On October 8th, Bellacures Brentwood and OPI Products honored Hollywood icon Tippi Hedren for her humanitarian efforts in aiding Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam War and in developing the nail industry. The elegant cocktail event was held at Bellacures in Brentwood, Calif. and included a screening of “Happy Hands,” a short documentary directed by Honey Lauren, catering from The District by Hannah An, and complimentary OPI mini manicures.
After South Vietnam fell to North Vietnam’s Communist Regime in April 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees fled by boat to escape persecution. Hedren, a volunteer relief coordinator for Food For the Hungry, helped set up a refugee camp outside of Sacramento, Calif., called Weimar Hope Village. They brought in typists, seamstresses, and helped the Vietnamese transition into their new life in the U.S.
Among the different career paths introduced to the refugees was that of a manicurist. Twenty women were given the chance to learn how to do nails. “They loved my fingernails, they were long and coral. I asked my manicurist, Dusty, to come up and teach them how to do the Juliette manicure,” Hedren says. “All I wanted to do was find a wonderful career for these 20 women that I just fell in love with.”
As the first Vietnamese women in the U.S. to get their nail license, they spread the word to family and friends about the great career in the nail industry, and that, in short, was how the Vietnamese-American nail industry was started.
OPI executive VP Suzi Weiss-Fischmann along with Bellacures founder Samira Far, Bellacures Brentwood owner Gerard Quiroga, and event producer Michael Habicht, presented Hedren with the Believe, Achieve, Empower Award for her selfless work.
“On behalf of Bellacures, OPI, and the rest of us, we’d like to honor Tippi in bringing this wonderful love and support to this beautiful community that’s supporting so many people,” says Habicht.
“I’m also an immigrant to this country and was fortunate enough to be part of the American Dream, and Tippi has changed so many lives,” says Suzi. “I remember when we started, pedicures were only for someone of a certain socio-economic level. Nail technicians of the Vietnamese community made pedicures affordable and available to all. These small changes have been done by this community and Tippi is a hero.”
Bellacures and OPI also made a donation to The Roar Foundation, which Hedren started to fund the Shambala Preserve that provides sanctuary to over 40 exotic cats.
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Believe, Achieve Empower: Bellacures and OPI Honor Tippi Hedren (photo gallery)
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The Vietnamese Nail Industry: Where Are We Now? (Viet [Salon] Voice blog)