So, one day I’m on Twitter, as usual, and I come across this tweet that just knocks me over:
I’m revisiting Sailor Moon Stars for the first time in over a decade and I can’t get over the fact that Naoko Takeuchi based Seiya off of Jenny Shimizu 😻 pic.twitter.com/GjBlGmzQKS
— betty felon (@bettyfelon) February 19, 2021
And it got me thinking–was it possible that Naoko Takeuchi actually based Sailor Star Fighter off of 90s lesbian icon Jenny Shimizu? Come with me and let’s find out!
Jenny Shimizu was born in San Jose, California in 1967. She was working as mechanic when she was scouted to appear in a music video–this launched her career as a model, eventually appearing in ads for Calvin Klein and Banana Republic. In 1993, she appeared in a movie called FireFox alongside Angelina Jolie. I don’t particularly remember any of this (I was pretty young at the time!), but I do distinctly remember that people couldn’t stop mentioning Jenny’s relationship with Angelina Jolie for years to come. I love this Entertainment Tonight spot on her in 1994:
One of the reasons why Jenny Shimizu rose to fame in the 90s is because she was the first Asian model to walk for Prada, and the first minority model to open a show. This happened for the Prada 1994 Spring Summer Collection–and it still blows my mind that this barrier wasn’t broken earlier. Anyway, this all to say that, Naoko Takeuchi probably did see Jenny Shimizu open for Prada in October 1993.
Naoko Takeuchi has been on the record for being obsessed with super models. It’s no secret that some of the most iconic fashion from Sailor Moon was ripped directly from the runway–such as Princess Serenity’s dress and much more. The Spring Summer 1994 show is actually still available to watch–so here’s what Naoko Takeuchi would have seen:
In my opinion, I would say Jenny Shimizu’s look in this show doesn’t exactly evoke Sailor Star Fighter or Sailor Uranus even. That said, I think the gauzy, see-through dresses that Jenny and other models wear were very reminiscence of this iconic outfit Setsuna wears in the manga. It also appears in the recent Sailor Moon Eternal movie.
The black and white clothes in this show remind me of this early Haruka and Michiru image. Naoko writes in the linear notes that she “really wanted to draw their clothes.” LOL.
Anyway, so this brings us back to the question about whether or not, Jenny Shimizu inspired the look of Sailor Star Fighter. One thing to note is that the image in the original tweet definitely did not influence Naoko Takeuchi. That image is from a photo shoot for LOTL magazine–an Australian lesbian magazine–possibly around May 2009 (it’s hard to read the issue date in these images). In the article itself, the nineties are mentioned in the past tense.
However, the evidence that seals the deal is that on page 82 of the Materials Art Book Collection. Naoko wrote a note in the margins on the page for Seiya: “Model Jenny Shimizu!” You can see it below on the left side, circled:
So there you have it! Jenny Shimizu joins the list of influences on Sailor Moon! Now, Naomi Campbell, who sports the same dress that Sailor Pluto wears in this 1992 Chanel ad, has company!
And on that note, I will leave you with a interview Jenny did with Allure a few years ago which I found inspiring: