my body, I cook my own food and I eat 5 to 6 times a day. One of my favorite ingredients nowadays is flaxseed. I mix one tablespoon of flaxseed with low fat yogurt and a little avocado. It doesn’t taste better than chocolate milkshake but it will keep you satisfied and healthy!
You mentioned you are a sunscreen aficionado so what’s the brand of sunscreen you use and how do you go about preventing sun spots from developing?
Haikaa: Currently I wear either Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF70 or Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF60. I’m also really into big hats with sunscreen and I never expose myself to the sun without protection.
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