tao okamotoTao Okamoto was born in Chiba, Japan on May 22nd, 1985 and started modeling as a teenager in Japan. In 2006, she made a decision to move to Paris and develop her career on an international level. Soon after that, Tao made her debut on the European runways, breaking barriers as one of the very few prominent East Asian models of that era. Through her long catwalk career, she has walked for top brands like Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Missoni, Miu Miu, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, amongst countless others. In 2009, Tao moved to New York City and made waves in the industry by donning a unique bowl haircut, which became an inspirational look. It even prompted designer Phillip Lim to model the hairstyle of his entire Fall/Winter 2009 show’s cast after Tao’s cut.
Tao’s outstanding runway presence often led her towards lucrative advertising and editorial projects. As a result, she has fronted campaigns such as D&G with Mario Testino, Emporio Armani by Alasdair McLellan, Kenzo with Mario Sorrenti, Moschino with Peter Lindbergh, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger with Craig McDean, and Uniqlo Jeans with Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Editorially, she has shot for i-D Magazine, V Magazine, W Magazine, and various international editions of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. The November 2009 issue of Vogue Nippon (Japanese Vogue) is dedicated to Tao, with her featured exclusively inside as well as on the cover – the first Japanese model to do so in nearly a decade.
Tao is widely recognized as one of the top models to ever come from Japan, having won honors such as “Model of the Year” from the Japan Fashion Editor’s Club and being dubbed as one of Vogue Nippon’s “Women of the Year” in 2010. Today, she continues to develop her career in arenas both within and beyond fashion. In 2011, she was part of a collaborative effort to raise funds and awareness for the victims of the Touhoku earthquake and tsunami. With the help of friends and the Save Japan! organization, she established a charity auction using donations from herself as well as many of her past collaborators in the fashion industry. She continues to demonstrate support for her home country, as relief efforts are ongoing. In 2013, Tao made her debut in the film world, starring as the female lead Mariko Yashida opposite Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox’s The Wolverine (Also known as Wolverine: Samurai). Her next major role will come in Zack Snyder’s Batman-Superman film, to be released worldwide in 2016.
While Tao already possesses an extensive career across multiple platforms, her hope is to utilize her experiences to help build bridges across multiple cultures, both between Asian countries as well as between eastern and western hemispheres. For her, to serve as an ambassador for unity and battle against discrimination would be the greatest honor of all.