Let’s Shoot: IKEA Japan

Since the commercial is now airing across Japan (YAY!), my gag order has been officially lifted. I can now tell you about the amazing shoot I did for IKEA Japan.

First: the audition. It was long. Because most foreign actors and models don’t speak Japanese, I met my booker at Meguro Station so she could translate and make sure I understood direction. As we walked to the studio she filled me in on the details. “Ethnically ambiguous mom with two wild Hapa boys who drive her crazy.”

At any audition, I immediately look to see who else was up for the same role as me. Hardly any, as far as I could tell, but loads of children-mostly boys. I filled out the necessary paperwork and was immediately whisked into a makeup chair for a hair change and touch up- I knew right away this was a big production—MUAs are NEVER at auditions!

Then I was paired with several sets of kids, photographed several group and individual shots- and then- ping pong. With a slipper as the paddle. I’ve been asked to do some weird stuff at castings, but slipper ping pong was a first for me. It was actually pretty fun, if a bit trickier than I expected.

Once I got word that I’d booked the shoot- I was given a very explicit call sheet with all of the deets- and again, met the booker at the location station (hey that rhymes!).

The house we shot in was a studio house, in a studio neighborhood, about ninety minutes from my apartment. A perfect little set street with gorgeous Western homes. When I arrived, I met the crew and the rest of the cast: my two sons. The first order of business was to shoot the photos for the wall- they’d asked me for modeling shots- which I gave them, but in the end they did a separate shoot of me with the boys for verisimilitude.

Our lunch boxes... how cute is this?

Our lunch boxes… how cute is this?

The studio house

crew at work

The shoot was beyond fun- often shoots in the States are pressed for time and there’s a fair bit of stress to get the shot list done quickly- and if there’s a lighting or tech failure- watch out. But this shoot was so mellow, the crew played with the kids (they even had candy and toys for the boys!).


The director later told me that IKEA also did a casting in Los Angeles for this shoot and I was chosen out of the 80+ actresses there, on top of the Tokyo casting, which goes to show you: even if you only see three other actresses or models at a casting here- it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a greater chance of booking. I was beyond lucky to get this job, and am so happy that it’s my first big job here. Such a lucky girl.

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