American model and actress Devon Aoki was born on 10 August 1982 in New York City. Her family moved several times during her childhood, however, and Aoki grew up in parts of California and London. She actually graduated from the American School in London. Her mother is a jewellery designer and her father, the late Rocky Aoki, was an Olympic wrestler and founder/owner of the chain of Benihana restaurants. He died on 10 July 2008. Aoki has three sisters and three brothers as well as a half-brother, Steve Aoki, who is the founder of Dim Mak Records.
Aoki was discovered at a concert in New York at a young age. Her godmother introduced her to Kate Moss, and the older actress has served as Aoki’s mentor. While she was only 13 when she started modelling, Moss helped Aoki land several key campaigns and helped her sign with Storm Model Management when she was 14. Because of her early success, Aoki chose to pursue modelling instead of a university degree because she believed she would learn more travelling the world.
Aoki is currently represented by 1 Model Management.
On the Runway
Aoki made her runway debut in 1997, and since then, she has walked for a number of major designers. However, much of her work as been in print campaigns and magazines rather than on the runway. She did, however, recently return to the runway in 2008 to close the spring Chanel show in Paris.
Most of Aoki’s modelling work has been in ad campaigns. She has served as the face for several major designers, including Versace (1998), Alessandro Dell’Acqua (1998), Moschino Jeans (2001), and Hugo by Hugo Boss (2007). She has also promoted cosmetics by Lancome (2003) and products by Yves Saint Laurent (2006). Her many magazine appearances include an early appearance in Harper’s Bazaar in 1999 and a cover appearance on Interview in 1999 alongside Kate Moss. She has appeared on the cover of Japanese Vogue, Nylon, and i-D. In addition to these cover appearances she has been featured in German Vogue, Numero, W, and Vogue. In the September 2009 edition of Japanese Vogue, Aoki was named the model of the month.
Work as an Actress
In addition to working as a model, Aoki has also done some acting. One of her biggest roles is that of Miho in Sin City, a role she will be reprising in the upcoming Sin City 2. She has also appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious, DOA: Dead or Alive, and Mutant Chronicles.
Some of Aoki’s early acting work was in music videos. She made appearances in videos for songs by Duran Duran, Elton John, Primal Scream, Ludacris, and Ginuwine.
Aoki has recently moved into another aspect of the modelling world: in September of 2007, she began designing a line of jeans for Levi’s. However, the line is currently only available in Asia.
Aoki has dated several high-profile men, including Rick Solomon and Lenny Kravitz. However, she tends to keep her personal life off the record. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles. In her free time, Aoki enjoys playing the drums and spending time with her two snakes.