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Model. Spokesperson. Body activist. Naomi Shimada has been making waves on the fashion scene for a while now (thanks only in part to her infectiously bold and unapologetically loud get-ups — check her Insta for proof). Championing positive body imagery and calling for change in the fashion industry is all in a (very packed) day's work. But as it turns out, being a mover and shaker extends to all parts of her life. ASOS Magazine sat down with the star to talk about how dancing brings her balance…
Naomi Shimada in a dance studio

When did you start dancing?

I’ve danced most of my life, starting with ballet aged three. I got the bug, dancing most days — ballet, jazz, flamenco, anything.


Why do you dance?

It makes me feel complete. We’re glued to our phones. I think about how disconnected we are, head and body, and how few opportunities we have to connect to ourselves.


What styles of dance do you do?

Commercial — music videos, hip hop, R&B – and dancehall, and I’ve signed up to learn bachata. It’s a different kind of Latin dance.

Naomi Shimada wearing pink cat-eye sunglasses

Naomi Shimada wearing a tracksuit top

Where do you dance?

All over London. I like to try different things. I’ve been learning about dance and movement psychotherapy. It’s used to process emotions about things you can’t move through by speaking about them. You learn how important movement is. It’s how you move through life, literally, and how you get rid of anxiety. We’re the most anxious generation ever. It would help everyone to move more, to survive what life throws at us.


Favorite songs to dance to?

Humblesmith's Focus, Sean Paul's Get Busy and Rakata by Wisin & Yandel.

Naomi Shimada wearing a blue crop top and leggings

Has dancing changed your relationship with your body?

You dance in front of mirrors, so you’re forced to look at your body. I realized I never see bodies like mine moving. I’ve learned to love my body through dance, seeing its strength and softness and all the amazing things it can do.


Any tips for new dancers?

Start in your room. The best part of dancing is dancing like no one’s watching you, so dance where no one is watching you. Don’t necessarily go to a big dance school, go to a welcoming local place. Practice at the club.

Naomi Shimada wearing a black sports bra

Pictures: ASOS

What do you wear to dance?

Recently I’ve been dancing in shorts. Body shapes like mine are often covered up, but by me doing it, I’m telling other girls they can do it. I’m yet to find a sports bra strong enough to support me so I wear two bras, which is annoying and hard to get on and off.


Favorite sneakers?

Nike Air Max 95. The bounce makes you feel like you can take over the world. As a woman, I think about what shoes to wear in case I have to run away from someone. That’s a reality for us. The trend for wearing activewear in life makes us, as women, ready for anything.