How Karrueche Tran Went from Working at a Department Store to Playing a Killer Nail Artist on Claws

The 29-year-old actress shares her favorite nail salons in the world as well as costumes on the show—many of which include stripper heels.

Premiere Of TNT's "Claws" - Arrivals
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images

In the first episode of Claws—a new show on TNT about a group of murderous manicurists just trying to make ends meet—Virginia Loc, played by actress Karrueche Tran, appears on screen in a mesh pink tank top, silver bathing suit, ombre jeans the color of summer ice flavors, gold knocker earrings and long neon acrylic nails to match. This is just one of Tran’s many over-the-top outfits in the series. In the pilot alone, she changes into itty-bitty jorts, a lace one-piece, pink thigh-high patent leather boots, and a pink faux-fur coat with nothing but a bathing suit underneath, which she accessories with, well, a gun.

Karrueche Tran, who started her career working s a personal shopper and stylist at a Nordstrom in a California mall, is no stranger to killer looks. But now, as a successful Wilhelmina model and actress, she’s the one doing the buying. Here, Tran opens up about her early days in fashion, her costumes on the show, (many of which include stripper heels), as well as, of course, her favorite nail salons in the world.

What’s your favorite costume on Claws:

My favorite costume is from the end of episode one: a long pink fur with a pink bathing suit, topped with the clear stripper heels. I also loved my look from the fourth episode, when I wore a pair of thigh-high baby pink patent leather boots with booty shorts and a cropped Adidas tee. The hair and accessories definitely topped it off. Victoria Mahoney directed the episode and had a vision board for each character including hair, makeup, and outfits. She brought a picture of this super cool hairstyle that was half tied-up, half down with a few braids and a ton of old-school knocker earrings in the hair. It was such a dope look and perfect for Virginia.

How long did it take to get your nails done on set?

In the pilot it took a long time—maybe an hour plus, because we were actually putting acrylic on our nails. For the rest of the season, we used press-ons stuck with tape, which made it a much easier process and less time consuming. It probably took less than five minutes for each nail change.

Your favorite nail salons in the world:

My two favorite places are in L.A.: Laque and Pampered Hands.

Preferred polish color:

I usually wear “Kiss The Bride” by Orly for a fresh gel mani and I always wear white gel on my toes.

Wildest nails you’ve ever had:

Virginia’s nails from episode one were glow-in-the-dark highlighter green with two pink tiara charms dangling from the tips of the nails.

How is your style different from your character’s?

I’m a little more on the simple side. I like to wear clothes that look the best on my body, which is why I wear a lot of crop tops and high waisted bottoms—it gives me more shape and makes me look taller. I like to try new styles and trends, but I’m not as daring as Virginia. Virginia is overly trendy, and wears all the trends at the same time. Her outfits scream: ‘Look at me!’ She wears a lot of bright colors, lots of booty shorts, and fish nets. She comes from the strip club, so she mixes that into her everyday fashion. Clear stripper heels are her favorite.

Did being on the show change your personal style at all?

Playing Virginia has definitely made me want to change my style a bit. She loves to have an entire look from head-to-toe, including hair, makeup, tons of accessories, and shoes. Virginia always has fun nails, and it’s made me get acrylic long nails as opposed to my usual gel mani.

Personal style icons/inspirations:

Victoria Beckham, Yoko Ono, Solange, and Karla Dera.

What you like to wear for a night out:

Something comfy! An oversized tee with denim shorts and thigh-high boots, or a pair of jeans and a tank top with pumps.

Preferred swimwear:

Brazilian-cut bikinis, because they fit my small frame perfectly.

How have your personal shopper days influenced your career as an actress?

It’s influenced me to keep working hard. To go from where I started in a department store to acting is such a big leap for me. It motivates me to push myself harder and succeed; to understand that life is unexpected, and to be ready to handle whatever comes your way. I never expected to become an actor at all. You can do anything you put your mind to it!

Most prized possession in your closet:

Dolce & Gabbana pink gown that I wore to the 2017 Golden Globes.

Karrueche Tran attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Go-to designers:

Opening Ceremony and Alexander Wang.

Lusting after:

Facial products! Serum, creams, oils, masks, moisturizers—all of it!

Something you would never wear:

I hate sequins!

Best recent beauty discovery:

Charlotte Tilbury’s Multi-Miracle Glow! It’s a face balm, cleanser, and mask. Leaves your skin soooo soft!

Style mantras you lived by:

If you like it, wear it.

The Best Summer Nail Polish Colors to Try This Season, from the Demure to the Eccentric and Adventurous

Photo by Richard Burbridge

Does it get more classic than a round, red nail? Stick to the basics with Chanel’s legendary Rouge Red.

Chanel Le Vernis in 546 Rouge Red, $28,

It isn’t truly summer without a splash of hot pink. A pop of this vibrant shade to elevate your summer look.

Deborah Lippmann in Shut Up And Dance, $20,

An elevated twist on the naked nail, this perfect taupe will ensure to serve your season’s go-to shade.

OPI in Coconuts Over OPI, $12.50,

There’s no better way to highlight your sun-kissed skin than with a hint of a coral shade on the nails.

Dior Vernis in Milly, $27,

With a touch of golden shimmer with Dolce & Gabbana’s perfectly bronzed polish, your nails will be sure to shine bright.

Dolce & Gabbana in Beach Sand, $27.50,

Essie’s pastel lavender is miraculously both a subtle neutral and vibrant pop of purple.

Essie in Baguette Me Not, $9,

An elevated spin on the vibrant blues from summers past, Gucci’s sheer periwinkle blue is the ultimate understated neutral.

Gucci in Swan, $30,

A perfect sheer pink for the girl looking for the ultimate “naked” nail.

Jinsoon in Pixie, $18,

A modern twist on the white nail, Smith & Cult’s pearly white polish with add an expected touch of shimmer to a classic look.

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Sugarette, $18,

The ultimate combination of a red and coral, this fiery orange polish will be sure to make a statement this summer.

Yyes Saint Laurent La Laque in Jungle Orange, $28,


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