Kana Grace Nootenboom: Family, Background, and More

Kana Grace Nootenboom: Family, Background, and More

Kana Grace Nootenboom is the daughter of Rocki Aoki and sister of American supermodel, Devon Aoki. She is also the mother of supermodel, Yumi Nu. This article delves into the life of Kana Grace Nootenboom, including her family. Stick around to find out more.


Kana Grace Nootenboom was born in 1968, making her 56 years old. She comes from an influential family. Her father was a popular Japanese-American restaurateur, professional offshore powerboat racer and amateur wrestler. She has 6 siblings: Jenifer Crumb, Kevin Aoki, Echo V. Aoki, Steve Aoki, Devon Aoki, and Kyle N. Aoki.

Her Daughter, Yumi Nu

Yumi Nu’s story is one that transcends modeling. Born Yumi Nootenboom in 1996, she grew up in a unique world shaped by her family’s heritage and future-focused careers. Her mom, Kana Grace Nootenboom, is the daughter of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, and her aunt and uncle are fashion model Devon Aoki and music producer Steve Aoki. Growing up, Yumi dabbled in both modeling, thanks to her mom’s influence, and songwriting, starting at the young age of 12. This creative spark eventually led to an EP release in 2019 under her uncle’s record label, Dim Mak Records.

Nu’s background isn’t without its challenges. Growing up with mixed Asian and Dutch heritage, she faced racism while living in Maryland. This experience likely fueled her passion for inclusivity and representation later in life.  Following a move to California at 14, she began modeling professionally in 2010. But Nu wasn’t content with just being another face. Recognizing the lack of plus-size Asian representation in fashion, she launched her own clothing line called Blueki.

Her talent and drive didn’t go unnoticed. In 2021, she graced the covers of both the American and Japanese editions of Vogue, a major accomplishment for any model. The same year, she made history by becoming the first Asian plus-size model to appear in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. This wasn’t a one-time feat. In 2022, Yumi Nu solidified her place as a groundbreaking model by landing a coveted cover spot for the Swimsuit Issue. This achievement resonated beyond the fashion world, leading to an invitation to the White House’s celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Today, Yumi Nu resides in Los Angeles, continuing to inspire with her music, modeling career, and advocacy for body positivity.  She’s a shining example of how personal experiences can fuel a desire to redefine the landscape of beauty and representation in the fashion industry.

Her Sister, Devon Aoki

Devon Aoki, a Japanese-German American, rose to fame as a model at just 13. By 16, she was a top runway star, walking for Chanel and Versace. Known for her edgy look, she graced countless magazine covers and major ad campaigns. Though she dabbled in acting, including “2 Fast 2 Furious,” modeling remained her focus. Now a wife and mom, Aoki continues to inspire with occasional runway appearances, solidifying her status as a fashion icon.


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