EXCLUSIVE: Get To Know In-Demand Celebrity Nail Artist Mimi Qiu
Many ladies are so obsessed with nails that they find more ways to dress up their digits. Some prefer dainty flowers painted on their nails, some like color-blocking, while others find pressed-on nails interesting—because let’s face it, a good manicure just makes everything better.
One nail art trend we’re seeing lately is the embellished nails, and celebrities like Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, Nadine Lustre, Anne Curtis, Bea Alonzo, and Liza Soberano, to name a few, are huge fans of this. Just like having their trusted glam team of makeup artists, hairstylists, and stylists, they too have their go-to nail artist, Mimi Qiu.
Not a lot of people know, fashion was Mimi’s first love. She took up fashion design, but thought the competition was tough in the industry. “Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘what if mag-nails na lang ako kasi wala pa naman nagpapauso ng nails sa Pinas. Gusto ko 'pag nails, Mimi agad ang maiisip.”
And so, she pursued her other hobby: nail art. Mimi studied in Hong Kong, Korea, and United States, and attended expos and conventions around the world, before opening Mimi Luxury Nails in Manila in 2008. She started using nails as a paintable mini canvas, where she can express her creativity through her extensive and intricate nail art designs.
Filipinos, as well as tourists, started to appreciate nail art. “Gusto ko ma-discover nila na, ‘uy may ganyan pala dito,’ akala nila sa Korea lang sila p'wede magpagawa ng ganito.”
The reason behind branding her nail salon as "luxury" is that Mimi wants to give exceptional service to her clients—she uses high-quality machines and imported materials, personally trains her staff, and does most of her clients' nails herself. “It’s not a normal nail manicure-pedicure. It’s more than just that. You add Swarovski, so that’s luxury,” says Charlie Reyes, Mimi’s husband. “And everything here is organic,” adds Mimi.
Today, it seems like Mimi runs a talent company with a roster of the country’s most sought-after celebrities serving as her loyal clientele. It all started by chance when she booked a glam team for a client’s personal photo shoot just a few years back. “Binook ko si Jelly Eugenio, Sidney Yap as the stylist, and Paul [Nebres] 'yung buhok. Tapos si Sidney sabi, ‘Uy ang ganda ng nails mo. Pakilala kita kay Karylle, kikay ‘yan.’” And the rest, she says, is history.
Since then, Mimi has been the talk of the town, doing one set of viral, Instagram-worthy nails at a time. Remember when Liza Soberano wowed everyone at the Star Magic Ball 2016? Yes, Mimi did Liza’s embellished nails then, which went well with her dove gray Michael Cinco gown. Or how about Anne Curtis’ bridal nude ombre nails? Hers, too! And during last year’s ABS-CBN Ball, Mimi had a total of 22 celebrities lined up in her hotel suite just to have their nails done—most of whom she is now happy to call friends.
One of Mimi’s regular clients and close friends is Catriona. “I met her through Ton Lao during Bb. Pilipinas. Every two weeks nagpapagawa siya,” she says. Mimi also recalls Catriona’s last visit before she headed to Thailand for the competition. “Last stop niya [dito bago] pumunta sa Thailand. 2a.m. andito siya, 5a.m. flight niya. Sobrang bait niya.” In fact, the night before this interview, Mimi also attended Catriona’s victory party.
In spite of her success and popularity, Mimi keeps herself grounded. “In Mimi Luxury Nails, she does it [herself]. 'Yung may-ari ang gumagawa, hindi lang 'yung staff,” says Charlie. Mimi also adds, “Ako naman, habang ginagawa ko, na-e-enjoy ko. [Minsan] hindi ko napapansin na 3a.m. na pala. ‘Yun yung importante, doing your passion.”
See more of the interiors of Mimi Luxury Nails, as well as some of her creations for her celebrity clients in the gallery below:
Photographs by Pat Buenaobra, additional images from @mimsqiu on Instagram
Mimi Luxury Nails is located at 28 Eugenio Lopez Dr, Diliman, Quezon City and 10 Bellagio Square, J. Bocobo St., Malate
Produced by Camille Santiago
Liaison editor: Grace Libero-Cruz
Photographs by Pat Buenaobra
Makeup by Mikka Marcaida for NARS
Jewelry by Luzjewelrycollectionbyggr