EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH COVER MODEL: AMBER COURTNEY
One of our OG Luxe Beauties! We are so excited to have you as our June Cover Model! What have you been up too?
Thank you for having me, Brandee! I am so happy to connect with Luxe Kurves. It has been incredible to watch the brand grow and thrive, and I am excited to be a part of it this month. My life is very full these days with traveling, building a family, networking within the military community, running businesses, and starting new ones. Life is certainly fast-paced and dynamic these days! I definitely enjoyed my time relaxing in the coastal area of Kamakura, Japan for this shoot. It was a much needed!
Please tell our readers, how did you get your start into modeling?
My first introduction to modeling was in a mall. I was approached by someone promising success and fame, for a low price, of course. My experience with this modeling school was short-lived, but it did spark my passion for beauty that I have carried with me my whole life. I made connections through networking and got involved in quite a few local runway shows and photo opportunities to gain more experience. I even graced campaigns for Team Kurvy during its debut! When I was not taking photos, I was still busy in the industry with artistry freelancing for a variety of well-known makeup brands. I kept pushing and eventually ended up in New York with the honor to walk the runway for Full Figure Fashion Week!
Even during college, I pursued my passions relentlessly when I traveled abroad to Paris my last year of undergrad. I had the privilege of working with captivating photographers and the honor of assisting Badgley Mischkas’ team during their stay for Paris Fashion Week.
Life took a turn when I got married and had our two wonderful boys! Not many professionals talk about how difficult these transitions can be. I went from being extremely confident to anxiety-ridden. I dealt with post-partum depression like many moms, and at the end of the day, I had to remind myself who I was. I am powerful. All the beauty around me is a reflection of who I am.
Now I am living overseas with my amazing family, building generational wealth through beauty and business. I’m so thankful for my journey so far!
You currently live in Japan with your husband and beautiful family! How was it adjusting from living in the states to overseas?
Living overseas in Asia has been a big adjustment for us, but the language barrier is particularly difficult. The Japanese language and culture are complex. Learning to be humble and grateful has really helped me to better enjoy the complexities of this beautiful place. We are loving the country and making the most of our experience here.
How have you immersed yourself into the Japanese culture? What is one thing you would take from the culture and continue doing when you come back to the states?
My children go to Japanese schools, we enjoy local cuisine whenever possible, and I collect and drink plenty of Umeshu (Japanese plum wine)! One thing that I will keep with me is the sense of respect that is so prevalent in everything the Japanese people do. The way they live, through how they drive, care for others, eat, and preserve all life, shows how a tranquil lifestyle can be instilled through respect for all that you do, see, and touch. The benefits of living a peaceful life like that are countless and vital to body and soul.
You have to tell us about the fashion scene in Japan! Give us all the tea!
Fashion in Japan is so unique. It can be vivid and striking or minimal and sleek. You get the best of both worlds here. It’s no surprise to see a young woman wearing 5 -inch loafers, bright pink hair, neon handbags, and leather accessories walking down the streets of Harajuku. On the other hand you’ll commonly see minimal luxury looks- featuring tailored hems, satin finishes, plush dusters, and refined elegant accessories. I like seeing both ends of the spectrum come together in a country as unique as its fashion.
How does the plus size industry in Japan come to the states?
The plus-size industry is growing here in Japan, but there is still a long way to go. I believe the industry has such a minimal impact because of the cultural norms that are so prevalent here. The idea of what beauty is has been so strong and fixed for so long that it will take some time to shake things up. There are a few of Japanese comedians, for example Naomi Watanabe and Yuriyan Retriever who have helped create platforms for body positive movements. I think the plus-size fashion in the US could help the industry in Japan to come out of its shell, bridge the gap, and shine the light on this void.
Have you faced with any racism being in another country during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement? If so, how did you handle it?
Here in Japan, I have experienced prejudice and discrimination, but it is less blatant than in the US. I think most Japanese citizens don’t have the historical knowledge base or connection to our history as Black Americans, so I believe most of the discrimination is toward foreigners in general and their desire to avoid the unknown. This isn’t to minimize any obvious racism that does happen to our brothers and sisters here in Japan, and older generations can be very judgmental and ignorant. During the height of the BLM, I did notice that many communities in Tokyo and Osaka spoke up and joined in peaceful protests. I’d say overall most of my personal interactions in Japan have been extremely positive and compassionate!
June is our summer issue! How will you be spending this summer after post COVID?
Traveling whenever possible! I love exploring new places and taking in the sites. Beauty can be found all around us. Traveling the world expands your mind and drives creativity so I want to enjoy it while I can.
Tell us one of your favorite summer memories?
My favorite summer memories include delicious chardonnays from Napa Valley, ocean views, and the best conversations with beautiful girlfriends- Seaside luxury paired with memorable laughs!
What is next for Amber Courtney Duncan
I look forward to staying connected to the beauty world wherever I go. I am excited to continue my work alongside my girls @25krepair_ as we continue to grow our credit and financial advisory business. Staying grounded with my passion for beauty, fashion, and education will allow me to continue to build the foundation of a skin care brand I’m bringing to life. My future plans also include creating captivating images that tell stories through beauty, so you will definitely be seeing more of me.
Talk to you again soon!