This Drag Queen was ashamed of their nail art – now it’s a form of self-expression

man in black and white shirt

It is not easy to achieve a perfect manicure. Professionals are often regarded as the only ones who can do it. But, innovative formulas and nail products make it possible for anyone to achieve a top-notch manicure at home. We teamed up with two influential nail artists, a New York-based fashion writer and slash-drag queen, and an L.A.-based model and activist who use nail art to express themselves. We asked them to try the brand’s GLAZE gel manicure strip, which can be cured under an LED light in 45 seconds. Dashing Diva makes it possible to create beautiful manicures at home.

Andrew Nguyen believes manicures are a form of self-expression. They are powerful symbols of freedom, beauty and creativity. His father owned a nail salon in Florida, where he grew up. He recalls that he hated nails as a child because he forced him to do so. “Of course, being a bratty kid, I was like, Absolutely not.”

Nguyen, a Vietnamese American who grew up in Vietnam, recalled the humiliation that he felt in second grade when his cousins made him look pretty and put on makeup. He says, “It was so embarrassing at the time.” “I was like, “Oh my God, this is so shameful.”

Then there was pre-school. His aunt used to keep an eye on him and sometimes painted his nails black, much to the dismay of his mother. He recalls, “I thought it was cool, but my mother picked me up and was so upset.” “I mean, my family is supportive now, but back then they were mad because I was a boy .'”

man in black and white shirt

Nguyen, 26, despite the initial negative feelings he felt about nails, now loves all things manicure-related. Nguyen, a fashion writer by day and Dynasty, a drag artist by night – “a classic New York multihyphenate,” they laugh – considers nails art. He says, “When I started doing drag I began to appreciate [nail arts] more.” “I met this entire beautiful community of queens who loved nails and I met queens who had such cool, intricate nail art. It was then that I began to appreciate it as an art form, and a way of expressing myself.

His preferred nail color? Gunmetal is his favorite. He says, “I love it when my fingernails appear like they’re made of metal claws.” Nguyen says, “I feel like an awful bitch.” Nguyen also said that although he might change his ring finger occasionally “if I’m feeling spicy,” most of the time he sticks to the same color across the board. “I am a uniform girl. It’s cohesive.”

Nguyen is not a fan of trying new things to achieve this look. Nguyen said, “I watched the video tutorial on how to apply GLAZE DIY gel manicure strips. I was like, “Oh my God, this is so freaking convenient!” There are dozens of colors and patterns in the collection. Nguyen chose red and black French tips, teal, purple metallic shades and metallic silver. The results are flawless!

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