Appraently it was due to Tippi Hedren, the actress who starred in Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” and the mother of Melanie Griffith.
Yes, that Tippi Hedren:
“The Vietnamese just happened to be the immigrant group that was willing to do anything, that was new to this country,” Osborne says.
Actress Tippi Hedren was instrumental in helping Vietnamese immigrants to California get started in the nail industry.
Kent Gavin/Getty Images
“And the suggestion for them to see this niche actually came from a Hollywood actress.”
That actress was Tippi Hedren, an elegant blond who starred in several of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies in the 1960s.
When she wasn’t onscreen, Hedren was an international relief coordinator with the organization Food for the Hungry. After Saigon fell, she was working with Vietnamese women in a refugee camp near Sacramento when several admired her long, glossy nails.
Hedren had a manicurist named Dusty at the time and asked her if she would come to the camp to meet with the women. Dusty agreed, and Hedren flew her up to Camp Hope every weekend to teach nail technology to 20 eager women…
Le and her sister manicurists have transformed the nail business, which is projected to pull in some $7.3 billion this year. Today, affordable manicures have become so synonymous with the Vietnamese that Nails magazine offers a Vietnamese-language version.
Le says the constant demand for affordable manicures has given a steady stream of Vietnamese nail technicians work across the country — and the globe.
Even, ironically, back in Vietnam. “If you look around, you see they go everywhere — and they start from California!” Le says, laughing.
I thought I’d also put up a clip of Hedren in “The Birds.” But the one I watched was just too too creepy.