If Norika Fujiwara ever has a business card made, it’ll be a challenge to put all her titles on it. In the past year alone, Fujiwara, 39, has been a voice actor for "Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter," reported from Sumatra for NHK’s Save the Future program, taken part in the Biodiversity Summit, COP10, in Nagoya, modeled at a fashion show for Miss Ashida, appeared in numerous TV variety and sports programs, attended charity events, performed in stage musicals, promoted beauty products and extolled the virtues of kiwifruit in her capacity as the “2010 Zespri Kiwifruit Image Character.”
Looking much younger than her age, Fujiwara was luminous at the recent Tokyo International Film Festival, where she walked the green carpet with Shrek. In the series’ 4th film, which opens in Japan on Dec 12, Fujiwara voices the character of Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz in the original versions).
“I’ve been doing Fiona’s voice for nine years, and she’s a part of me now. She is a strong-willed woman, and I have always tried to reflect that. It has allowed me to experience many things around the world. This is going to be the final movie in the series, so I didn’t hold anything back. The feedback from preview audiences in Japan has been so moving that I cried. One fan said this was the first one she’d seen and that she was going to rent the other three and watch them all together.”
Born in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Fujiwara has been in show business since being crowned Miss Japan in 1992 and modeling for CanCam magazine. She has kept busy ever since with TV appearances, commercials, hosting music television programs, reporting on the Athens Olympics and authoring two best-selling books, "Fujiwara Shugi" and "Norika Body." Most recently, she added stage musicals to her repertoire, with "The Drowsy Chaperone," followed by "Cabaret," and next March, she will appear in a nationwide tour of the musical, "Marguerite," from the producers of the Broadway hit, "Les Miserables."
In between her theater and TV work, Fujiwara is frequently in demand as a spokeswoman. Since summer, she has been traveling around Japan and Asia as a kiwifruit ambassador. “Kiwifruit is very healthy and enhances the beauty of women,” she said. In the TV commercials, Fujiwara holds two green and gold types of kiwifruit, jumps on trampolines and goes into the water. The commercials were filmed in New Zealand where Fujiwara said she enjoyed picking the fruit herself. “I always want to be a golden girl,” she said, recommending a special drink made of kiwifruit, spinach, pear and amino collagen – blended in a mixer. “You know what the enemy of a successful diet is? Oneself,” she said. “There’s a lot of really delicious food here, but it’s important to conquer your impulses and stick to your diet.”
Fujiwara has always been a darling of the Japanese media who have kept their distance since her March 2009 divorce from Osaka-based comedian Tomonori Jinnai whom she married in a high-profile ceremony in Kobe in February 2007. She said she hopes to fall in love again. “Of course, I’d like to always be in love. Women in love have a special glow.”
Meanwhile, Fujiwara said she is finding self-fulfillment with her involvement in various charity and ecological activities. Over the past few years, she has created a photography exhibition for charity, with photos she personally took of children in Afghanistan, set up the The Norika Fujiwara Fund to aid children’s education worldwide, founded girls’ primary schools in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, and Cambodia, worked as a PR envoy for the Japan Red Cross, and traveled to Tuvalu.
Looking ahead, Fujiwara said that she is not daunted by turning 40 next year. “Even when I get older, I don’t want to lose my curiosity to take on new challenges in my work and personal life,” she said.© Japan Today