CHESAPEAKE, VA – Last Christmas was the first time that I had gone home to Virginia since moving to California and joining the NAILS team a year ago. I wanted to visit a salon for On the Road and I decided what better place to visit than Christopher Truong’s salon. Christopher has owned and operated Glamour Nails and Training Academy for eight years in Chesapeake, Va., along with his wife Celeste. (Celeste met Christopher when he did her nails, and later became a nail technician herself. Now she runs the salon’s training program.) It is just the two of them in the salon, which is open six days a week. (Although the day I visited them, their 2-year-old daughter Natalia was also there, painting her own nails with water colors.)
From the moment I approached the door, I knew that something was different from other strip-mall salons. Above the door, prominently displayed, are the words “Home of the Champion.” More than an ego display, the trophies, plaques, and certificates are savvy marketing by someone who understands where his strong suit lies. Since coming onto the competition circuit in 1996, Christopher has ranked among the top 10 nail competitors every year. In other words, clients who come into Glamour Nails know they are in the presence of someone who knows what he is doing, someone who is involved in the industry, someone who is respected by his peers.
Since I was not getting a full set (I know, how could I go to Christopher Truong’s salon and not get sculptured acrylics?), Celeste did a natural nail manicure and pedicure on me, while Christopher serviced a few other clients. At my request, Celeste painted my nails a funky, silvery French for a millennium party I was going to and performed one of the best pedicures that I have ever had. Nothing fancy, just a good scrub and massage, topped off with bright pink polish on my toes. While they offer a spa manicure and pedicure, Celeste told me that these services are not as popular because her regular manicures and pedicures are so thorough.
The quaintness of the salon gave me the perfect chance to talk to Christopher and Celeste about myriad things from their business, to Christopher’s competing, to their daughter, and Christopher’s hobbies. Interspersed with all of his nail awards are pictures of his family – Celeste, Natalia, and Celeste’s older daughter Rachel. And when Christopher talks about competing and sponsorships, it almost seems as if these two things are not necessarily in his future. With past sponsorships including OPI, EZ Flow, and Odyssey, he is now “freelancing.” And this is what he wants to be doing right now. It gives him the opportunity to stay close to home and be with his family. A natural competitor, Christopher also spoke exuberantly about his latest hoppy – remote control helicopters – which he hopes to compete in one day as well. Knowing his track record, the remote control helicopter industry is about to face a fierce competitor.
Christopher Truong proudly stands here in his salon, surrounded by his accomplishments, his family, and his latest hobby – building and flying remote control helicopters like this one.
Working together in their salon six days a week does not seem to bother Celeste and Christopher Truong. While he specializes in pink and whites, she does a variety of nail services as well as waxing and skin care.