Remembering exactly where and when I met someone I have known a long time is always a challenge for me. Not so with Keiko Boxall. Even though it was almost a decade ago, I remember the moment as if it was yesterday. This was several years before I started working as a writer.  In fact I was a busy mum of three with a home business – personally creating over 120 custom dance costumes a year for up to four schools.

My daughter was 17 and had just started dipping her toes into the fashion world by working locally as a freelance model. It wasn’t her career goal, but she loved the whole process – hair, make-up, dressing up and most of all – being on stage. One unique designer she liked to work with was presenting a fashion show at the Ayden Art Gallery. While I never viewed the show as it was my daughter’s work, I did stay around for the fittings and runway prep. 

This lovely, energetic, utterly fashionable woman sporting a smile from ear to ear was in charge. What a gift for a young model.  Her encouragement to each of the ladies was upbeat and full of positive reinforcement – she KNEW they would be wonderful, so they did too.  She happily strutted her stuff an example was needed and encouraged them to have fun with it. Most of all, she created a positive environment that brought out the best in each model.

This woman was Keiko Boxall. I have been her number one fan since that day and am honoured that we have grown to become friends.

1) What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?

I have been a housewife and mother for over thirty years. I sometimes work as a runway coach and produce fashion shows through my business – Studio Keiko.  I’m also a fashion blogger for a Japanese online magazine called Cradle Our Spirit. I write once a month.

2) Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?

I owned a modelling agency in Tokyo and worked for the Tokyo collection and other major fashion shows. I also traveled and lived in the States and Paris where I recruited international models. I’ve been sharing these experiences with other people since I moved to Vancouver.

3) What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?

  • The most important thing in life is love and peace, shown by giving and sharing with others and helping them. We only live once. I want to do my best at every moment of my life.
  • And living in North Vancouver I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by nature. Every day I take a walk in the forest.
  • Healthy food and life and loving family and friends make everything worthwhile.

4) Highest moment so far?

The highest moment of my life was giving birth to my son! I decided rather late to have a child and it was a great decision.

5) What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?

I want to help young new models see what the fashion business is like.  I respect alternative fashion, but my real passion is to work at an international level, whatever the scale. I want to introduce local models to the international market. I’m also planning to help ordinary Japanese people and others to walk with confidence. In addition, I want to produce more fashion shows using local designers. It will be nice to find sponsors who could pay for the event.

6) Who and/or what inspires you?

The designer I respect and find most inspiring is Yohji Yamamoto. As many people know, I wear mostly black — ha ha! That’s because of him and I love what I wear!  He’s actually quite shy. But his work shows his passion.

7) How do you personally define success?

Success can be money. And it’s nice when it comes. But when I see my students gain international respect I’m happy. When the fashion show I produced goes well, I am happy. That’s my business success.  Anyway,  my success in life is to make my surroundings happy. My feeling comes naturally thanks to my mother. My mother hardly thought about herself.  She did everything for others, especially for her husband. I didn’t want to be like her in that way,  yet I can see my mother in me.

I still feel I am so happy when others are happy. That is also my success.

8) Advice for someone wanting to embrace this career? 

As with any career, true success and satisfaction will only come if you follow your heart. Professionalism needs love, care and organization. You also need a good eye for quality both in models and in fashion. As well as having good judgement, you must be honest. You need to have a good head for financial dealings so that you can pay everyone. And it is essential to be clear about what you want from each model or fashion show you produce. You really must know what you are doing. To do all this and to be accepted internationally takes a lot of experience. 

Keiko Boxall’s Links:

Website –

Cradle Our Spirit Magazine –

Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn Wilson is a freelance writer, editor and author of Life Outside The Box: The Extraordinary Journey of 10 Unique Individuals. Over the last decade she has interviewed and written on the lives of over 150 people from all walks of life,  has co-owned an innovative fashion magazine from 2007-2012 and since 2006 has worked with Raine Magazine in NYC where her current role is International Associate Editor. Interviewing is a true passion for Wilson who believes it is the stories shared by REAL PEOPLE living REAL LIVES that will define our generation. and


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