Miss Grand Japan is Japan’s premier beauty pageant for extraordinary women who strive to make a difference in the world. Eriko Yoshii is Miss Grand Japan’s Head Executive Chairperson and the representative director of a translation and interpretation company called Pear Inc. As the host of Miss Grand Japan, Eriko has the opportunity to combine her passions with her work, sending Japan’s contestants to competitions all over the world.
- Over the course of the last six years, Eriko’s held several different titles, including:
- Miss Universe Japan Akita Prefecture representative (2012)
- Miss Grand International Japan representative (2013)
- Miss World Japan finalist (2014)
- Miss Intercontinental Japan representative (2014)
- Miss Global International Japan representative (2015)
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Eriko about her involvement with beauty pageants over the years. Learn about her road to beauty pageantry, her dedication to making a difference, and more, in the short Q&A below.
What led you to start working with beauty pageants?
In 2013, I was Miss Grand Japan winner, and had the opportunity to enter the World Miss Japan contest. This happened before the Miss Grand Tokyo organization had ever been set up. I had to go through training and preparation all by myself, and compared with other countries, I survived with very little support. I vividly remember feeling lonely and regretful during this period of time, but I never lost my will to challenge the world ahead of me. I wanted to share all my learnings throughout this experience, through Miss Grand Japan, to people all around the world. This was the reason I set up Miss Grand Tokyo’s administrative office in Tokyo.
There have been three international Miss Grand competitions since I joined this game. When I set up the administrative office, I was often met with skepticism, people didn’t believe that a young girl like me, was capable of running such a competition, especially among the likes of other famous beauty pageants. In the beginning, I ran the entire operation from finding sponsors, to coaching finalists, providing art direction on stage, on top of providing support for the world pageant competitions. As you can imagine, there were nights where I couldn’t sleep, where I’d cry from the mistakes I had made. But I really believe that as I have both experienced both on stage and behind the scenes work, I have something . really valuable to provide by introducing a new twist to these contests.
What’s the biggest difference between other pageants and Miss Grand Japan?
Miss Grand Japan doesn’t seek to create doll like contestants that can be controlled by the convenience of an adult society. It’s very difficult for humans to judge another human, full stop. That is why I’ve . aimed to produce a clean and open pageant organization, to guide strong and independent contestants from their bodies and souls. The biggest difference between us and other pageant organizations is that we encourage our finalists to think for themselves. It’s not easy for one girl to change the world, but I believe in the power of the elected few coming together to channel their power in the right direction, which will hopefully work towards making the influence and impact needed to make a difference. Every activity I go through for Miss Grand Japan is only the starting point for this big dream of mine. I don’t want any of my finalists to just attend the contest — I want them to have this experience to convey a strong message to the rest of the world, embracing the truly powerful being that they are.
Who are some of your mentors?
I see each of my beauty pageant friends from all over the world as mentors. In Japan, there aren’t many who have the experience I have for both guiding and participating in pageants, so in that regard, it has been a repetitive trial and error, whilst putting myself out there in the world competition.
At the world pageant competition, I learned how to do my makeup, I got a producer to teach me how to walk and look great, learned from other country directors about what it takes to carry off pageant fashion. Thanks to these experiences, I learned about the hardships and severity of what you need to have ready to take on the world beauty pageant competition.
I believe that it is my mission to convey these experiences of the past world pageant competitions to the future finalists of Miss Grand Japan who are willing to challenge and take on the world.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you look for in a Miss Grand Japan contestant?
We look for someone who is:
I feel empowered by seeing contestants grow, so that is something worth considering as well — being open to change and growth.
Finally, what does some of your work with the contestants on Miss Grand entail?
I coach my contestants through every step of the way, which includes perfecting their cat walk, speech, presentation, physical training, fashion, makeup, language, and communication. There’s more on a day to day level, but these are the main areas that contestants need to be coached on.
Miss Grand International’s slogan is “STOP THE WAR” which goes hand in hand with Miss Grand Japan’s mantra of “Peace.” The organization is geared towards electing messengers of peace, sending them out into the world to do good. Who is better fit to do this job than healthy and beautiful young women? While cultivating the inner beauty needed for representing peace worldwide, Miss Grand Japan continues to share the meaning of healthy and beauty with the rest of the world.