Meet Lili Nguyen, a 22-year-old certified nailporn star who puts the French in manicures, literally. She’s from Paris and she’s pimpin’ out nails with her kawaii-mignon designs found over at @thisisvenice. Check out her very first Nailporn interview after the jump while I go book my first flight to Paris.
Twitter: @ThisIsVenice IG:@ThisIsVenice
Favorite place to escape? Anywhere the sun is! We don’t see it much here.
What is your art background? I’ve always loved to draw instead of listening to my teachers back in school. I never took art classes or went to art school, I just draw what’s on my mind.
When did you start doing nails? My very first take on nail art was in late 2010, and here I am now!
Is nail culture popular in France? Not really actually. French girls are not really used to spending a lot of money on manicures, and everything that is nail related. They either go for a really classy red or nude pink nail, or you will see a lot of girls with chipped nail polish that don’t really care. Nail art in France has in ways been considered old fashioned or for country side girls but I think France is fortunately opening it’s mind toward nail culture again.
What’s it like owning your own shop? I’ve been waiting for this for so long, I’m so happy and so blessed or lucky, I don’t know, but either way I’m really thankful for everything. I feel like I’ve took a huge step on my adult life now.
How do you set yourself apart from other nail artists? I don’t know actually, I just follow my inspiration, continue to be myself and try to leave my little mark on girls nails.
What inspires you? As for my professional life, working and succeeding on my own. To make my own money, be my own boss and not waiting for someone to do the work for me. It is the same for my personal life, trying to be a real woman.
What does it take to be successful in this world? A lot of passion and patience. You have to believe in yourself, be humble, and never stop working. It’s never over. Success is a long trip you’ll never have worked enough.
Nailporn (@thisisnailporn) by Sophy Robson (@sosoflynails) is switching things up this year starting with its new nail art interview series i’ll be taking part in with my good friend Sasha from theholynail. i haven’t written about nails in what feels like forever so you can imagine how hyped i am to get back into the swing of things under fashions premier nail artist. eichimatsunaga, if you’re reading this for some reason, i’m trying to get to know you!
So, the Olympics are still happening, and yeah, the U.S. has won 18 gold medals (so far), which is AMAZING and GREAT and everything, but despite all that, there seems to be another part of the games that people can’t stop talking about—the nail art. We’ve already showed you all the killer designs that athletes have sported thus far, but haven’t you been wondering just HOW every competitor got their hands on such mind-blowing manis? Well, as it turns out, one of London’s biggest nail artists Sophy Robson (who some have deemed the “Nail Queen”) teamed up with Max Factor to develop nail designs that are applied at P&G salons inside the Olympic Village. Niiiiiceee. After peeping these incredible manis all week long, we neededto hear from the nail guru herself! Sophy was nice enough to give us some insider deets on what the nail art scene is like in London during one of the biggest events of the year, and how the Olympic Games could change the nail art world forever.
MTV STYLE: OMG, nail art at the Olympics! We’re so excited! What’s it like doing nail art on the athletes?
SOPHY ROBSON: It was such fun working with the athletes—there are no egos involved and they are just excited to have something represent their country on their nails.
Did you pre-create designs for the athletes or can they request whatever they want?
For Max Factor, I created 207 country flag designs, which are being hand painted on athletes and their families at the P&G salons across London. Each design is based on the flags colors; however people can come in and choose whatever they want or a variation of different flags. It’s really all about making sure the Olympians and their mum are looking and feeling their best throughout the games and showing their love and support for their countries in creative, semi-permanent ways!
What is the most popular nail design the athletes are requesting?
The Union Jack flag! We’ve done thousands and constantly having to order more Max Effect Mini Polishes in Ruby Tuesday and Candy Blue.
What is the craziest nail request you have gotten so far at the Olympics?
Some athletes are born in one place, but residents in another or have connections to other countries, so they tend to mix, match and merge some of the flag designs. In terms of the designs, the New Zealand fern logo was a bit of a challenge, and I had to draw the Guam flag, which has a lot going—there’s a beach, boat and palm tree, all in one oval!
How does it feel to see your designs on TV or even—gasp—wrapped around a gold medal?
I am proud to be part of the whole experience to be honest. In fact, I am feeling very proud to be British at the moment!
How do you think London’s nail art scene has affected the global view of nail art? Do you think it’s making it more mainstream and widely accepted?
I think London, more than any other capital, is the place where expressing yourself through your style is more innovative and inspirational. Londoners are often forced to be creative with their style as they don’t have the budget to spend a lot of money, but they have the resources to make themselves look eye catching and chic. Londoners are generally not afraid to try new things and that’s why we have the ability to influence the world.
The focus on the athletes’ nails has been unprecedented and I think it is brilliant for the nail industry that the mainstream is noticing it. If it takes athletes of world class status to bring nail art in to peoples living rooms and makes it acceptable, then I think it’s a great thing.
Even if you’re not keeping up with the games, by now most of Tumblr has seen nailsdid on the athletes of this summer’s Olympics. Especially the work done by Sophy Robson’s NailPorn. Robson and her team of manicurists have been going hard in the paint literally at the forefront but unfortunately due to politics, cannot announce their lovely labor at this time. That’s the tricky part about this site, things can get lost in the Tumblr universe. But if you’ve been keeping up with the tweets and tumbles, you already know the difference between derivative and NailPorn official. If you don’t, revoke your nail card now! Just kidding! But it is important to be conscious of accuracy no matter who’s behind the design. People always want their proper credit so do the homework and shoutout the source.
Continue to show love and always know what’s up, thank you! x