When you first meet Maya Murofushi, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by her vibrant personality and impressive list of achievements and interests. Maya – as she is known professionally – is an actress, model, ballet dancer, stage performer and pop, chanson and opera singer-songwriter; is fluent in English, Italian and French; won this year’s Miss World Supermodel contest; does TV commercials; campaigns for animal rights. Oh, and lest we forget, she has a keen interest in the metaphysical and is happy to chat about astrophysics and quantum theory.
Born in Tokyo, Maya, 25, moved to Saitama with her family when she was 2. “My mother is an opera singer and my father is an orchestra conductor, so I grew up around music,” she says. “I wanted to become a ballerina, and joined the Matsuyama Ballet Academy when I was 4. After that, I wanted to become a surgeon. Then came my delinquent phase in junior high school…I guess I just wanted to do the opposite of what my parents were doing.”
Feeling the urge to travel, Maya went to Italy for three years after high school and studied Italian and philosophy at the University of Siena. “I was having too good a time,” she recalls. “I was more into dancing on the table and drinking than study. I thought I better go back to Japan. I found it really hard to adjust and was depressed for the first six months. I had done a little bit of modeling in Italy and decided to look for an agency in Tokyo, but was hired by an acting agency instead.”
Since 2008, she has performed in the theater, in films and on TV ("Testimone Italian MTV," "Club 104"), she can currently be seen in a TV commercial for Scratch Kuji (Lucky Lottery) and is the main model for hair care brand Amatora. As a singer, she is at home with either pop or opera and on Dec 18, she will be singing at Astrance in Nishi-Azabu. “I never feel tired because these jobs are my joy in life. If I am not being creative, I would be depressed,” she explains. “I want to continue as an actress and model and work as an activist for animal rights and be a spokesperson.”
Winning the Miss World Supermodel contest in Australia this year has certainly helped. The choreographed pageant gives each model a chance to promote her country’s culture and lifestyle. “I thought it would be a wonderful experience, but never expected to win. Now I have the opportunity to speak up in front of people on issues I care deeply about, such as animal rights,” says Maya who is a vegan.
Whenever she travels abroad, she is keenly aware that she represents Japanese society. “I am really honored to be Japanese,” she says. “Whatever the state of the Japanese government or politics is, I respect our society because no Japanese soldier has killed anyone abroad in more than 60 years. I don’t think you can say that about any other country.”
Despite her bubbly nature, Maya says she can get emotional. “I cry when I think how animals are treated,” she admits, “and I had a good cry when I saw the movies 'Life Is Beautiful' and 'Titanic.'” So does that mean that her favorite type of guy had better be emotional, too? “I like guys to be intellectual, someone who ponders, but at the same time be capable of a little bit of craziness. Maturity is important but he should also have the heart of a child.”
When she is not working, Maya goes to the gym, does ballet and enjoys reading. “I’ve got a great passion for astrophysics and quantum theory. I think it must be my philosophy background.” If she could meet anyone in the world, who would she pick? “Among living persons, it would be Paul McCartney because of his Meat Free Monday campaign. If I could go back in time … Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein.”
Maya is not sure where her endeavors will take her, whether she will remain in Japan or try her lick in LA. Whatever she does, she says she will live her life according a simple credo: “Try to make the people around you smile.”© Japan Today