the artist behind billie eilish and hunter schafer’s futuristic nails
Sojin Oh is the future-facing nail tech behind the manicures of Lil Nas X, Kim K, and more
words Louis Staples
If you’ve ever watched the cool kids of Euphoria High, or Lil Nas X lapdancing the devil, you might be a fan of Sojin Oh. If you haven’t heard of her, you’ll have definitely seen her work in music videos, the Met Gala red carpet or high fashion editorials.
Oh is a celebrity favourite, having designed stunning 3D sculptural nail art and artistic manicures for celebrities like Lil Nas X, Kim Kardashian, Grimes, Billie Eilish and Hunter Schafer. Her favourite collaborator is Bjork, who she has worked with for years.
After moving to America from Korea, Oh ventured to Los Angeles at the age of 15. After seven years working in PR and production for brands like American Apparel and Yeezy, she quit her job and enrolled in beauty school. “I realised my creativity didn’t belong in mass fashion,” she tells i-D. “I wanted to do something haptically exploratory with my hands.”
Since then, she's become one of the most successful nail artists in the game. Her work pushes the limits of polish, with carefully crafted manicures inspired by nature. She incorporates elements like flowers, crystals and pearls in her other-worldly designs, which inspire many of the textured manicures you've seen popping up on your Instagram feed lately.
"I draw a lot of my inspiration from nature and the landscapes of South Korea and the Americas,” she tells Byrdie. “I have travelled and watched a ton of nature docs and it inspired me to mimic the natural elements as well as sculptural forms, glass art, and creatures."
Her work isn’t just inspired by nature, but often incorporates rare materials and found objects from the natural world. On a recent trip to Central America, she collected moss, volcanic rocks, oyster shells and snakeskin. These became “mermaid nails” – manicures inspired by the ocean, made from materials from the ocean.
Recently, Sojin designed friend Shygirl’s nails in glass beads for an LA concert. “I was in shock watching all the lights reflecting off her hands,” she says. “They looked like a galaxy of stars.”