The Beauty Changes Lives Foundation held their 2nd annual Legacy of Style Event, Monday, September 23, at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Last year’s inaugural event honored Vidal Sassoon with the Legacy of Style award for elevating the salon profession through his creativity and passion for the craft. This year, the Legacy of Style award was given to actress, activist and “Mother of the Vietnamese Nail Professional” Tippi Hedren. Hedren is credited with launching the Vietnamese-American Nail Profession, which today accounts for 50% of the total industry. She has committed herself to the education and empowerment of Vietnamese-American women by helping them find work in the professional nail industry over the last three decades.
In addition to the Legacy of Style Award, Jan Arnold, Co-Founder of CND, announced the creation of the Beauty Changes Lives CND Tippi Hedren Nail Scholarship Fund. This Scholarship fund was created to elevate, educate and expose the the career of professional nail technican. CND presented the fund with an initial donation of $184,000.
Lynelle Lynch, President of Beauty Changes Lives, described the successful philanthropic efforts of the foundation as an amazing example of the industry coming together. “From manufacturers, spas, salons, creative artists, together, to unite behind one mission, volunteering their time to inspire the future generation of our industry,” said Lynch. “The accomplishments in our inaugural year are profound. We have raised almost two-million dollars towards our scholarship funds. This past year, 30 individuals have been blessed with a scholarship and we have given out over $175 thousand dollars.”
Arnold shared an abbreviated version of the story of Tippi Hedren and the establishment of the Vietnamese nail business. “In the 1960s and ‘70s, Tippi, as a famous actress, would give back through work with the USO, with Feed the People. She would go to Vietnam and she would travel the country, she would get to know the people, and she fell in love with the people,” said Arnold. “There was another famous actress there, Kieu Chinh, and Tippi and Kieu forged a very fast and deep friendship. And then Saigon fell. Now these people were without homes, without food and money. Many of them tried to flee. Everything changed. One day, Tippi got a phone call from Kieu who was calling all her Hollywood friends collect and one person took the call—Tippi Hedren. Not only did she help Kieu but she became dedicated to a refugee came near Sacramento called Camp Hope. She would go there to check on them, to bring them food. She knew that once the war was over, these people, an industrious, hard-working people, would need jobs.
There were 20 women in the camp who said,’We’re wives, we’re mothers and we don’t have a trade’ and Tippi said,’ you would make fabulous nail professionals.’ She put them through cosmetology school. They opened salons, they opened schools and the rest is history. Out of 350, 000 nail professionals, over 125, 000 of them are Vietnamese nail professionals. And it all started with an act of kindness, by Tippi extending her hand, believing in the people, and loving beauty. “
Elegant and lovely in a brilliant orange tunic, Hedren came to the stage and described the early days of watching these women flourish in the beauty industry. “There was such strength in these women and they did not want to be a burden to the United States,” she said. “It has been such an amazing time to watch the growth of this industry. I watched the men get involved, who were listening to their girlfriends and wives, and who saw them going from one shop to another to buy the supplies and they thought, why don’t we put it all into one building. And this was another off-shoot to this business. It wasn’t just the polishes. It was growing to a point that it was mind-boggling. Somebody said to me today, did you know this was going to expand into this kind of business, and I said, well, if I had, I would have wanted a percentage.” Holding her award, she concluded: “And here is part of my percentage, right here. I thank you so much this wonderful award, I am thrilled, I am honored and I thank you all.”
Also attending the event were other leaders of the Foundation including Robert Passage, CEO of Pivot Point International; American Association of Cosmetology Schools Executive Director Jim Cox and Board Member Christine Gordon; Fabio Sementilli, Vice President of Education for Wella, the Salon Professional Division of P&G; as well as Celebrity Groomer Diana Schmidtke and Celebrity Hairdresser Dean Banowetz.