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Interview

A Weekend with Kouka Webb

As long as Kouka is not studying at the library or posing for a shoot, her body is surely in motion to a new place, a new adventure, and a new challenge.

All work and no play? What if work is your play? This definitely seems to be the case for the impressive 22-year-old Kouka Webb– international supermodel, NYU student, future dietician, and wandering globetrotter. Growing up in Hong Kong and Tokyo, Kouka spent many of her formative years traveling throughout Southeast Asia when she was scouted at just twelve-years-old. She has since translated this passionate love for adventure into her busy, budding adult life as she continues to model across the globe for The Lions. As long as Kouka is not studying at the library or posing for a shoot, her body is surely in motion to a new place, a new adventure, and a new challenge.

Looking to run into Kouka somewhere outside of the NYU library? Try Siberia, Mongolia, Israel, Ghana, or the UK to start. Still can’t find her? Scope out runway collections for Zac Posen, Hermes, or Vivienne Westwood. No luck? Thumb through the glossy pages of Vogue China, NYLON, or Harper’s Bazaar Japan. You’re sure to find her hazel eyes and long legs there somewhere– and luckily enough, you’ll find her here with BWB for a weekend in NYC.

Friday dinner plans?

I’m typically meeting up with friends to catch up after a busy week of classes. There are so many options in New York, so it’s always lovely to try something new. My friends all know that I’m nutrition-obsessed and they are always willing to try new health spots that have popped up! Growing up traveling around Southeast Asia, I have always been partial to Asian food. I particularly love Benemon for their rice bowls and Five Senses in Korea Town for their spicy Sundubu jjigae (spicy tofu stew). On a perfect Friday, I either go watch a film or binge on a true-crime documentary on Netflix.

On other weeks, I pack a few onigiris (Japanese rice balls) and treat myself to get a hot oat milk matcha bubble tea from Boba Guys near campus and I’m off to Bob Street (NYU’s library)!

Favorite homemade meal? 

A full, proper Japanese breakfast is always my favorite weekend meal to make. The traditional Japanese meal is a little bit too salty, so I like to put my own healthy spin on it and use low-sodium miso and soy sauce.

I always make a miso soup with various types of mushrooms, eggplant, and Kabocha pumpkin (when I can get hold of it). It makes the soup so creamy and delicious. I also eat sprouted brown rice with natto (fermented soybeans) and top it off with nori (seaweed). I really love fish but I’m trying to eat a more plant-based diet, so I only treat myself to fish sometimes!

I typically make my own tsukemono (pickles) every couple of weeks by soaking various vegetables in rice vinegar and honey. They’re easy to make and they are probiotics full of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.

It’s a pretty decadent meal to make in full, but it’s a great way of getting some vegetables in early in the day and always takes me back to my childhood.

Saturday ritual?

I usually go to a spin class and have a lazy brunch with my roommate. I’m partial to the breakfast bowl at Grey Dog; it is so deliciously filling and sets up the day in the right way. The rest of the day usually consists of writing multiple essays, catching up on readings, or memorizing details for my various classes.

Sunday run or relax? 

I adore running, so yes– I am one of those people who goes for lengthy runs by the river on the weekends. It’s such a lovely feeling to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack and destress after a busy week. I love how you don’t need hand-eye coordination or fancy equipment, just determination. Anyone can run (if you’re bothered enough to drag yourself out of bed).

I love how you don’t need hand-eye coordination or fancy equipment, just determination.

I would love to be a yoga person but I’m too restless for it. I always want to stand up and start dancing during the breathing exercises. One day, I hope to tame my inner child so that I can become a yogi!

Skincare secrets for an overnight flight?

I have such an extensive plane routine – I am proud to admit that I am that shameless face mask user on the plane. Especially when I’m flying back to Japan (as it’s a long haul flight). I like to keep my skin hydrated by using a sheet mask, Neal’s Yard Facial Serum, and Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil. I am currently obsessed with Flofushi Saisei sheet masks; they have a face line mask that covers up to your neck. It makes me look like Hannibal Lecter but I usually just cover myself in a blanket while the mask works its magic! Also, the Fresh Sugar Lip Balm is fantastic for keeping my lips moisturized.

Travel essentials for an international flight?  

I like to use a warming eye mask that I buy in bulk every time I visit Japan. They’re amazing! When you take them out of the packet, they instantly start warming up. They help me get a good night’s sleep even on a stuffy plane, and I swear they also reduce my puffy eye bags. These are essential when I’m stepping off the plane and heading straight to a shoot.

I also always love to make my own veggie-stuffed salads, energy balls, and bring packets of almond butter and oatmeal for sustenance. It usually takes me ten minutes to pack clothes and two hours to pack my food for an international trip!

Your travel plans for this summer?

I will be going to Tel Aviv, Israel in June for an NYU graduate study abroad program. I can’t wait to explore the nutrition and agriculture scene in Israel as well. It will be my first time visiting the Middle East and I can’t wait to eat all the hummus I can!

I will also be visiting my sister in Oxford, UK for a few weeks and we are planning to cycle around the Cotswolds if the weather holds up. Fingers crossed!

Imagery provided by The Lions NY

Alicia Zhang

Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a junior at Columbia University majoring in English and Creative Writing. As President of the Columbia University Glee Club, she loves to sing, make music, and celebrate multiple modes of artistic expression. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. While she has spent most of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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