By Lisa Chou
It’s not difficult to get in the good graces of Hawaii-born Japanese-American model, Derek Yamada. First of all, love fashion!It also helps if you love champagne. It doesn’t hurt either to love the Boom Boom Room atop the Standard Hotel. While you’re there, have a couple bottles of bubbly with Derek, admire the stars, and enjoy Manhattan as the back drop. You might want to learn to play tennis (if you don’t already) but do it on a clay court in Central Park. I would also suggest a gymnastics class or some hip-hop dancing before getting a glass of Stoli and soda in the East Village. For a bite, transport the two of you to Williamsburg and end up at Zenkichi, which feels like a lovely Japanese village. You get extra points if you’re a good friend to people you care about and have in your closet, every piece from the Gucci Fall collection. Oh, don’t forget to surprise Derek with Cartier’s Love Bracelet in platinum.!
It’s no wonder that Derek Yamada was born in the sign of the Taurus. The bulls are known to be fond of earthly pleasures, which for Derek, are “fashion, food, nightlife, and good friends.” Tauruses are also known to be stubborn and this “hard-headedness” is what kept Derek focused and charging toward his goals — one of his firstwas to “do a music video.” He started dancing at the age of 11 with his first professional job as the backup dancer for Mickey Mouse for the Kids of the Kingdom in Disneyworld. Growing up by the beaches of Hawaii, he considered the pace of life “too slow and too laidback” so he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career as a performer. Derek fell in love with NYC in 2001 while dancing for N’ Sync at the MTV’s Video Music Awards. He came back and has been here since 2002; he has “no dramatic stories of discovery, just knew some friends, and wanted a big city life”.
When I met up with Derek, he was en route to a sample sale of British designer Andrew Buckler. Derek likes the designer’s “edgy, rock n’ roll style” which suits well his own “conservative rock n’ roll style,” a mixing of vintage pieces the new. He shops at boutiques and has style recommendations for everyone: “Less is more. Don’t try to overdo fashion. A woman should have on a nice pair of shoes and a great handbag. A guy should have a nice watch. Wear it all with confidence.”
Derek is represented by B1 in the US and Elite in Asia. He admits that he is modeling for fun while he figures out his next step, which will be “something creative, and something to do with fashion”. You will find this self-proclaimed “night owl, a vampire, so to speak” having fun socializing and “head bopping” in clubs around town while he figures it out.