JIN SOON CHOI

JIN SOON CHOI

MEETING MEISEL

Manicurist Jin Soon Choi on falling into a top photographer’s fold.

From top left: Choi’s work in Vogue Italia January 2013, June 2014, July 2014, and August 2011; all photography by Steven Meisel

I’ve been a manicurist for 25 years. When it comes to nails, one could probably say that I’ve done it all.

I started by working in salons and making house calls, then signed with an agency, opened a salon of my own, and launched a namesake nail polish line.

In 2004, seven years after I started working on sets, I booked my first job with Steven Meisel: an Escada campaign that featured the model Karen Elson, [among others].

Gisele Bündchen photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia, June 2013, manicure by Jin Soon Choi

Meghan Collison photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia, October 2012, manicure by Jin Soon Choi

I was asked to give Karen a red manicure, and Steven watched me while I painted her nails.

He has a really sharp eye — Steven notices everything — and I was so nervous that my hands wouldn’t stop shaking.

I could barely manage to tell him my name.

Ashleigh Good photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia, November 2013, manicure by Jin Soon Choi

It took awhile to get to know him, but watching Steven work — his expressions, the way he speaks — I could see he is a warm person inside.

I’ve since become a part of his team — we say family — and over the past nine years, Steven has booked me on nearly all of his jobs, from Vogue Italia covers to Prada campaigns. He has taught me so much.

It’s easy to see why he’s number one.

— as told to The Thick

Did you see? Photographer Steven Meisel’s singular vision on display in a 2001 Vogue Italia editorial, editor and master perfumer, SunHee Grinnell & Frederic Malle, discuss the art of looking, and smelling, like a million bucks.

 

Julia Cumming photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia, May 2015, manicure by Jin Soon Choi