Aiko (“child of love” in Japanese) was born in Tokyo, Japan on December 13th. Her mother, Sue Tanaka, was a former swimsuit model while her father was a sales marketing manager. With her mother’s influence, she began modeling at the age of 3 and appeared on numerous catalogs and advertisements in Japan.
A STEP AWAY FROM MODELING
Her mom felt as Aiko had not fully developed as a person yet and that she should have a chance to explore her other options. Aiko was enrolled in a wide range of classes, learning piano, cello, drum, Japanese flower arrangement, ballet, jazz dance, and painting, but she was more partial towards literature and poetry. It was after graduating high school when she decided that she wanted to be an actress, which prompted her to move to Boston all by herself.
Aiko studied theater in college but realized that she did not understand its language well. As she was still very much into performing, she started to dance at clubs in Boston. It wasn’t long before a talent agent from LA scouted her and Aiko moved to LA to become a dancer on live TV. She secured her first TV gig on the “The Grind” with MTV. Soon after, she was featured as a main dancer for “Soul Train,” a popular dance show in which many talents were discovered. Aiko received many modeling offers through the show. She appeared in many calendars and was eventually invited to attend a car show to sign autographs.
At the first car show she attended, Aiko was selected to appear on an “Import Tuner” cover. She also appeared on the covers of many other auto magazines such as “D-Sport” and “Super Street.” She was actually the first Japanese/Korean to ever appear as the cover model on these major magazines. As her popularity grew, Namco signed her to be the voice of a character in the video game “Street Racing Syndicate.”
Aiko has also appeared in many music videos for Destiny’s Child, Afroman, Far*East Movement, Jin, and more. Her film and television credits include: “The Howard Stern Show,” “Late Night with Jay Leno,” “Malcolm and Eddie,” “My Wife and Kids,” “Numb3rs,” and The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, Finishing the Game