How did you get started? When I came to the United States from South Korea, I spoke very little English, so I took a job in a Korean nail salon. After a few years of moving to different salons—and even using a bicycle with a huge basket filled with polishes to travel to the apartments of private clients—I decided I wanted to start working for magazines. I spent hours at Barnes & Noble researching every magazine, writing down beauty editors' names and addresses to send letters looking for jobs on shoots. I think I sent 50 letters. Andrea Pomerantz Lustig , who was then at Cosmopolitan magazine, responded, set me up with nail polish from her beauty closet and put me in touch with an agent. I began doing beauty and fashion shoots with top photographers like Steven Meisel, runway shows, and since then I have opened three salons.
Why did you start a nail polish line? When you're constantly doing photo shoots, you have ideas for shades that don't exist! So I wanted to solve that problem by creating my own—my line offers an on-trend pop of color to women of all ages and career paths. The colors were inspired by high fashion and since I work with so many high fashion models, like Coco Rocha, Karlie Kloss and Caroline Trentini, I asked them to name the colors.
What product makes you feel most beautiful? When I have a little bit of lip color I look more alive! Lip gloss looks young and fresh. I also love BB cream because it is so easy. I am very lazy when it comes to makeup, so a good BB cream and lip gloss are the two things I rely on during busy fashion weeks when I have a million jobs and interviews.
What's your real world beauty tip? Treat your nails as accessories. When it comes to picking shades, choose a color that contrasts your skin tone or matches it—that's the most important "rule" you can follow for nails. If you're matching, just follow your skin tone like you would the foundation on your face. If you're contrasting, go a little edgier, choose for the occasion or your mood and have fun.
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