#MORETHAN A Women with Niki Nakayama
In the closing chapter of our Women's Series for the MORE THAN Campaign, we shine a spotlight on Niki Nakayama, the renowned chef and owner of n/naka, a modern Californian Kaiseki restaurant in Los Angeles. As we step into the tranquil world of her restaurant on a rare day off, Niki unveils her story of growing up as a young Asian-American, straddling the line between two cultures.
Niki Nakayama: Embracing Freedom and Choice Niki reflects on her upbringing in Los Angeles, where she was granted the freedom to explore and dream big, especially as a woman. In contrast to the rigid roles defined in countries like Japan, the United States encourages individuals to reach for the stars from a young age.
Navigating Dual Cultures: Embracing the Best of Both Worlds She delves into the differences between her upbringing and that of her brother within their traditional Asian family. In Asian households, it's common for hopes and dreams to be primarily vested in the men of the family. Niki found it peculiar to encounter this message at home and a different one outside. However, she found solace in embracing the best of both cultures, choosing what resonated with her and shaping her path accordingly.
Embracing Femininity and Challenges Niki candidly shares her journey of feeling like an oddball, uncertain of how to fully embrace her femininity and use it to her advantage. Yet, she finds immense joy in being a woman, viewing the challenges that women face as opportunities for growth.
Women in the Culinary World: Paving the Way for Others Niki reflects on her career and the differences she's encountered as a woman in the culinary field. She acknowledges the need to go above and beyond, invest more, and provide exceptional products, facing scrutiny that her male counterparts often escape. Despite the challenges, Niki feels empowered as a woman in her field, knowing that she's creating opportunities for other women to learn a craft that has traditionally been withheld from them.
A Natural Connection: Building a Diverse Team Niki explains her approach to staffing her kitchen with a predominantly female team, emphasizing the importance of creating a work environment where people connect and understand each other. It was a natural evolution rather than a deliberate decision, reflecting her belief that this applies to both men and women.
In this final chapter of the Women's Series, AG Jeans celebrates individuals like Niki Nakayama, who defy boundaries and exemplify the idea that they are #MORETHAN their gender. Join us in exploring the intricate and inspiring journeys of remarkable women throughout this illuminating series.