Karen Fukuhara Talks Her Role In ‘Suicide Squad’ And Being An Actress In Hollywood

Photographed by Joy Newell.


The following feature appears in the August 2016 issue of NYLON.

When Karen Fukuhara was cast in the highly anticipated DC Comics blockbuster Suicide Squad, it was under such a thick veil of secrecy that she didn’t even know her character’s name. So based on the intel she had, Fukuhara went home and did some 21st-century research. “I just went on Google and typed in ‘Japanese, sword, character, hero, superhero’ and Katana did come up,” she says of her masked, blade-wielding character in the film, which also stars Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Will Smith, and Cara Delevingne as an eclectic group of supervillains who are brought together to save the world. “When I got the role and found out who was in it, I just couldn’t believe that I was going to be able to be a part of something so iconic,” she says.

Just two years ago, Fukuhara was working as a translator, guiding a Japanese model through New York Fashion Week. The American-born 24-year-old learned the language from her parents, who emigrated from Japan to Los Angeles before she was born. For her, being cast as Katana, a stoic, Japanese martial artist whose sword captures the souls of its victims, meant more than a cool role in a major Hollywood movie. “It means so much, because it’s always very off-putting when an actor of a different Asian ethnicity plays a Japanese character, especially if the movie is going to be aired in that country,” she says. “Growing up I realized that we really don’t have that many Asian actresses, models, or people that make public appearances on TV in Hollywood. Every Halloween I would have such a struggle dressing up as something because I would always feel so fake, like, ‘What superhero can I be? What Disney princess can I be?’ I was so limited.”

Even though she couldn’t imagine herself on-screen, Fukuhara decided to pursue a movie career anyway. She took whatever acting classes her family could afford and worked on her craft between years of Japanese school in Los Angeles and college at UCLA. “Have I always wanted to do this?” Fukuhara says. “Yes, but I never knew how. I sat down and thought about it and I was like, ‘I’m going to find out how to do this.’” That research involved getting a manager and an agent, and going on as many film and television auditions as possible. Miraculously, Suicide Squad is the first one that stuck. 

Her inexperience meant that she had to learn the intricacies of big-budget action filmmaking on the fly, which is where her years of karate—she began at age 12 and continued up to brown belt—came in handy during the fight scenes. And it helped that she clicked with her very famous castmates, a bond that was splashed all over Instagram. Fukuhara’s account is filled with group shots of the cast—who dubbed themselves the “skwad”—at music festivals, on private jets, and around bonfires. In one photo, Robbie, dressed in character as Harley Quinn, is giving Fukuhara an ankle tattoo as director David Ayer and castmate Joel Kinnaman look on with glee. “That was my first tattoo experience ever,” she says. “It was a pretty spontaneous decision we all made to commemorate our skwad bond. It puts a smile on my face every time I see it.” In fact, the first time fans realized Fukuhara was in the film was when she went to a hockey game with Delevingne in Toronto during production. “We took a picture eating a pizza, and she and I both posted it on social media,” says Fukuhara with a laugh. “My friends were like, ‘You’re with Cara Delevingne!’ I even got comments from DC fans saying, ‘I know you’re in the new DC movie. Don’t lie to us.’”

But ultimately, it was Leto who left the biggest mark. To enter the demented headspace of the Joker, Leto famously sent grotesque gifts to his unsuspecting castmates. “I got a box full of used condoms, dildos, and, like, a porn magazine,” Fukuhara says. “It was disgusting, and I kept it.” 

With anticipation for Suicide Squad high, Fukuhara is searching for her next role. She’s auditioning continuously and participated in pilot season, but hasn’t secured anything specific yet. So for now, Fukuhara’s IMDb page lists only one credit. “Started from the bottom,” she jokes, then reconsiders:  “Kind of started from the top, though.”

Hair: Aaron Light at The Wall Group using R+Co. Makeup: Mai Quynh at Starworks Artists using Lancome.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.