Jin Soon Choi

Jin Soon Choi

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the best manicurist

Jin Soon Choi has been synonymous with next-level nails as a celebrity manicurist long before nail art became a fashion phenomenon and began flooding our Instagram feeds. Crowned the "Nail Guru" by The New York Times Magazine, Jin Soon's star-studded clientele includes Lady Gaga, Kerry Washington, Drew Barrymore, Taylor Swift, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Oh, and this is when she’s not backstage at New York Fashion Week for shows like Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Givenchy, Vera Wang, and Rag & Bone, or on-set at a high-fashion editorial photoshoot.

Today, you likely recognize Jin Soon’s name on the bottles of her eponymous collection of luxe nail polishes. The award-winning nail lacquer brand is available online at jinsoon.com, Goop and Net-A-Porter, as well as at retailers like Barneys and Space NK. And with a long-lasting formula that's free of harsh chemicals yet delivers high-shine, Choi's nail polish brand has earned cult status.

Even more amazingly, this influential manicurist-to-the-stars’ story is that of a Hollywood movie, depicting the American Dream. Choi moved to New York City from her native Korea in 1991 with $400 in her pocket. After stints as a cashier and manicurist, she quickly became known as a rising freelance nail artist. Choi's mission was to offer more personalized services for her clients, a stark contrast from the volume-driven and fast-paced nail salons she once worked at. So Choi biked to and from her clients’ apartments, where she would offer one-on-one manicures, and earned the nickname “Bicycle Jin.”

Today, Choi is more likely spotted at any of her four luxury JINsoon Hand and Foot Spas in Manhattan, where she continues to offer personalized care in addition to overseeing her businesses. After the first location (in the East Village) opened to great fanfare in 1999, Choi opened three more locations: one in the West Village, another on the Upper East Side, and more recently her flagship in Tribeca.