An evening with the Japanese actress, Gucci muse, and star of Resident Evil before her Hollywood red carpet debut.
Written By JACK SUNNUCKS
Makeup By KARA YOSHIMOTO BUA
Hair ByJENNY CHO
Styling By SOPHIE LOPEZ
This may be the first time you’ve heard of Rola, the Japanese actress and social media megastar, but it’s unlikely to be the last. With her striking Bengali-Japanese heritage and (admittedly, dyed) blonde hair, the 26-year-old fast rose to prominence in Tokyo’s plethora of style magazines, all the while cultivating an instagram following which now tops 4 million. She’s now set her sights on Hollywood, playing Cobalt in the latest, and final installment of the Resident Evil franchise. “She’s an incredibly tough fighter with a fierce personality,” she says of the role, which sees her high-kicking alongside Milla Jovovich.
When we meet, she’s preparing for the film’s Los Angeles premiere, ensconced high above the city in her West Hollywood apartment with a view of the hills. She’ll be wearing a black lace concoction by Rodarte, and thus makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua and hair stylist Jenny Cho are creating a modern, unfussy look. Cho elects for a simple ponytail so as not to interfere with the gown’s ruffled collar, whilst Yoshimoto Bua counterpoints its sweetness with a maroon eyeshadow. Throughout, the actress curates a rather unexpected, top-volume Hip-Hop playlist to alleviate her jetlag.
Below, Rola talks about her getting ready rituals, the best hot springs in Japan, and maintaining her platinum locks.
What product do you like to keep your hair healthy?
After I take a shower, I always use hair oil. Every time I finish a bottle, I try a new brand. I’m still looking for the best product – something that will give me the right amount of texture with a scent that I like. If you happen to have any suggestions, I’m all ears! [Violet Grey recommends Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil
When did you decide to go blonde?
I’ve been blonde for about ten years now. I wanted something different and fun and felt like it matched my skin tone better.
Does it involve a lot of maintenance?
Yes, it does. I have to touch up my roots about once a month. I've been doing it for so long at this point that I’ve gotten used to the process.
Tell us about your look this evening.
I'm wearing this gorgeous black dress with the most intricate lace and floral details by Rodarte. I’m tempted to keep it and never take it off. I’m also carrying a Jimmy Choo clutch, which is the just perfect accessory, and John Hardy earrings. It's a really fun look!
If we were to visit Tokyo, is there a spa that you could recommend for us?
Absolutely. I’ve been to plenty of spas in Japan. The Japanese version of a spa is called an ‘onsen,’ but Tokyo doesn’t have very many. I would recommend going to Kagoshima, which is a province on the southern island of Kyushu. Kagoshima has a lot of volcanos, so there are plenty of onsens on the island, many of which are very well known. I like Beppu, which is located on the northern side of the island.
Tell us about your role in Resident Evil.
I play a character named Cobalt. She’s an incredibly tough fighter with a fierce personality. And I did my own stunts and had a blast doing them!
What's your favorite thing to do in Tokyo?
I enjoy eating out in Tokyo. The sushi is super fresh and the quality is exceptional. I like American sushi too, but it’s quite different from what we have in Japan.
What are you working on next?
I’m looking forward to my next acting role and focusing on my singing. I am currently working on an opera album. And of course, modeling, which I love doing.
What’s your beauty secret?
I always use loads of moisturizing cream and drink a lot of water before going to bed. Getting a good night’s sleep is also very important to me.
I think women are feeling more empowered to keep things undone, unfinished, striking and masculine, but soft at the same time.
How did you create the hair look for Rola tonight?
JENNY CHO: We wanted to keep her quite young, as the dress had this romantic lace feel to it. Young, modern and strong at the same time, to reflect what’s happening now [in the world]. I think women are feeling more empowered to keep things undone, unfinished, striking and masculine, but soft at the same time.
KARA YOSHIMOTO BUA: I think what’s great about what you did with the hair is that you gave it shape, but kept it loose. You put the foundation in there and then loosened up the edges.”
JENNY CHO: I went in with the curling iron to bend the hair and manipulate it–not wrapping it as you would with a normal curling iron. But I used the roundness to just dent it in places, to create a little bit of shape. So it was literally about movement. And I decided to keep it in a low ponytail with just a little texture. I used Grandiose from Oribe and a cream based product called Rake. But I also think we kept the look simple with the hair because of the makeup – Kara and I collaborated on this look.
What’s it like working with bleached hair?
JENNY CHO: Oh it’s easier, but you could actually go wrong very quickly, because it gets big, and with the curling iron it holds curls so well. It has major memory to it. So I just try to always remember, the simpler the better.