Friday, July 29, 2011

Nailed It

I've always wondered a lot about ethnic division of labor in the country. R pointed me to this story.

"The story of how the Vietnamese fell into the nail industry is one of pure chance -- of how 20 women who fled their war-torn country happened to meet a Hollywood starlet with beautiful nails.
The women were former teachers, business owners and government officials who came to America in 1975 after the fall of Saigon and landed in a tent city for Vietnamese refugees near Sacramento called Hope Village. 
Actress Tippi Hedren, drawn to the plight of Vietnamese refugees, visited every few days. The Vietnamese knew little of Hollywood, so Hedren showed them Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and pointed out her face on the screen.
Hedren was captivated by the refugees' stories of their homeland. They were, among other things, fascinated by her nails -- long, oval, the color of coral.
"I noticed that these women were very good with their hands," said Hedren, now 78. "I thought, why couldn't they learn how to do nails?"
So Hedren flew in her manicurist once a week to teach the women how to trim cuticles, remove calluses and perform nail wraps. She persuaded a nearby beauty school to teach the women and helped them find jobs."

Sidebar: Tippi Hedren is Melanie Griffith's mum. 
Sidesidebar: Does anyone else get Melanie Griffith and Goldie Hawn mixed up?

Now let's all go get our nails did!


  1. So many things in this post, first cool nails (but snag city?) then awesome history (although it always kind of sucks to think of the way people immigrate but can't continue in the career paths/fields). And then, Tippi -> Melanie? Who knew!

  2. The=their. Doctor cabbies, anyone?

  3. Tippi Hendren? Didn't she also invent some kind of technological communications protocol? No, wait, that was, um, Rita Hayworth?

  4. cool ! what an interesting chunk of history (HERstory, as my feminist friends would say). i used to be a manicurist -- OR, NAIL TECHNICIAN, I SHOULD SAY ! it was my favorite of favorite jobs. i found the repetition soothing, and enjoyed the 30 minute gab-sessions with my clients.

    i love that photo you posted. i want those fingers to scratch my back.

  5. infolicious as always, gracie o!

  6. very interesting!! thanks for sharing ;) Tiff

  7. fascinating!

    joe can't figure out sigourney weaver and geena davis to save his life.

  8. It's Hedy Lamarr who invented that thingy.

  9. +WPZ, i know, it IS sad. those nails are totally impractical but are very maurice sendaky to me.

    +LPC, really? she was the star in The Birds and various hitchcock vehicles.

    +17beats, holy shit, really? you would be the dream nail tech. recite haikus and get bangin' nails.

    awesomewordinventingness as always, lauren o!

    +Tiff, it took me a really long time to decide whether or not this was spam or a real comment. REAL!?

    +Celia, i'm with joe on that one, it's a toughie.

    +Jessica, mmmmmmmmmhmmmmmmm

  10. I've never heard that story before, but will be repeating it often!

  11. OMG! OMG! Fabulon is in the house! Hiiiiii *waves*

    Ain't it a great party topic?
    (Can you tell I don't go to parties often)

  12. Now elaborate on the Vietnamese pharmacist phenomenon. Or is that a Calif only thing?

  13. +Anne, I haven't noticed that one... report back if you find anything!

  14. I worked with Tippi in June. She was pleasant.


The divine PB&J in me, salutes the divine PB&J in you.