(PHOTOBOOK) Airi Suzuki - Airi-sT Translation (Long Interview)

Translation from Suzuki Airi - "Airi-sT", released on November 27, 2014
Order it

The reason why she became cautious about beauty

The first time I became cautious about my appearance was during highschool, a bit after we started our activities with °C-ute. During primary school my face was round, at this time I didn't think I would become somebody people take as an example or even that I should become someone admired, so I didn't really care.
However, from 14 to 15 years old, I got more muscles and was in a better shape. I started to hear people tell me "You've grown a really feminine body!" and I thought "Okay, I'm at an age being chubby isn't forgiven anymore". There are many °C-ute outfits where we have to show our belly (laughs), but at this time there was an outfit for Buono!'s "Lady Panther" which showed my belly so much I thought "Isn't that a bikini?!". That made me realize, if my body is going to be shown that much, it would be a shame not to get in shape.
To stand on a stage, it's not only about your body. Your hairstyle and face expressions are also important. But if you don't stand on stage without any conviction, if you don't have confidence, you cannot look straight. I tried to motivate myself for lives by thinking "I want to have confidence in myself!", "I hate the me of now!", "I want to change!". I wanted to become somebody who isn't afraid to show herself to others, and I thought that if I continued to not to anything like I was, it wouldn't be good. At first I just had this "I ate too much yesterday so let's not eat too much today" type of consciousness. Also, my mom was preparing my meals.

It's at this time too that I got concerned about make-up. I believe girls that are born cute don't have to be interested in make-up. But I thought "It's not my case" and had many complexes. Because of the fact I was appearing in front of people since childhood, there's a part of me that is full of complexes, and I started to think "Couldn't I hide them by making them a sort of strenght?".
During my high-school years, I was greatly concerned with my swollen legs. I've tried many things that didn't work but one time I searched by myself and went to reflexology. It helped me so much. I realized that relying on my mom was great, but searching what I wanted to eat and these kind of stuffs by myself and making them a reality would also be great too.
Of course there are times I failed hard. There was a period I was only taking nutriments from vitamin supplements. But I was told it wasn't good for the body and understood that it was better to make efforts to take nutriments from my food the best I could.
At that moment, I really understood what "health" was. To me, the best health is "alimentation, sleep and enjoying every day". I wonder if "trying to enjoy every day" isn't the most important state of mind you can have ?

When you do things you aren't satisfied with, it feels like you're always tired, well anyway you're not looking good. So even when you are really busy, doing a simple thing that makes you think "I'm really enjoying myself" can help to change your mood. The humans are naturally going for either positive, either negative feelings. By thinking "I'm so happy" and not "I'm going to gain weight", looking at food in a positive way, I believe you can naturally become healthy.
If there are things you have to do that bothers you, thinking "I should do it as if I loved it" can help you make it fun, or even when you meet somebody you don't really get along with, start to think "If I try to connect with that person in that way, would I be able to talk with her better ?", it'll surely make you enjoy it.
I believe that if I was able to think that way at such an early stage of my life is thanks to the job I'm doing. I'm in an environment where you are constantly judged by others, where people are very straighforward and say to me "Airi-chan, even though you used to be like this...". Of course there are times where you start to feel down because of it, but you cannot just constantly stay down so you somehow have to start thinking about how to change in a positive way.

And that's where I noticed it. How great it is to feel you succeed to change yourself. If you have complexes, and think of this image of you who is living without thinking about those complexes like "My goal is to become like that"... When you get closer to that goal, it becomes even funnier to try to change, and the sense of accomplishment you feel is even greater. That's why, even though you're evolving, it makes you want to constantly try to reach the next step.
I say that, but you don't need to be too hard on yourself. Because it'll stress you out and it's not fun. Me too, when I'm not appearing in public, I take time to relax and eat my favorite things. But few days before the live start, I try to get back on track again. That's why, if there are fans reading this right now who wants to start making a new body, why don't you try adjusting yourself 3 days before going to the lives? You don't have to show your stomach like us during the live though (laughs) As there are live regularly, I believe it can help you shape yourself ! Don't you want to feel that sense of accomplishment with everyone ?

The euphoria born with the sense of accomplishment

I always hated maths. But whenever I got a full mark on a test, I was very happy, and I loved that feeling. Thinking about this now, that was also a sense of accomplishment. Maybe because for maths, you have to go one step at a time and that accomplishment is easy to feel, like, it's easy to understand if you succeeded or not. Also, when I draw, it takes a long time but I love to admire the final result.
During my highschool years, I had school every day and I had to do a lot of stuffs in a short period of time, also I had work... I always said "I want to sleep!" but actually I was pretty fine. Maybe because I was still young (laughs) But it's mostly because I felt a sense of accomplishment. I was pretty quick at doing the things I had to do daily so I got that accomplishment feeling from little actions too. There were things I couldn't experience daily but as I could taste that new feeling, it was so fun I thought "I don't need any rest day". I started to think that my life was funnier when I had packed schedules.
When I just became a college student, there was a time I couldn't really find my pace. I was going to school every day and also doing my assignments, but it felt like I didn't "live" my school days, I couldn't decide who I was. That feeling expanded to a lot of my activities, and the days just passed by. I ate because I had to eat and such, and I thought "Nope, that's not it". There are many things that didn't go my way when I was an highschool student as well, but I tried my best, and felt that sense of accomplishment. What I think was different then from now is that, I was used to have my schedules get done for me, and when I entered college, it was the first time I had to plan everything alone. Like, when you're a college student, you have to think about every single thing you have to do and organize them, right ? And I got pretty lost. I'm glad I was able to notice it early though.
Now, whenever I find free time, I plan few days in advance "I'll go make some shopping there" or "I'll go to a café". Always plan the things I enjoy and want to do. Thanks to this, I can really be satisfied with my private free time, and became better at using it. That's why I started to cook lately. Instead of just wandering around, you can feel a sense of accomplishment when you plan ahead. I think that's the "sense of accomplishment of an adult". I think it makes you kind, and I want to be viewed as somebody kind. Because your heart feels lighter when you plan ahead, and your mental health also influences your body.
Anyway, may it be small or big, I never want to lose that sense of accomplishment.

Her change of consciousness since she became 20

Since I turned 20 years old in April, I've been asked "Did it change anything?" but I don't really feel I've changed. It's not like everything I own suddenly turned around... However, it's true that I've noticed some changes on my body, especially when I look at myself in the mirror. I've been able to spot where I gained some fat and such. That's why I feel pretty fat right now (laughs) But it's not as if it was a real problem for me or that I'm stressed about it. I just think "It's alright if I gained fat" and then I do some massages to try to put it somewhere else, and I diet... Also if my hips gets bigger then it gets easier to have a thin waist, and even though I'd get pretty sad over it in the past, now I use it at my advantage. I just think about doing massages and exercise to make it better. The biggest things that expressed a change in me turning 20 was probably the fact I let my bangs grow ! I've always had my bangs styled in the same way, to the point people would tell me "When will you change it ?", "Will you have the same hairstyle at your wedding ?" (laughs) Why did I let it grow at such a timing ? Because of my eyebrows.

When we were shooting in Hawaii for the "Alo Hello" photobook last year, the staff told me "Don't you think you should change the shape of your eyebrows ?". At that time, I had a big complex about my eyebrows, so I tried a lot to find a shape that would suit me. I loved that straight shape, and a lot of fans told me they loved it too so they would cut their eyebrows the same way. So when I was told this, it was such a shock I wanted to cry. However many other staff members gave me some advices, and when we were talking about such things, I was told "Why don't you try growing up your bangs ?". A part of me always thought about growing up my bangs but I never had the courage to do it. Also, my bangs is an excuse to hide those eyebrows I have a complex about, so if I'd cut it, then I'd feel complexed again. I was scared the things I was protecting myself of would come out. I also learned to pose for pictures with my bangs, so I wouldn't be able to do the same things and such... But as everyone told me I'd look good with it, that I just turned 20, I thought "Why not ?". My mother started to push me to do it, too... And I think the result's great ! Of course at first I'd get angry because the things I hated about me were now highlighted, but I started to get used to it and I felt really stupid for trying to harden up my bangs for such a long time, every single day (laughs) (t/n : Airi is referring to the fact that she always used a ton of hairspray to keep her bangs hard so they wouldn't loose their shape, to be in front of her eyebrows.) Even though I used to always have the same hairstyle, now I can change my hair depending on my mood of the day and such, and it became funnier.

What also helped me is when I learned that bangs wig exists ! At first, I thought of cutting my bangs again, but thanks to these wigs, I don't need to ! I'm able to challenge a lot of hairstyles. This also influenced my make-up a lot. Even though I didn't really change my make-up before, I started to want to try another styles to fit my new hairstyles. Girls can change a lot depending on the make-up and by changing your style, you're also changing your image of yourself, right ? "I want to be cute today", or "I want to look more mature today", you're able to change your image because of all these things, make-up, fashion, and it helped me a lot. I've been told by Tsunku-san "You need to overcome your own boundaries" many times, and I started to think that he was maybe also talking about these kind of things. It's an important thing to have your own preferences, but it's also great to listen to people's opinions about you, and move forward while challenging new things. That way, a new world opens to you. And now, I'm really glad I listened to those people back then. New adults of the same age as me starts to get many preferences, and we like our own way of doing things, but we're also doubting about so many things that we'd like to change but can't change. I really believe you can change thanks to a simple thing, so if you're reading this and doubting about yourself, why don't you try asking some advices to the people who are close to you ?
There's only one thing that bothers me with my long hair... I can't hide the wrinkle I get between my eyes when I squeeze them when it's too dazzling outside during a shooting (laughs)

Gathering informations also became fun

I've talked a lot about beauty and health, still, that doesn't mean I know everything about it ! I think that just sums up what's best for the person I am now, but there are many things I have to learn about and research. When I say this, many people tell me "You're such a hardworker" or "You're weird, Airi" (laughs) I'm somebody who needs to learn about things by herself, and I love to gather informations. I use the net for that, and lurk a lot on NAVER Matome. As it's a website where they list various opinions, I'm like "Some people think that way ?!". I try to pick up advices that would suit me... Like, I believe what I want to believe (laughs) Also, it's important to share informations with people around you, we do that with °C-ute members a lot. If a member uses a make-up tool and tells us it's great, we'll all try it and such. May it be about beauty or health, the fun thing is to notice changes inside you. That's why, gathering informations and researching can't be bad. Don't you feel bad when you can't do something properly and continues to do it in an improper way ? I hate that (laughs) I care about such things.

Stay true to herself

Thanks to all of these, lately I've been gaining a lot more female fans, and more people told me "I'd like to be your friend !". I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but when you're in the same school year as somebody else, you usually pass the same tests right ? So you understand their feelings. As a woman, I want to try out things to show other girls how it can be, too. I also admire other girls and when they write things like "I'm going to an expensive beauty salon !" I'm like "Okay... But I can't do that !" (laughs). Instead, I want people to think "I can do that too !" while watching me. "Airi's doing her best so I have to do my best, too !". Not only about beauty, but about everything I'm talking about in this book. Health, fashion... I'd be happy if it can be useful, for girls and boys. Because I'm happy when I see my fans smile, and when we can meet during lives and events. I'm also receiving many stimulus from fans during handshake events and such. They make me feel confident, and make me love myself more, and that's fun !

So, to all the people who'd like to get more into beauty and healthy habits, the most important thing is to enjoy it first. You have to think about all the things of your daily life that bothers you in a positive way. For example, instead of being disappointed the thing you wanted to buy today is sold out, just think "That means I didn't have to buy it today !", and maybe you'll find an even more beautiful thing after ? Your way of thinking should change thanks to simple things like these. It's not good to ignore your negative feelings though ! The most important thing is to accept every single part of you. It'll make you grow. It's pretty difficult, but you have to think about what happened, and instead of showing regrets, think about what you could do so it never happens again !

That's how I'd like to learn beauty, along with everyone. Even though in 5 years, 10 years from now I'd like to be confident enough to say "Here's what my own style is like!" (laughs) I wonder how it's going to be ? But even if I grow up, I want to keep on being positive, and stay curious about everything. Also, I'd be glad not to stay in my comfort zone, and would like to always search for new challenges. I'd like to become a woman that has dreams and goals, and makes them come true.