Now he’s using his influence to benefit Japan’s LGBTQ community.
When you think of Buddhist monks, you probably assume they live solitary lives in mountain monasteries. That’s probably true for a lot of Buddhist monks, but not for Kodo Nishimura. The 26-year-old Tokyo-based monk lives a double life as a makeup artist—and he’s kind of a big deal.
Nishimura became a monk in 2015 after years of training, according to a recent article in BuzzFeed. He pursued his beauty career after doing makeup for a friend and seeing how happy it made her. Since then, he’s racked up quite the celeb clientele, including Ashley Smith, Christina Milian and the Miss Universe pageant. (Nishimura splits his time between Japan and the US.)
If you think being a Buddhist monk and a celebrity makeup artist are conflicting life paths, you’re right. Can you imagine seeing that on a resume?
Nishimura had doubts about his choice to become a makeup artist, according to American View, the official magazine of the US embassy in Tokyo. “He wasn’t sure if he could proceed with his career as a monk openly, especially because he could draw public attention as an androgynous makeup artist and that might offend other monks,” the magazine notes.
Nishimuru uses his skills and expertise to give back: After officially coming out as LGBTQ in a photo shoot for the LGBT publication “Out in Japan,” he met transgender women who knew nothing about makeup and was inspired to help them. Now, Nishimuru holds free makeup seminars for the LGBTQ community in Japan.
“As a Buddhist monk, I want everyone to live happily in harmony. I believe makeup is one of the tools to make yourself happy, and if you’re happy, it becomes easier to be kind to others,” he told BuzzFeed. “In that sense, I think it’s a good link.”