Long before she was christened our March 2019 Playmate, Playboy knew Miki Hamano was special. First featured in our pages in a March 2018 pictorial, she also starred in the Playboy Collection by Coco de Mer SS19 campaign. Today, Hamano's popularity is soaring—her @misshamino Instagram handle boasts nearly 90,000 followers and her talents even extend to the silver screen; she made her film debut in the 2018 movie Perfect starring Abbie Cornish. This Wilhelmina model is not just a natural beauty; she is a laid back stunner who thrives on adventure. At the age of 19, Hamano arrived in the United States from Japan speaking no English but went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. “Modeling is my favorite thing to do,” she says. “But I also love traveling and meeting new people around the world.” Below, Hamano spoke to Playboy about why Los Angeles women are special, her favorite place to be naked and the secret behind her positive outlook on life.
Yes. I would model for my friends for their student projects and those kinds of things.
Many models, costume designers and photographers have backgrounds in art. You were a business major, but did you study art, too?
At College of the Desert, I studied art history. I did figure drawing and all kinds of art and photography. I have so much respect for artists. If you can draw anything— that is having true talent. Even though I don’t really paint anymore, my love for art is still with me. Every time I go on a trip, I make sure to go to local museums to get inspired!
So do you consider yourself an artist?
I tried everything [while studying art history], like sculpture, painting, collage making, all of that. I appreciate art, but I’m not a good painter or sculptor. I wasn’t happy with anything I made. But now I live in Los Angeles, and most of my friends are artists, so I’d love to get back to creating collages. It was my favorite thing to do back then.
It sounds like you’re probably a strong artist. But it's obvious you’re an amazing model. How has that experience been for you?
Modeling comes naturally to me. It’s also my dream job! I have so much fun doing it. It’s been great for me because it’s something that makes me happy—it’s my passion. I love all the people I get to work with and the places it takes me.
I love doing yoga and stretching. I’m also double-jointed, so that makes me really flexible. I used to walk everywhere when I lived in San Francisco, so I still try to do that in L.A. when I can.
As a Playboy model who’s been featured in multiple pictorial, you’re obviously comfortable with nudity. Where is your favorite place to be naked?
I enjoy being naked in nature. That’s my favorite place to shoot nude. My happy place in nature is the forest or woods. So definitely the forest—I’m not really a beachy person.
We know that you are married. Where did you meet your husband?
We met through work! We were both living in San Francisco at the time.
What does he do for a living?
He’s a photographer!
It’s been two years, and we’ve been together four.
What is the best thing about having a husband?
He supports me emotionally and helps me realize my dreams! It’s amazing to have someone who always helps me find a forward way to my goals.
You’re married but don’t wear your wedding ring, is there a reason why?
I should more than I do! On set, I have to remove all of my accessories, and I forget where I put them. So I am learning to trust myself more with expensive things since I tend to lose them. But I’m currently trying to fix the habit.
As I get older, I miss Japan more and more. Los Angeles is amazing for work and day to day life right now, but I’d love to go back to Japan one day. I just miss simple things like Japanese convenience stores and vending machines.
In L.A., women tend to be more outspoken and liberal in their reactions and personality, I think that’s an L.A. thing in general. But it empowers women here to be themselves and explore ideas about spirituality and creativity. Women in Los Angeles also don’t wear bras that much. I love that!
Modeling seems like a challenging career because you’re judged on your looks. Your ability to work depends on your appearance and your relationship with the camera. So a lot of what you do is cerebral, tied to your self-esteem and self-image. How do you stay in a positive state of mind?
In the past, when something really sad or bad happened to me, I would hold onto that sadness. My husband introduced me to a book called Shambhala—The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa. Then I read another called Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss. The common theme of those self-help books is that happiness in our daily lives is simply an issue of perspective. It's something you are capable of changing at any time if you are patient and determined. Today, I’m a very positive person. Things always turn out much better when you think positively!