Last week, mannequin Yumi Nu visited her agent for what she thought was a routine interview and profession examine in.
But whereas she was answering questions earnestly, “My agents were in on this little plan,” the 25-year-old advised The Post. Midway by means of the “interview,” Sports Illustrated Swimsuit honcho MJ Day and different staffers from the bikini bible popped out with a digicam crew as the duvet of this yr’s journal, that includes Nu, stuffed a close-by monitor.
“I was processing the surprise of it not being a real interview and that this was actually the SI cover reveal. I could not speak. I had full body chills. I was shaking, I was crying. They really got me good,” mentioned Nu.
Her first name was to her boyfriend Dimitri Dinas.
“He was freaking out. He was like, ‘If I were a teenage boy, I’d have a poster of you in my room. Now I’m courting an SI cowl star.’ “
Yumi Nu on the cowl actual on May 11.Getty Images for SI Swimsuit
He has many causes to be happy with his girlfriend. It’s been a stretch of profession highlights for the plus-sized mannequin and singer who’s of Dutch and Japanese extraction. (Her mom is the daughter of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, and she or he is the niece of DJ Steve Aoki). She was a part of an ensemble of supermodels to grace the duvet of the enduring September Vogue situation, and in April, she was the primary Asian curve mannequin to land the duvet of Vogue Japan.
“It’s amazing. I’m on cloud nine. This is nothing I could prepare for. It’s unexpected. I feel like we’re in a place right now where people are making space for more diversity on magazine covers. It’s a big time for Asian-American people in media. I know I play a big role in representation in body diversity and race diversity, and I love to be a role model and representative of the plus-size Asian community.”
Born in New Jersey, Nu moved to Maryland as a tot, and at 14, her household went out to California, the place she attended highschool. As a younger little one, she began her profession in entrance of the digicam, however the first stint was fleeting.
Model Devon Aoki and DJ Steve Aoki are Nu’s aunt and uncle. WireImage
“My mom had experience in commercial modeling, so when we lived in New Jersey, she would take me to do some kids catalogs. When you are a toddler and screaming and crying, you have no sense of self control. She knew I wasn’t enjoying it,” mentioned Nu.
The magnificence returned to modeling when she was 12, the identical age she began singing classes. By 15, she was writing her personal songs and realistically noticed her future within the music world.
“I wasn’t sure where the [modeling] industry was headed. I think I was a size 10 then, and the only people working were either a size 2 or a size 14. I really had my sights set on music, but then the industry left more room for me to be a part of it. Once the trends of inclusion came upon us, it was easier for me to make a living and a career out of it. It was like, ‘Oh, there are so many possibilities, and there are no bounds on what anyone can do now,’ ” she mentioned.
She is fast to credit score Ashley Graham and Sports Illustrated for fostering that seismic shift. In 2016, Graham landed the duvet, shattering norms and opening the door for quite a lot of physique shapes to take middle stage.
“Her SI cover changed so many people’s lives, and I think it changed the industry because you have this legendary publication putting its first curve model on the cover,” she mentioned, including that Hunter McGrady has additionally served as an inspiration.
Yumi Nu attends the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2021 Issue Concert at Hard Rock Live! in Hollywood, Florida. Getty Images
But Nu doesn’t should look past her household tree for perception and help, notably her mom’s sister, Devon Aoki.
“She has a cult following and will be a classic model for the rest of time. She has really helped me this year now that I am working with a lot of bigger names, like Steven Meisel. She has helped me stay grounded and remember why I am doing what I am doing.”
On Friday she can also be releasing her EP, “Hajime,” which is Japanese for “the beginning.”
But as Nu is multitasking in each the music and modeling world, she is trying ahead to a break, which incorporates lounging and episodes of Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.”
“I don’t think hustle culture is something I want to promote,” she mentioned. “I want to enjoy life.”