KUALA TERENGGANU: She is not just a stunning beauty, but a woman with guts and grit – whether on the catwalk, or in extreme environments, such as deep in the ocean, or high in the skies.
Japanese model Ami Iwata has no qualms about diving and swiming with marine life, or paragliding from mountain peaks, when away from the demands of her career.
In fact, Ami, 26, loves thrills and adventures, which keep her adrenalin pumping.
“I dove (in most of) the world's seas, while traveling twice around the globe as a backpacker in my younger days.
“After that, I started a business in Egypt, but owing to the Arab Spring and internal strife there (2010-2013), I had to leave and return to Japan to start a career in modelling,” she said.
Ami is one of a handful of women competitors in the Terengganu International Paragliding Competition (TIPCO), at the Kota Putera Paragliding Park in Bukit Bubus, Besut, which runs from May 12-16.
In spite of her love for outdoor adventure, Amy has focused on working hard to become one of the leading models in her country – and has landed contracts for Suntory commercials, among others.
“I have nearly 30,000 followers on Instagram and am quite popular on other social media networks as well.
“Modelling gives me the confidence to move on professionally, while paragliding is a much-loved sport for me.
“I have seen the world, travelling and diving seas, to enjoy life. Now, I want to explore the sky and see more of the world by paragliding,” said Ami.
She added that she has benefitted from her loyal Instagram followers, who inspired her to start her own business – Kurkinton (https://www.kurikinton.tokyo ) – an event promotions company.
TIPCO, held in conjunction with ‘Visit Beautiful Terengganu 2017’, is the biggest paragliding event in Malaysia, with over 90 participants from 28 countries.
TIPCO event manager, Anuar Ngah, said that among the accomplished paragliders participating are Sano Babu Sunuwar of Nepal, Bruce Goldsmith of the United Kingdom, Pablo Andreu of Spain and Signe L. Knudsen of Denmark, another female participant.
Sano has paraglided from the three highest peaks in the world – Nepal’s Mount Everest, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro and Russia’s Mount Elbrus.
Goldsmith was the 2007 world champion; Andreu is a fantastic acrobatic paraglider; and Signe is an accomplished international competitor.