Model-actress-artist-writer Kota Eberhardt keeps a keen eye on the creative life, dividing her time in six-months stays between downtown Los Angeles, New York’s SoHo neighborhood and Shibuya, Japan.
Now that her first film role, in “The Loner,” made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, she is writing a TV series, planning a film photography exhibition, continuing to model and working on “infiltrative art.” “I don’t want to be labeled as just one thing. I want to be this multidimensional persona. I don’t like boxes,” she said. “Maybe with older generations you had to label yourself as something. But you can supersede that. You can become anything you ever wanted to be and surprise yourself and the world.”
WWD: Do you have designers approaching you?
Kota Eberhardt: I’m wearing Kenzo tonight. I recently met with Kenzo about doing some collaborative work. I just met the creative minds behind their new fragrance campaign. They’re genius. The whole purpose of that campaign seemed to be bringing creatives into a mind-set of, “You can bring into the world ideas that you want to work. You don’t have to wait.” That’s why we’re all here — to create art.
WWD: What’s life like in Japan?
K.E.: Shibuya is like Brooklyn’s little cousin, if you can imagine. You’ll see grandmothers walking around in the latest collection of Dior. They’re just fly. I was doing some film photography, enjoying the atmosphere and modeling as well. I was the only woman of color in the entire market. None. At all. It’s crazy. Japan is a very xenophobic society at times. As intrigued as they are by new things coming in, it can also be kind of a scary thing because it challenges what has stood for so long in their culture. Their idea of beauty is finally, like the rest of the world, molting and changing. And I’m a part of that.
WWD: Do you think diversity is improving in the U.S.?
K.E.: Definitely. For the diversity question and conversation to come into play in America the way that it has is an exciting moment. How blessed are we to live in 2016 to be at the forefront of this moment right now? Race relations is a huge topic in America, and it’s reflecting naturally around the world.
WWD: What’s the TV series about?
K.E.: It’s about my life at university [at Howard, American and Villanova] dealing with friends dealing with addiction and how a woman becomes a woman. It’s how women run with wolves so to speak, containing your prowess. I recently had a director offer me a role in a series, which I declined because it was unfair to me as an actress. There was no conversation about promiscuity or nudity. It was an immovable contract so I wasn’t interested in signing it. He said to me, “You’ll never get this opportunity again,” and I said, “That’s crazy. I can create opportunities for myself.” After that, I met with an investor, showed him my idea and he said he’d fund the whole thing.
WWD: Are your earrings Kenzo too? (A closer look of the lettering shows a profanity.)
K.E.: They’re actually Melody Ehsani, I don’t know if I’m saying that right. Kind of cool, right? I had a matching choker but I thought it was too much.