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Devon Aoki, 25, checked in with OK! this week to chat about her action thriller War, in theaters Aug. 24. The model and Sin City star was thrilled to set the record straight about our burning topics.
Fiction: She posed nude for a book called Nudes.
It’s funny. People have been saying that, and I saw the book. I’m the only person in the book who is wearing clothes. I’m wearing a dress. I’m like, "Why am I in this book?" because it’s nudes and I’m not nude at all. I’m wearing a dress. I don’t think I knew it was for a nude book, because I was wearing clothes and that doesn’t work with the whole concept. I had shot with that photographer and he probably wanted to use the pictures and I’m sure my management OK’d the pictures because I was clothed, so that is not actually true.
Fact: She doesn’t pluck her eyebrows — unless it’s for a role.
For my role in War, I had my eyebrows waxed. I really didn’t like the way it looked, but because it was for the role, I felt like it was something my character would have done and it was necessary. I felt like the look was really severe. When I was off set, I felt like I looked weird, like, "Wow, I have no eyebrows." I had really tiny, thin eyebrows. I have really bushy eyebrows naturally. I don’t pluck my eyebrows at all and they’re really thick and unkempt and ungroomed. It was weird for me to have these skinny eyebrows. I felt like one of these Fortune 500 power CEOs walking around.
Fact: Her dad owns Benihana steakhouse.
I was basically raised in Benihana. I had every birthday party since I was 2 at Benihanas. The coolest thing for me as far as the Benihana legacy for me is my dad’s story. His struggle, what he’s been able to achieve being someone from another country coming to the U.S. in his 20s and being a wrestler. He came in on a scholarship going to Columbia University, and his struggle to "make it" and to establish himself as a business man after years and years of a grueling work schedule and, not only that, doing jobs that weren’t glamorous at all. He was an ice cream truck man for a summer so he could make enough money to open his first restaurant. Benihana, to me, is his story and my mom’s story because they met in New York, and that was around the time he had started establishing himself and he had gotten some success from his restaurant. She was there from the very beginning of his success and watched his journey and was his support system. The Benihana story for me is my parents.
Fiction: He financed her movie and modeling career.
I hear all sorts of weird things about myself and "Oh, her dad must be able to do X, Y and Z for her," but the fact of the matter is I’ve lived with my mom pretty much my whole life, and my mom’s been incredibly helpful as far as helping with my modeling career starting at 13 years old. She was the one who traveled with me and made sure that I was looked after until an age where I could travel alone and be all right.
I think people like to think I’m in some way financially dependent on my family — on my dad — but the fact of the matter is I’ve been emancipated from my father since I was 14 years old. That’s something people don’t know or understand.
Fact: She’s taken.
Yeah, I do have a boyfriend. He’s amazing. I don’t want to say too much about him, because he probably wants to remain anonymous. If it was up to me, I’d be screaming it to the high heavens because I’m pretty proud of him.
What I can say is one of his hobbies is that he collects rare and antiquarian books. I’m really into writing, and one of my favorite authors is the poet Walt Whitman. For my birthday this year, he got me a first edition Leaves of Grass, which was really charming and lovely.
I met him through friends, and I’ve been dating him for six months now. It seems to be going pretty good. The first few months of dating are full of questions and you’re not really comfortable with the person yet, and you’re trying to discover them like the same way you’d discover a book. You don’t want to rush through it in one day. You want to take your time and get to know them and find out what makes them tick. Let them know that you’re looking for something more serious. I don’t do the one-night stand thing. That’s not for me. It’s been really interesting.
He’s really fun and well-traveled. We both travel a lot, so that makes things difficult as far as seeing each other as much as we’d like to, but at the same time, it’s nice to take things slow, and that’s what we’re doing.
Fact: She’s close to her family.
My mom came to Vancouver with me to film War. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get her to come with me on these jobs. It doesn’t happen very often, but once in awhile, she’ll take the time out and travel with me, which is always really nice because when I’m not working and there’s downtime, she’s my mom and my best friend. It’s someone to hang out with. We walked around down to the waterfront and tried different oysters from the Bay Area.
I have lots of brothers and sisters, two of whom are younger than myself, so I rely on my phone, text messaging or e-mailing to stay in the loop and communicate when I’m away for big chunks of time.
Fact: Showbiz isn’t easy.
In modeling, my height was a big challenge to overcome, because I was pretty much the shortest girl on the runway whenever I was doing the catwalk. The clothes didn’t fit and the shoes didn’t fit. It was an issue, but luckily, it didn’t prevent me from working.
As far as acting is concerned, I consider myself a beginner. I haven’t faced all the challenges I have to face in acting. I’ve been fortunate to work with great people and do projects I really respect. I think the action stuff is challenging. I started as a model. I’m pretty athletic, but I’m not very strong. I grew up doing ballet and dance. I’ve had to harness whatever strength I had and try to be able to use weapons that were heavy and cumbersome and make it look good.
By Valerie Nome