Naomi Watanabe is a true multihyphenate. The Japanese-Taiwanese comedienne first shot to stardom in 2008 when her Beyoncé impression went viral, and she now boasts more than 9 million followers and counting on Instagram. And sure, she makes people laugh, but she’s also making a name for herself in the fashion world as one of the faces of Kate Spade, a creative partnership that launched in January this year.
Still, Watanabe didn't exactly plan her pivot to fashion.
“I’m a comedian," she tells Bustle. It’s rare for us to be able to collaborate with such a cute brand.”
Watanabe worked with Nicola Glass, Kate Spade's creative director, to design three handbag styles: a camera bag, a furry purple tote, and a mini crossbody. Each piece embodies confidence, joy, originality, and inclusivity. Through the designs, Watanabe explains, she wants to inspire women to be the best versions of themselves every day.
“Originality is one of Kate Spade’s biggest qualities,” she says. “And when I saw their fashion shows, I saw models of different shapes and sizes, and I really liked their flower prints. I was surprised that there was something in my size that I could wear and enjoy.”
In visualizing the pieces, which range from $128 to $358, Watanabe wanted to maintain that signature “Kate Spade cuteness” while adding in unexpected elements and finishes. “My originality is reflected in the big metal pieces and some other things, like the colored fabric inside the heart."
Like the rest of us, the 33-year-old social media sensation has spent most of this year indoors, which has shifted how she presents herself to the world. Before the coronavirus pandemic, she rarely shared photos and videos sans makeup.
“But this year, I posted a lot of things on YouTube and Instagram without any makeup on, so I was able to expose myself more in that sense,” she says. “I reflected within myself more. One positive thing that came out from COVID was that I was able to find new ways to enjoy myself and fashion this year.”
Get to know more about Watanabe with her Bustle Booth questionnaire below:
In The Bustle Booth
What are the saved weather locations on your phone?
I have saved every single country I’ve been to. It’s a lot. You had to go through Australia, Taiwan, and everything else to get to New York. But recently, I reorganized this list, and now New York is right after Japan.
What’s your sign?
My birthday is October 23, so I’m a Libra but on the cusp of being a Scorpio. Actually my dad was a Libra and my mom was a Scorpio, so I really am a mixture of both.
Favorite overused movie quote?
I don’t necessarily have a favorite movie quote. But I’m studying English and one of the ways I study is through reading subtitles on movies. And I often hear the saying, “Here we go!”
What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
Chibiusa is my favorite character on Sailor Moon.
What’s one movie or TV show you're currently obsessed with?
Saturday Night Live.
Who is your celebrity idol?
It changes all the time, but the most constant one is Rihanna because she keeps evolving.
If you had to be on a reality TV show, what would it be?
Too Hot To Handle on Netflix. It’s a reality show about beautiful and handsome men and women in paradise. Everyone is so hot, I want to be on it.
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