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'I model in Ireland so I can help run our sushi bars', says Yomiko


Pictured is top Irish model Yomiko Chen

Pictured is top Irish model Yomiko Chen

Yomiko Chen and Ian Conway

Yomiko Chen and Ian Conway


Pictured is top Irish model Yomiko Chen

She's one of Ireland's most in-demand models but Yomiko Chen says she has turned down high-profile international shows to focus on her business interests here.

The Assets model runs Kokoro sushi bars with her husband Iain Conway and says they are her main priority outside modelling.

"I used to model abroad a lot, but I've decided to cut back because it's easier to keep an eye on the business when I'm based here," she told the Herald.

"In the past year and a half we've opened two new restaurants and we're really busy which is great.


"Modelling in other cities like London was great, but it's a different scene to Dublin - I like the work I get here. It's handier just to be based here and do as many modelling jobs as I can.

"It's quite mixed in Ireland too so I can't do lots of different jobs - I'm not doing just look books or catwalks," she added.

When they first went into business together, Iain had one shop on Liffey Street. They've since expanded with another on South William Street and one off Merrion Row. Yomiko (28) recently admitted it was stressful when they added new stores.

"Everything was new for me - learning about the business was hard, and we were so stressed," she said.

The happy couple tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in Dublin in May and are set to have two big celebrations in Asia in October.

Yomiko grew up around the world, with Tokyo as her base as a child, before settling in Ireland at the age of 16.

"We will have two big weddings, in Japan and China," said the model, who has family in both countries.

"It's more to do with a culture thing.

"Each of them will want to throw a big wedding for me, it's also to say a thank you to them too. "In China the bride wears red and in Japan they wear white with pale powder make up," she added.

The catwalk regular will also be working with the Dublin Fashion Festival this September.

"This is first year where I'll be really involved. I'll be at all the events in the evening and I'm really looking forward to it," she said.

"There will be lots of big shows and fashion events and it really brings the city to life.


"The modelling work can come and go in the summer so all the girls are really looking forward to the festival because it marks the start of the new season," she added.

Yomiko was on hand to announce that Canon will be the official camera partner to this year's Dublin Fashion Festival which runs from September 7 to 13.

Canon Ireland will also sponsor the Canon Young Fashion Photographer of the Year competition.

It aims to help amateur fashion photographers gain experience and exposure in the fashion industry.

The closing date for applicants is August 20, and the winning photographer will receive €500 worth of Canon products and will get to photograph a fashion show at London Fashion Weekend in September.