Jin Soon Choi (born Dec. 7, 1962 in Dae-Jeon, South Korea) is one of the most renowned nail artists in the fashion and beauty industry and the owner/creator of JINsoon Nail PolishEdit
A pioneer in elevating nails as a high fashion category, she was dubbed the “Nail Guru” by the New York Times Magazine. She began working with legendary fashion photographer Steven Meisel in 2008 and is part of his editorial team, overseeing the nail looks for the covers of Italian Vogue and advertising campaigns for luxury brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin and many more. Women’s Wear Daily said Choi is “one of the most hotly pursued manicurists among stylists and designers.”
With her signature chic and minimalist nail esthetic, Choi is a backstage fixture at New York Fashion Week every season—overseeing the models’ nails at the runway shows for Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang, Marchesa, Proenza Schouler, J. Mendel and more.
Choi owns three Jin Soon Natural Hand & Foot Spa nail salons in New York City and has her own nail lacquer line, JINsoon, that sells at retailers like Barneys New York, Sephora, Space NK and online at Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Jinsoon.com.
Under the JINsoon nail lacquer line, the brand sponsors fashion shows at New York Fashion Week each season, previous shows have included: Vera Wang, Derek Lam, Tibi, Tess Giberson, Karen Walker, Rag & Bone and Theory.
Jin Soon Choi owns three nail salons in New York City: in the East Village at 56 East 4th Street, in the West Village at 23 Jones Street and on the Upper East Side at 421 East 73rd Street.
Inspired by Choi’s Korean heritage, the intimately sized salons feature natural woods, soft lighting and serene interior accents. All of the salons have been designed by Choi’s husband, architect John Coughlan. The manicures and pedicures are known throughout the city as much as for their relaxing attributes as perfect application. On any given day, the clientele ranges from editors and models to moms and business people.
Choi likes to call her nail designs “high fashion nail art.” She has been known to find inspiration in modern artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Mark Rothko, while painting her signature chic, minimalist nail designs.
The “Jin Soon” shape, created through training her manicurists at her eponymous nail salons, is known throughout the beauty industry. The nails are filed straight on the sides, with slightly rounded corners. Not unlike the popular square-oval shape, or “squ-oval,” the Jin Soon shape features a softer tip, lending a more modern, high fashion look.
Jin Soon Choi was born in South Korea and was a former wholesale clothing business owner in Seoul from 1988 to 1990. Her clothing label, called Matisse, was perhaps an early indication of her love for modern art—which years later, would influence her nail designs.
Unhappy with the unethical work environment in her wholesale market in her country, she moved to New York City in 1991 and quickly began working at a Korean-owned nail salon on the Upper East Side. She never attended formal beauty school because a nail license wasn’t required at that time, but her eye for detail and strong work ethic soon began to catch the attention of high profile clients.
Jin Soon Choi credits her friends and connections in the industry—many of whom she met while doing their nails—for helping steer her in the right path early on.
Her client Donna Brodie did more than help Choi secure the location for her first nail salon in the East Village. She gave her a gift that would prove immeasurable—she taught her English in exchange for manicures. Brodie helped Choi write her first pitch letter to editors offering her nail service for magazine shoots and home parties. Through that outreach, one magazine editor responded—Andrea Pomerantz Lustig, the former beauty director at Cosmopolitan Magazine. The editor encouraged Choi to sign with an agency, and on June 13, 1997, she joined Mark Edward Inc. It was a smart move and success came—but not without hustle. A friend gave Choi a bicycle and from 1997 to 1999, she started biking around the city with her manicure-pedicure tools in her backpack. Her first celebrity home service client was Marisa Tomei and her first fashion show was Jill Stuart in September 1998. In February 1999, Choi met her soon-to-be husband, architect John Coughlan while she was in the process of opening her first nail salon in the East Village. He designed her first Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa, which opened in December 1999 at 56 East 4th Street in the East Village. Two more salons followed, also the work of her husband, in the West Village and then Upper East Side.
In 2008, Choi signed with Jed Root Inc. agency, and she quickly began working with MAC Cosmetics on photo shoots for the beauty brand’s top advertising campaigns,MAC-sponsored fashion shows—and ultimately a Jin Soon Choi collaboration of limited-edition colors designed exclusively for MAC.
In the Fall/Winter 2009, the Jin Soon Choi for MAC collection debuted, featuring six limited-edition colors (Cool Reserve, For Fun, Dance All Night, Rich Dark Delicious, Dry Martini and Beyond Jealous) that performed so well, MAC asked Choi to create another collaboration in the Fall/Winter 2010.
Choi began working with American Vogue on fashion shoots in April 2006 and joined the editorial team of legendary photographer Steven Meisel in April 2008. Her first Italian Vogue cover was April 2009 and she has done the nails on almost every single cover since.
First Career BreakEdit
On Feb. 11, 2001, the NY Times magazine featured Jin Soon Choi’s nail art paired with jewelry. The editorial was the first time the publication presented nail art spotlighting a single manicurist.
JINsoon Nail Lacquer launched in September 2012 and has already won numerous top beauty awards from leading magazines and publications. Here is a list of the award winners:
-JINsoon Polish is 2013 TotalBeauty.com Award Winner
-JINsoon “Jasper” nail color won 2013 Fall Makeup O-Wards in the nail category, October 2013
-JINsoon “Nostalgia,” “Best Nude” nail color as an Allure Magazine’s Best of Beauty Award winner, October 2013
-JINsoon “Dolly Pink” nail color received the 2014 Spring Makeup O-Wards Winner in the nail category
-JINsoon “Matte Maker” top coat is the winner for Best Base Coat /Top Coat category in the Total Beauty Awards, April 2014
-JINsoon “Pop Orange,” Health Magazine Award Winner, June 2014
-JINsoon “Cherry Berry” nail color, 2014 Redbook Magazine MVP Beauty Award Winner, June 2014
-JINsoon “Nostalgia” nail color won the best neutral shade for Nylon Magazine 2014 Beauty Hit List Winner, September 2014
-JINsoon “Color Field” Collection, Natural Health Magazine Best Nail Polish winner, September/October 2014
More about the JINsoon Nail Lacquer LineEdit
Since launching in 2012, Choi has drawn upon her model and fashion industry friends to lend a high fashion feel to the JINsoon Nail Lacquer line.
Each season, Choi creates a limited edition “A La Mode” collection of nail colors—these are six of-the-moment fashion colors that are either named by her model friends or are part of collaboration with a niche fashion brand. Models like Karlie Kloss and Coco Rocha have participated in naming the colors in previous seasons and the first JINsoon Nail Lacquer designer collaboration was Tibi in Fall/Winter 2013. A limited-edition collection with designer Tess Giberson debuted in Fall/Winter 2014.
In addition to the United States, JINsoon Nail Polish retails throughout Asia in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Publicity—Jin Soon Choi the celebrity nail artistEdit
Jin Soon Choi is very active on social media—regularly posting photos to Instagram and Facebook of her backstage with models, hanging out with celebrities, DIY nail art and day-in-the-life shots of a nail artist living in New York City. Allure Magazine beauty director Patricia Tortolani told WWD that Choi’s social media presence makes her even more recognizable—and appealing.
She is represented by BPCM a PR firm to advertise her name. BPCM is responsible for promoting her name as a manicurist, her nail salons and her nail polish line. They're the ones who are able to get her products and name published in multiple fashion article that gives advice to the readers about the current style that is in for the season..
JINsoon nail lacquer collectionsEdit
A La Mode Collection:Edit
Swatches: Lacquered Lover
- Blue Iris
- Coral Peony
- French Lilac
- Poppy Blue
- Tea Rose
- Cherry Berry
- Cool Blue
- Dolly Pink
- Kookie White
- Pop Orange
- Jasper copy
Tess Giberson Collecton
Holiday 2013 Collection
Holiday 2014 Collection