Juri Watanabe grew up in a multicultural household, was born in Japan, and studied in the United States and China. She was frequently treated as the “other” and lacked a sense of belonging wherever she lived. This created tension around her identity and subsequently led to mental health struggles early on.
Personally overcoming these challenges has now made Juri a strong advocate for mental health awareness - she has been actively sharing her story through public live streams and hosting mental health awareness events with organizations to help connect those who are facing similar struggles and to ultimately destigmatize mental health.
After spending some time in a career in tech, Juri decided to give her one last shot in pageantry, which has won her the title of Miss Universe Japan 2021 as well as placing in the top 16 at the Miss Universe competition.
Since, Juri has come back to Los Angeles, her second home, and developed a career as a communications and image coach for particularly young women, whilst continuing her work advocating for Asian representation in media, but this time, as an actress.
I am a U.S. permanent resident. My parents were supportive of me getting a U.S. university education, so they decided to apply for the Green Card lottery. This lottery only has a 0.7% selection rate for Japanese citizens. Not only did both of my parents win the lottery, they won it on their first try!
While studying in the U.S., my friend and I started a school club called “Love Between Races,” which aimed to promote diversity on campus and increase awareness around issues surrounding minority groups.
When living in Dalian, China, I attended a local Chinese school instead of a Japanese school commonly attended by expats. I was one of ten non-Chinese students attending a 1300 student school, and within that, the only Japanese native student.