19 Aug: The Surprising Start of Vietnamese Nail Bars

Tippi Hedren, star of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and ‘Marnie’, was already known for her activism – primarily rescuing big cats – when, on 19th August, 1975 she visited a Vietnamese refugee camp in Sacramento, California

Her nail art dazzled many of the women she met – so she set about helping them retrain as Hollywood manicurists, disrupting an industry which had previously been seen as a Beverly Hills luxury. Today, over half of nail technicians in the USA are of Vietnemese descent.

In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly consider if Hedren’s template for celebrity ambassadorship has ever been bettered; uncover the story of Ted Ngoy, the Cambodian ‘Donut King’; and discover who turned up to a charity event sporting the most expensive manicure of all time…

Further Reading:

• ‘How Tippi Hedren made Vietnamese refugees into nail salon magnates’ (BBC, 2015): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32544343

• ‘Nailed It: A Documentary On How Vietnamese Workers Took Over U.S. Nail Salons’ (NPR, 2019):


• ‘Kelly Osbourne wears $250k nail varnish by Azature to the Emmys’ (HELLO!, 2012):