Nail artist, competitor, and entrepreneur Dao Nguyen Dobyns Upshaw died in May at age 53 after a short battle with stomach cancer.
Nail artist, competitor, and entrepreneur Dao Nguyen Dobyns Upshaw died in May at age 53 after a short battle with stomach cancer. The wife of Kupa president Bob Upshaw, Dao was born in Vietnam and came to the U.S. in 1975 with her first husband, Robert Dobyns, their two children, Robert and Cathy, and her sister Le.
Le introduced her sister to the nail industry by asking her to model for nail competitions, and after much urging, Dao enrolled in cosmetology school in Reno, Nev.
After receiving her license in 1986, she began competing in nail competitions herself and emerged victorious t event after event. It was in 1991, while competing, that she met Upshaw, whom she eventually married.
The two joined forces in business and as a family, raising Dao’s daughters, Theresa and Jennifer. The family moved to Fullerton, Calif., in 1997 where they continued to enjoy a shared business and family life, including three grandchildren. In the last decade, Dao made numerous trips back to Vietnam, where she contributed financially to family members and anyone else in need-particularly orphans and uneducated girls.
Dao will be greatly missed for her hard work, tireless energy, humor, take-charge personality, frankness, and above all her love for her family, say those close to her.
Friends have raised $10,000 thus far to support Dao’s favorite charity, an orphanage in her hometown.