Expect to see a lot of Iconiq. With her big eyes and shaved head, visually she’s the Sinead O’Connor of J-pop, and she’s so new on the scene that she doesn’t even have a Japanese Wikipedia page yet. But just over a month after her debut single release, she was yesterday announced as the new face of Shiseido. It marks the first time the cosmetics giant has used anyone other than an established actress to promote its MAQuillAGE line. Her first single – a duet with Atsushi of Exile, currently the hottest J-pop act of all – did well on the download charts. And the new single, “Change Myself,” will get lots of exposure as it’s tied up with her new role for Shiseido. So who is she anyway?
Her official website doesn’t give too much away but little investigation shows that Iconiq (25) is the new creation of a Korean pop singer who originally performed under the name Ayumi Lee or Ahyoomee. Though she grew up in Japan as Ito Ayumi, she debuted in her parents’ native country in 2002 as part of the K-pop group Sugar. A couple of solo singles, including a 2006 cover of the classic anime theme “Cutie Honey,” drew criticism for having an overly-Japanese influence. Three years later, and after some time spent in Los Angeles, she reappeared with her flowing locks shaved off and was “reborn” in her adopted country.