Describing her style as ‘ethereal, gastronomic, and chaotic’, the artist cites an ancient Korean calligraphy as the foundation of her unique aesthetic
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Which fictional character does nail artist Sojin Oh most identify with? You’ll probably be surprised to find out it’s Harry Potter’s Hagrid. “We are the same person except I'm a better cook,” she tells us. “I literally permed my hair to look like him in grade six and ran for class president and I lost to my friend who was on a reality TV show!”
Originally from Seoul, Sojin ran away to North America by herself when she was 15 to get away from her boyfriend at the time. Now living in Los Angeles, Oh has been making a name for herself as one of the industry’s hottest new rising stars. Her water drop nails have become a phenomenon with everyone from Kim Kardashian to Rina Sawayama and Lil Miquela coming to her for the style.
Pulling inspiration from everything from the underwater sea creatures she would see in her scuba diving lessons to Björk and drawing on her early training with the brushes used in Seoye, an ancient Korean calligraphy her dad’s family was heavily involved in, Sojin’s nature-inspired designs push the boundaries of nail artistry. “I like to translate organic phenomena into sublime creations with consideration and a sense of humour,” she says of her work. And for the future? Her three-year plan is to normalise nail extensions for men. “Thank god for Bad Bunny!”
Here, we speak to the nail artist about her aesthetic, when she feels most beautiful, and why kimchi is her favourite smell.
What’s your earliest beauty related memory?
Sojin Oh: I would colour my dad’s toes while he was asleep. He was totally down with it though. Also I started cutting my own bangs when I was three – dad wasn't down.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
Sojin Oh: KIM KARDASHIAN!
Describe your beauty aesthetic in three words.
Sojin Oh: Ethereal, gastronomic, chaotic.
What’s your favourite smell?
Sojin Oh: Fresh kimchi. It reminds me of my mom!
Who is your beauty icon or favourite look of all time?
Sojin Oh: Gong Li in Curse of the Golden Flower. Her attitude, hair, make-up, looks, and those gold claws!! So major.
What does beauty mean to you?
Sojin Oh: Gonna sound cheesy for a second here: healthy, body and state of mind. I don’t think anyone can be truly beautiful without taking care of their inner-self.
“(Beauty means) a healthy, body and state of mind. I don’t think anyone can be truly beautiful without taking care of their inner-self” – Sojin Oh
When do you feel most beautiful?
Sojin Oh: Right when I get out of Korean spa.
You have the ability to live in a video game. Which would it be and why?
Sojin Oh: Dance Dance Revolution. I love its playlist.
You have to replace your body with that of an animal or a mythological creature. What do you go for and why?
Sojin Oh: Blue glaucus. They are hermaphroditic and they spend their life just floating upside down in the water all day everyday and you can’t touch them – they are highly venomous. We love to see it!
You encounter a hostile alien race and sound is their only mechanism for communication. What would you play to them to inspire them to spare you and the rest of the human race?
Sojin Oh: “Clair de Lune” by Debussy or honestly the entire Ray of Light album.
Are you optimistic about the future?
Sojin Oh: I’m not so sure. I’m definitely trying to be a part of making the future better but honestly things are pretty exhausting right now. But I’m optimistic because of people like AOC (Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez) and Bernie (Sanders).
What is the future of beauty?
Sojin Oh: Destruction of beauty standards!