BY KASSIDY MCDONALD
You might know about Jenny Bui, the mastermind behind Cardi B’s next-level nail creations, but you might not know about Bui, the accomplished female entrepreneur and business mogul. The self-anointed queen of all-things crystal and bling was just named OPI’s newest brand ambassador, and has 24 years of industry experience to boot.
Bui got her start in the nail industry in the Bronx, NY, after escaping the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the early ’90s—she traveled through Thailand, Vietnam and Canada to get here. Upon arrival, Bui attended cosmetology school where she developed her passion for nail art, and things took off. Today, she owns two salons, Nails On 7th in Harlem and Jenny’s Spa in the Bronx, and has clients travel from all over the world for appointments, proving that her crystal-encrusted designs are sought-after, one-of-a-kind gems.
Her style can be described in one word: luxury. “My clients are my blank canvas, and when people saw the bling, the rest was history,” she told American Salon. Bui pulls inspiration from a lot of things around her when creating her distinct looks that use colorful bling and crystals. “I’m inspired by so many things—fashion inspires me, culture inspires me,” she added. “I see beauty in everything. I can’t help it.”
It was Cardi B’s nails at the 2018 Grammy Awards that helped “bring bling back into the mainstream,” according to an interview with NYCGo. Cardi B’s “long, stiletto, Swarovski-accented nails...marked the height of a trend whose aesthetic traces back to the ’90s hip-hop world and Japanese nail techniques, known for their vivid, bright colors accentuated by crazy, ‘kawaii’ (basically, cute) embellishments,” the article said. Jenny has also done Cardi B’s nails for many of her music videos, including iconic hits like "WAP” and “Money.”
As for Bui’s greatest accomplishment, she said it was winning the American Influencer Award. “The award for me means to finally be accepted, not just as a woman, but a successful woman who others look up to,” she told us.
With two salons, several celeb clients and a partnership with OPI under her belt (which, no doubt, is adorned with crystals), she is certainly a nail artist to look to for advice in this business. Her words of wisdom: "When trying to make a name for yourself in this industry, develop your own signature style. And, be your best self—do only what you like to do and do it best.”