Little known fact: Vietnamese-Americans make up half the nail technician population in America, and that is in large part because of actress Tippi Hedren. Yes, that Tippi Hedren (star of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”). While she is known for her animal rights work, she is also very much the humanitarian.
In the 1960s Hedren worked with Food For the Hungry, and after the fall of Saigon she became involved with Hope Village, a refugee camp near Sacramento. While at the camp, refugees would admire her long, coral-colored fingernails. Hedren brought her manicurist to the camp, and she in turn taught 20 of the women how to do nails. Thus, the Vietnamese nail industry was born.
VietSalon editor Kim Pham, NAILS Magazine managing editor Sree Roy, and I were fortunate enough to interview Hedren at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills prior to her receiving the Legacy of Style Award from CND and Beauty Changes Lives last Monday.
Yes, this was what you would expect of a Beverly Hills beauty industry party: the champagne flowed, the h’orderves were small, and everyone was dressed to the nines. But let me tell you, Ms. Hedren is not what you would expect of a style icon and Hollywood celebrity. She is still stylish and graceful at 83, has an amazing sense of humor, and she feels genuine empathy for other people. Hearing some of the speakers talk about fleeing Vietnam and Hedren being the only person willing to sponsor them and help them in a time of disarray reminded me of the greater calling we all have in this life: to do what we can for others. We all may not be celebrities, but we can volunteer. We all may not be nail technicians, but we can support our local salons. If you believe in a cause, don’t be afraid to share your support. We are inclined to think that being just one person means not being able to do very much, when in actuality, one person can make all the difference. That is the legacy of Ms. Hedren, and it is a beautiful one.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?