If you know anything about nail salons, you know that they’re owned and staffed almost exclusively by Vietnamese people. (If you don’t, you now know this one thing.) It turns out the reason for this is Tippi Hedren, the girl from The Birds and other Hitchcock movies made after he lost Grace Kelly to royal marriage. Ms. Hedren was quite the bleeding heart, so she was working in a Vietnamese refugee camp in California during the Vietnam War, when she got the idea to train all those women in the art of the manicure. She flew her own manicurist up to the refugee camp every weekend and made sure that they learned how to be “very special” manicurists, not just plain ones.
The trade then spread around the Vietnamese community until one couple, Diem and Kien Nguyen, started the Advance Beauty College, which graduates mostly manicurists and which has classes in both English and Vietnamese. This means that if you’re a recent Vietnamese immigrant who can’t speak a word of English, your choice of career is pretty much made up for you. And so, Tippi Hedren’s kindness is not only responsible for the ethnic homogenization of an entire industry, but also for making manicures affordable — before the Vietnamese, you had to be rich to get one.