BELLO Watch : Minae Noji

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One of America’s favorite comic strip, cartoon and now Hollywood movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (directed by Michael Bay) has hit the big screen this month. The Dauntless high-rank member of Foot Clan, Karai is played by American/Japanese actress Minae Noji. Noji appeared on numerous of TV shows and Movies including ABC’s ‘Spin City and Steven Spielberg’s Memoirs of a Geisha. She’s fierce plus an animal lover who happens to be a fan of TMNT and has even owned a pet turtle.

Interview by Jhanelle Rivera @Jhanellerivera
Photos courtesy of Marc Cartwright

Congratulations on your role as Karai, in Michael Bay’s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (‘TMNT’). What are some of the personality traits do you enjoy of this character? Were you fan of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT)? If so, who is your favorite character?

My character Karai is a baddie, kick-ass, ninja who is second-in-command to The Shredder. Her name means salty or spicy and she certainly lives up to her name! She is tough, strong and head of the footclan…you gotta love that! J I grew up a major fan of the Turtles, so when I booked this job I was over the moon. As a kid, I had a pet turtle and later pet rats, I collected turtle figurines and my nickname was Donatella. So needless to say, my favorite turtle was and still is Donatello. He is strong, kind, hilarious and VERY smart. I love a big brain and big heart.

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One person who inspired you is Lucille Ball, do you see yourself in her?
Lucille Ball was an absolute genius with comedy and a strong, fierce woman who took risks and pushed the envelope. It is really difficult to compare myself to her since she is my idol, but I will say that she is a constant source of inspiration for me.

Would you considered yourself a humorous person?
I crack myself up. 😉

When was the last time you made a group of people laugh?
Yesterday, when a bird flew over me at the beach and crapped on my chest.

How many animal sounds can you make?
I’m out of practice, but in my prime I was at about 25. But my favorites are still: a cat in heat and a frustrated chicken.

It’s interesting that you have a pet snail, where did you find him?
I got her as a gift from my best friend. She was the fastest snail I’d ever met and her mouth reminded me of Angelina Jolie’s pucker.

You were a recording actress growing up; do you remember the name of your first album?
Unfortunately, I don’t remember the title, but I certainly remember the album cover image. It was me, sitting innocently with my head tilted, arms crossed, wearing a black, lace, rhinestone, dress with really, really, big hair and my bangs curled so high, a baby hamster could surf it. It was fantastic and embarrassing and great black mail material should it resurface.

What was the last song you performed on star search?
‘You Could Have Been With Me’ by Sheena Easton. I had a huge crush on Ed McMahon at the time (I know, odd choice), so my songs were always secretly dedicated to him. “ You could have been with me ED….instead of alone and lonely”! (lyrics to the song).

Why is your platform “child help” important to you?
Childhelp is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. I have been working closely with them for years. They focus their efforts on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach. There are so many children in need of help and Childhelp aids thousands and thousands of kids every year. I hold this organization very close to my heart. Please check them out! http://www.childhelp.org

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