Cathy, Cecelia, Frankie, Julie, Kate and Kate w/ Cruisin for A Bruisin!

STYLE LIKE U spends some time inside Jenny Shimizu’s closet.

“[The first time I saw myself as a model was when] my friends woke me up at four in the morning and took me to Times Square. I saw the Banana Republic billboard that I shot with Bruce Weber. There was just a picture of my face, and underneath, it said ‘American Beauty.’ It still makes me have the chills. Never in my life did I think that I was beautiful.”

Jenny Shimizu

STYLE LIKE U, Style Musings of the 21st Century.

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More from the archives! A fashion editorial from New York Magazine featuring Jenny wearing Calvin Klein.

From the Archives: New York Magazine, special issue, “Where to Find It” – an insiders guide to New York City from April 1994.

And the caption reads: “The first time I saw Popeye, I said to my parents, ‘I’m getting a tattoo,'” reports motorcycle mechanic turned ubiquitous model Jenny Shimizu. Now she’s covered with them ; on her biceps, for instance, there’s a naked lady riding a monkey wrench. Shimizu, 22, recommends Kaleidoscope Tattoos (365 Canal St.; 274-8006). Not far from a porno shop, Kaleidoscope sits in an enormous, spotless loft. Sure, tattooing is illegal in the city, but the law’s rarely enforced, and Kaleidoscope’s needles are wrapped and sterilized. On the walls are hundreds of snapshots of the obligatory panthers and dragons, but also Winnie the Pooh and Piglet (hugging). The average tattoo costs $200; Shimizu says it’s worth it. “They’re better than lovers,” she says. “They don’t talk back.”

Two things. One, Jenny’s tattoo is actually a girl dressed in cut off shorts, a button-down shirt and wearing work boots. And, two, who knew that 20 years ago, tattooing was illegal?

It’s Coming!

FIRST LOOK: Cruisin for a Bruisin by Jenny Shimizu

Jenny Shimizu, Sofia Coppola, Zoe Cassavetes, Sean Mortensen, Karl Lagerfeld, Andre Leon Talley and Naomi Campbell together in Paris.

In the mid-1990s, Sofia Coppola and best friend Zoe Cassavetes helmed the short-lived series Hi Octane on Comedy Central which spotlighted reputable and underground people, with frequent guests like Donovan Leitch, Mike Watt, Thurston Moore, Beck, and model-actress Jenny Shimizu. In one episode, titled Paris Fashion” Sofia and Zoe send Sean Mortensen off to Paris during show season to interview fashion’s elite. Sean makes his rounds and gets one-on-one with Karl at Chanel, Andre Talley on his way to a show, and Naomi backstage. But, the real star of the show is Jenny Shimizu. Sean catches Jenny on the runway, backstage and while off-duty. They talk girls, sex, cars, fashion and tattoos–and Jenny treats us by stripping down and showing off 2 of her most famous designs. Naomi Campbell also takes a moment to say a few words on how much she loves Jenny, while she eats french fries on film.

True fact: Before Jenny ever modeled, and after she was discovered, she worked as Sean Mortensen’s mechanic in Los Angeles. They remained lifelong friends.

This post is dedicated to Sean Mortensen: 1966-2009