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Finding That “This Is It!” Feeling: How Editor-In-Chief Misako Umeda Strives For Greatness Each And Every Day

Misako Umeda Editor-in-chief at &ROSY

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MISAKO UMEDA

Misako Umeda is currently the editor-in-chief at &ROSY, a fashion and beauty magazine geared towards middle-aged women. Umeda’s career at Takarajimasha Publishing began in 1997 when she joined the CUTIE Magazine editorial department. Shortly thereafter, she joined Sweet Magazine as a beauty editor before eventually becoming deputy editor-in-chief. She became editor-in-chief of & ROSY in September of 2016. In addition to her editorial pursuits, Umeda is also the dedicated mother of two children, ages nine and six.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Yasuo How long have you been editor-in-chief at & ROSY?

Misako I’m currently in my third year. Around age forty, most women are pretty confident about who they are, what suits their sense of style, and what matters to them. & ROSY isn’t only about styling and makeup tutorials—our audience is full of sophisticated, well-minded women who know the true meaning of beauty. They’re refined, experienced, and classy. 

Yasuo Are you referring to women with their own sense of style?

Misako Well, that varies from person to person. Some women think it’s better to accept and adapt, while others prefer to derive their own unique looks. I mean more so in terms of aging—it’s a natural phenomenon, so we try to encourage our readers to acknowledge it and accept themselves.

Yasuo Has your audience embraced that idea?

Misako & ROSY frequently hosts seminars, and more often than not, we confront questions about aging. Many women are worried about the process and aren’t sure how to best prepare. We live in an information-oriented society, so it can be hard to parse through all that one might find and then decide what’s best for them. Even I feel like I don’t understand things sometimes, which can make it hard to feel satisfied. 

Yasuo I totally agree with you. As we move through life, different unforeseen challenges pop up that can make it hard to stay optimistic.  

Misako Ultimately, I find that my dissatisfaction with things fuels me with a will to live. I enjoy questioning life and searching for answers.

Yasuo In that sense, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little dissatisfaction—I actually find it to be rather normal. Dissatisfaction leads me to create my own products, something that I genuinely believe in. 

Misako I don’t think good can exist without bad. I’m very particular about going above and beyond at things. Some people might be okay with the status quo, but I truly want to love everything I produce.  

Yasuo Persistence is key. I’m sure that passion is evident in everything that you create.

Misako Once during the presentation of a new product, the makeup artist RUMIKO said, “I won’t just say O.K.—I have to get the ‘this is it’ feeling and I create a product that I truly love.” Hearing that from her was so inspiring. I even went up to her afterwards to express my agreement!

Getting The Full Picture

Yasuo Have you always worked for beauty departments?

Misako I worked at CUTIE for about two years before transitioning to Sweet. I stayed there for seventeen years before ending up at & ROSY. I’ve managed both fashion and beauty for a long time, but eventually began noticing how beauty magazines feature relatively no long shots, only tight close-ups of a model’s face. That’s definitely not the best or most accurate way to reflect the diversity that we see in the real world. At the time, we didn’t have a beauty based magazine under Takarajimasha, and I was considering switching to a new publisher with a specific beauty publication. Shortly thereafter, they announced the addition of & ROSY. It was such lucky timing. 

Yasuo Your thoughts may have manifested that. In the United States, we have Allure. Other than that, it’s mainly fashion magazines that shoot close-up beauty features. Though I do feel like they do a good job of incorporating different style shots. 

Misako That’s exactly what I wanted to do, so I made & ROSY. Since it involves both beauty and fashion, many journalists and stylists are interested in working with us. I think our magazine has a distinct visual style that sets us apart from the rest. 

Yasuo It’s not always about the face. Sometimes, the entire image exudes style, elegance, and nuance in a much more impactful way.

Misako The PR units of domestic fashion brands aren’t as cutting-edge as those in the beauty industry. But, because they’re highly stylish, they’re able to seamlessly combine contemporary makeup and fashion trends in an eye-catching way. 

Yasuo & ROSY’s images are so dreamy—they always contain hints of unexpected beauty. I find it quite moving.  

Misako That’s right. We want to present visuals that tickle your imagination.

Yasuo The idea of beauty resonates in people’s hearts and minds, and & ROSY seems to truly understand that.

Misako Many people ask for personal advice on our Instagram Livestreams. Responding to each individual question is hard, but most women don’t have any other outlet where they can discuss such issues. It would be great if our staff could also serve as personal hair and makeup consultants for our readers. 

Yasuo I also think that cultivating an honest staff is so important. Readers don’t like to see magazines endorsing one or two particular brands, because then they think it’s all about money. I would like to see editors be more transparent about the products they’re using from all across the market.   

Misako Absolutely. I want the magazine to be a place where everyone feels comfortable seeking and receiving real, honest beauty advice. Our readers should know that we don’t push products for profit or to satisfy current trends.

Trust Your Intuition

Yasuo Haruka Igawa is &ROSY’s current cover model—I’m a huge fan. What made you select her?

Misako Well, she’s close in age to our target audience. Not only that, but she’s so alluring and classy.  Collaborating with her has been so much fun; we definitely hope to keep working with her.  

Yasuo She seems so authentic and accepting of physical changes. It’s really wonderful.  

Misako It’s great how she seems so effortless, although I’m sure she works quite hard to maintain her good looks. 

Yasuo Are you inspired by her at all? 

Misako I can’t say I’m particularly influenced by her—our professions are so different, and what looks good on her doesn’t mean that it will look good on me. However, she does give us a lot of great insight, and is so cooperative with our staff. 

When I asked Mrs. Igawa if she had any words for our readers about her makeup style, she told me that everyone has different facial structures, so what looks good on her might not suit someone else.  

Yasuo The audience doesn’t need to look like Ms. Igawa—you just want them to be inspired while remaining true to themselves. Everyone is so different, and I feel like a person’s demeanor really adds to their overall charm. You may look great but have a very difficult personality. That’s why I think it’s wrong to encourage people to look more like celebrities. 

Misako That’s true. Many people still want that advice though. I can only try to give them the best advice that I can.

Yasuo When I teach department store beauty staff, I’m always careful when encouraging them to experiment. Although I love to give advice, I wonder if it’s just as important to let them think for themselves and then learn from their mistakes. You have to have confidence in your own ability.

Misako Exactly. That’s why & ROSY contains a few “How To” pages—we want our audience to be inspired and build on their own skill sets.

Yasuo You can always flip through magazines for a little visual inspiration.

Misako Right, like this model has nice eyeliner on. 

Yasuo Exactly, admire how it looks simple, natural. 

Misako I also disagree with the categorization of skin tones, like is your base more blue or yellow? Although it’s nice to know which type you are, it can be quite limiting to think that way.  

Yasuo Using proper colors can be so effective. Once you know your skin tone, playing around with different shades is fun. I really wish people would experiment more.

Misako When it comes to adding color, people often pigeonhole themselves. It’s fun to mix and match different shades and clothes! 

 

Color Is Key

Yasuo What are some of your favorite products or styles? 

Misako This color on my nails is called “Nail Classy”—it’s part of the magazine’s collaboration with uka, which was supervised by Kiho Watanabe. I wanted a more beige shade that emphasizes the elegance of an aging hand. 

Misako These earrings are by one of my favorite jewelry brands, MARIHA. I love the way they sway around my ears, and the freshwater pearls feel so delicate.

Misako As a middle-aged woman, I can sometimes lose sight of what’s trending. To keep things fresh, I like trying various colors. Initially, some shades seem quite strong, but when you actually put them on, they’re not that intense. I like making selections depending on my mood, which helps keep things fun.

 

Photos / Interview :  Yasuo Yoshikawa

Text : Mikako Koyama