22/7 Idol Amaki Sally full interview in English translation

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22/7 Special Interview
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“The girls who march beyond our imagination”
Member Solo Interview Vol.1 – Amaki Sally
From now on, these girls will be the ones breaking down the barrier between 2D and 3D!
A digital idol group created by the tag-team of Yasushi Akimoto x Aniplex x Sony Music Records, named 22/7, now arrives at the scene!
Finally, the 11-member team has debuted with their single “Boku wa Sonzai Shiteinakatta”, and Entame Station will conduct a solo long interview on each member and release 1 each day for 11 consecutive days.
First up, the girl who came to Japan from Los Angeles to pursuit her dreams, Sally Amaki.
We sat down with her and got to know the girl who wanted to achieve her “Japamerican Dream”

“In order to get noticed during the paper screening phase, I sent in my cosplay photos!”
  • First, for the readers of Entame Station, please introduce yourself!
Sally: Of course. I am Amaki Sally of 22/7. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I came to Japan because I want to become a voice actress. My friends and classmates often call me a “gloomy yet cheerful otaku.” I can speak Japanese, English, Spanish… and a little bit French. Even though I can speak all these languages, I am not good at talking to people, so recently people say I am “wasting my language ability” (laughs). My special skill is to hold my breath. Because I am bad at talking to people, to erase my presence in the classroom, I try to even suppress my breath. And then, it became my special skills.
  • Then, can you tell us a little about Sakura Fujima, the character you play?
Sally: Sakura is cheerful and bright like the sun. There’s also another cheerful character named Miyako Kono, but Sakura is cheerful in a different way. Miyako’s cheerfulness is that can inspire others while Sakura is strong at the core, and follows through on her own path. Not only that, Sakura is from a rich family. Although Sakura is like the sun, I myself is little bit more cloudy. I am still not able to completely become the sun. But according to the character designer Mr. Kantoku, there’s darkness lurking within Sakura, and hoping the audience will be able to discover Sakura’s darkness. Please find the shadow of the sun!
  • Sounds like a very interesting character. By the way, you mentioned “Figure Skating” as one of your special skills. Are you also from a rich family…!?
Sally: No, not at all. It’s just I’ve been practicing ever since I was a kid… Influenced by the drama my dad was watching, the whole family went to the skate ring. It was then I got scouted by the coach there. I know it’s weird saying this myself, but I am only good at sports (laughs). I’ve been practicing figure skating up until I came to Japan. I still do it from time to time.
  • This might be a little bit intrusive, but are you half Japanese and half American?
Sally: Oh, both of my parents are Japanese. My mom looked up to Madonna when she was young so she came to America. As for my dad… I heard about this from my grandma, he left Japan not because he had a specific goal but rather he “wanted to see the world!” They met in in America and got married. That’s why both my parents are still living in Los Angeles.
  • Wow, very multi-cultural. One more skill caught my eyes, what do you mean by “catching ladybugs”!?
Sally: Right… a lot of people think “look, she’s playing the eccentric character” but it’s not like that! It’s not like I am catching them because I want to catch them, I just happen to catch them. In that case, my friends and I were trying to see who could catch more ladybugs. At the end, my friends couldn’t catch any while I kept shoving the ladybugs into my plastic bottle. Since then, I’ve been calling that my special skill (laughs). But, ever since I got to Japan, I couldn’t catch any…
  • That’s too bad. Now that we have a better understanding of “Amaki Sally,” what’s your motivation and reason for applying at this “digital voice actress idol group?”
Sally: I wanted to become a voice actress so I’ve been taking all kinds of auditions, but I failed almost all of them. Out of those many auditions, one was basically the “sum of all of my goals” – the “Digital Voice Actress Idol Group Audition.” Many of my favorite character designers were part of the project, and at the time, I had planned my future to “act the character designed by Yukiko Horiguchi after 2 years in Japan,” so I thought to myself, “This is perfect…!” At the time it wasn’t two years yet, but I passed the audition.
  • By the way, did you apply from Los Angeles?
Sally: Oh no. In order to prepare myself for all kinds of audition, I was already in Japan. I don’t know why, but I have this baseless confidence that “I can become a voice actress” (laughs). Although when I actually started going to audition, I was failing one after another. When I came to Japan last year, I couldn’t speak Japanese that well, and I actually failed some auditions because I couldn’t use honorifics. It took me about 2 months to properly study Japanese first, and then took 22/7’s audition.
  • I see, but you are very fluent in Japanese.
Sally: Really? Sometimes I will use honorifics in a weird way, please let me know if that happens.
  • I think you sound perfectly fine. Then, how did you feel when you found out you passed the first stage?
Sally: I’ve been told many times in my previous auditions that “Hey, your photos are really plain.” So, I’ve decided to include my cosplay photos when I applied for the audition. I actually sent in a lot of photos so I still included “plain” photo of me out of costume, because… why not (laughs). I sent in those photos thinking if I could, even for a little bit, have the judges notice me. At the end, it all worked out.
  • So your plan worked (laughs). Tell us a little bit about what happened at the 2nd stage?
Sally: The 2nd stage was to judge our singing. I was the last one to sing in my group. Everybody before me introduced themselves in a cute voice and sang in a cute voice as well. I thought to myself “that wouldn’t work,” so when it’s my turn, I introduced myself in a cute voice, and then purposely lower my voice, and sang like I was in a boy’s voice. I was aiming for some sort of gap. Besides, it was an audition for voice actresses, so I thought I could appeal to the judges of my voice range. You could say it’s a type of “strategy” only possible because I was the last one (laughs).
  • The “Amaki Method” that aims for the gap (laughs). How confident were you at that point to pass the audition?
Sally: Not just me, I think most of the people who’ve passed auditions thought to themselves “I got this” at some point. But you know sometime people also say “I thought I wouldn’t pass the audition,” right? I think that’s because when you see how high-leveled other candidates are, you just kinda go “ah… I see.” I was just like that. When I was filling out the application, I thought I fit all of the requirements so it’s possible for me to pass the audition. However, I started to think to myself that… even if I matched all of the requirements, I might not be the best out of everyone who’ve matched the requirements. I had about 70% confidence that I could pass the audition, but the moment I entered the room where all the candidates were waiting for the 3rd stage, I thought “ok… this is impossible,” and just wanted to turn around and go home. That’s how fast I lost my confidence. You know sometimes when you enter a room, everyone in that room would turn around and look at you? At that time, I was really surprised at how cute everybody was. It felt like I was blown away by some kind of rose-colored wind (laughs).
  • The 3rd stage of the audition was to judge your dancing. Since you’re so athletic, it should felt easy to you, right?
Sally: Rather, I didn’t receive the letter with the name of our set piece, so I didn’t know which song to dance to until the day before. I had to basically remember the choreography in a day but when I looked up the song, I could only find the music video. The problem was, the music video was kind of like an image video, so there was no choreography. I didn’t know what to do for a moment, but I thought I would show off my physical expression rather than my dance skills. I didn’t mind if the choreography was wrong, I just danced my heart out with a smile on my face and made an appeal of my energetic side (laughs).
  • In the end, you made it to the final stage. What did you think was necessary to pass the audition?
Sally: I was surprised when I heard my number being called, it took me a while to respond. But at the time, I thought I wouldn’t be able to advance any further, so much so the thought of quitting the audition during the SHOWROOM selection had crossed my mind. At the end, I was ranked 3rdplace during the SHOWROOM selection, and I even received comments like “Don’t worry, you’ll pass!” Because of that, I was going to give my all until the very end. However, during that time, I didn’t have much clothes with me at my grandma’s house, so I had to show up to the final audition with a white shirt and a loose black skirt, sometime I would wear normally at home (laughs). Before the final audition, they told us to “show up without any makeup and don’t set up your hair either,” so I did exactly that and showed up with a bed hair and no makeup. When I got there, all the other candidates had makeup on their faces so I went “Wait, I thought we need to show up without makeup!?” But the other girls just told me “Yeah, but I showed up with some makeup on anyway.” At the time, I was thinking “Ah, now I’ve done it!” I got really depressed thinking I wouldn’t be able to pass the audition.
  • Even so, you ended up being one of the 11 chosen. What was it like for you when you passed the audition?
Sally: I wasn’t mentally prepared, so I was anxious… kind of confused like “what should I do?” We had to return to our waiting room between the time audition finished and them announcing the result, but I was ready to go home at that time… In case my name wasn’t called, I could just silently go home. So, when I heard “Playing Fujima Sakura, Amaki Sally,” I went “whaaaaaat!?” When I got on stage, I kept thinking if it’s ok for someone like me to pass the audition, “what should I do?” “What’s gonna happen?” “Is this even real?” were the three phrases looping in my head.
  • When was the time you overcame your anxiety, and finally grasped the reality that you’re one of the members of 22/7? Was it the first time working as part of the group?
Sally: Let me see. You’re right, it was when we first record for a radio show. I heard the radio show was one of Bunka Housou (Japan Cultural Broadcasting Station)’s show, so when I came to realization that I was in one of those recording booths, I got the feeling “now we’re at the starting line.”
To be continued…
Next up “As a member of 22/7, I want us to go to Anime Expo, the place where I found my dream.”
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Thanks for reading 22/7 Idol Amaki Sally full interview in English translation

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