My name is Samantha Mariko, a half-Japanese blogger, model and DJ from Orange County, California, currently based in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance 6 years ago, I made the bold decision to move to Japan to pursue a modelling career and have been here ever since. I started my personal style blog back in 2011 while attending university, but it wasn’t until after I relocated to Tokyo that it started to grow. On my blog SamanthaMariko.com, I offer practical yet inspirational styling, beauty, travel, and growth advice to young individuals in an effort to promote self-expression, empowerment, and overall well-being. I hope that my blog can be the premier source for the unique “LA-meets-Tokyo” style to young audiences around the world, in addition to providing best-in-class editorials on Tokyo life and the latest in various trends.
I’m currently a Cosmo Icon and monthly contributor for Cosmopolitan Japan, co-founder of La Fondue Tokyo, an initiative to promote the Tokyo Underground scene, and former narrator for NHK World’s Kawaii International.
When I was still living in California, the image I had of Japanese fashion was very girly, and half-Japanese girls with long brown hair and doll-like makeup were trending. The mistake I made when I first arrived in Tokyo was trying to fit that image. While it did take a while for me to find a style, a look that really suited me, this was triggered by my first part time job at a fashion boutique in Roppongi.
As I worked there, I realized that my style didn’t have to be all floral and lace – thanks to my colleagues I had discovered an edgier style that is also prominent in Tokyo. This is when I started to incorporate my LA style with my newly-acquired Tokyo one and it kept evolving from there. Same goes with my hair style; I went from the typical long, brown hair to jet black, to a blunt bob with a fringe, and now an edgy pixie cut that I love more than any hairstyle I’ve had in my life. I believe that discovering your personal style and what really looks best on you is a process that doesn’t happen overnight.
Since I love fashion and beauty, I can say that I made a good decision to move to Tokyo. With so many genres and sub-genres of fashion, being in the city everyday is an inspiration. I most definitely wouldn’t be the person that I am today without all that I’ve experienced in Tokyo. And by situating myself in such a diverse city that is so different from anywhere in California, I’ve come to embrace that I have a mixture of both American and Japanese culture in my personality, my tastes, and my appearance. The people I’ve met over the years have helped me realised that I can offer something unique, which is my “LA-meets-Tokyo” style.