You never know where life is going to take you. That was the message from our February guest speaker, Maxine Van-Cliffe Arakawa, who has had a decades-long career as a fashion stylist, make-up artist, and fashion show director in New York and Japan. She shared her personal experiences dealing with bi-polar disorder and gave her candid advice to women on how to overcome their own struggles by being open, accepting themselves, and developing a strong support system.
When you’re young, you’ve got all these opportunities, she said, first describing how she went to New York from her native England in the early 70s, following her sister, and started working as a make-up artist. She was there for several years, and when she met her first husband, she followed him to Japan.
She then took us on an entertaining tour of influential people in the fashion world who she’s worked with: Vivienne Westwood, Yoji Yamamoto, Anna Wintour, amongst many others, while showing us issues of her current project, Maxine Digital Magazine.
Her early career was stressful, she said, but if you manage to turn it around it can be good stress. You manage to meet a lot of interesting people, even presidents, heads of state, people in the high end of business, she said. People are what makes anybody’s life work, Maxine says.
But one day, when she was having lunch with a friend in London, she suddenly felt that she couldn’t do anything any more. She was overworked, while also trying to fit into a Japanese culture that was different from her own. She managed to get her car, and drive to her parents’ house. From then, she went through one of the most difficult times in her life: spending five years in the U.K., living alone, and rarely seeing her family in Japan and her friends. However, she got help, and learned to deal with depression and bi-polar disorder.
The recovery process took time, but it forced her to reassess her life and consider what was really important. She accepted “her own fallibilities as a human being,” which led her to seek help. Maxine said that she never could imagine at the time that she would be able to bounce back the way she did and found her own magazine. However, she added that if she had not gone through that experience, she would not be able to achieve what she does now; it made her a much stronger person.
Maxine’s experience has led her to share her story and give back to others– to her, if it helps even one person feel better and seek help, then it was worth it. Her advice is to reach out to any women you think can help because they can be your lifeline, give the best advice, and be there for you any time.
When Maxine came back to Japan, she had to rebuild her relationships with her daughter and husband, and learn to focus on the things that really matter. She says what she went through made her a better person, and in fact she had been given a new life, chance, and experience, particularly thanks to her family. Her current project, Maxine Digital Magazine, is a collaboration of art and fashion with them.
December 2018 FEW Bonenkai Recap
The Fabulous FEW 2018 Bonenkai Featured “All That Glitters” On the chilly night of December 7, 2018, more than 70 members, guests, and supporters joined FEW for the All That Glitters-themed Bonenkai at Dumbo Bar and Grill on the premises of The Strings Hotel Omotesando. The glamorous atmosphere of the restaurant matched perfectly with the […]Published on 14th January 2019
Sponsor Spotlight: Blu Jam Cafe
Home. A word that holds much meaning for so many people. Blu Jam Cafe has called Tokyo home for two years. Chef Kamil Majer, founder of the original Los Angeles branch crafted a menu and philosophy truly fit for anyone. It adorns options not so easily found in the city – vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, to […]Published on 2nd January 2019
January 2019 Sponsor Offers and Member News
Check out the latest offers and opportunities from our Sponsors and other FEW Community Events here! Our Sponsors are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. Visit our Sponsors page to learn more about all of FEW’s Sponsors, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services benefiting […]Published on 1st January 2019
November Monthly Meeting Recap – Leading the Way for Strong Women in the Corporate World
The FEW November Monthly Meeting was a collaborative event organized together with ADIDAS at their headquarters in Roppongi. FEW president Riya Rapp was one of the night’s panelists, along with ReebokONE Ambassador and fitness entrepreneur Erika Yamaguchi, and President of Johnson & Johnson K.K. Mario Stein. FEW programs co-director Jackie Steele moderated the panel.Published on 4th December 2018
December 2018 Sponsor Offers & Member News
Check out the latest offers and opportunities from our Sponsors and other FEW Community Events here! Our Sponsors are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. Visit our Sponsors page to learn more about all of FEW’s Sponsors, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services benefiting […]Published on 1st December 2018
New Year Brunch Mixer at Trunk (Hotel)
Join us for delicious food and great networking over Japanese “one soup and three side dishes” -style brunch at Shibuya's classy Trunk Kitchen after a long winter break!
Believe Your Story with Tanja Bach
Come join us for a hands-on workshop to polish your brand story and self-confidence at our brand new venue, Tokyo Chapter in Akasaka.
DIY Product Photography Workshop with TopTia
A workshop for all who want take better photos of objects, either with a smartphone or a camera, but don’t know where to start – TopTia Photography will guide you through the basics of taking compelling photos! Recommended especially for those whose business lean on beautiful photos!