There’s a certain type of girl who puts Wite Out on her nails as a kid—and Britney Tokyo was definitely that girl. “I was always in trouble,” she giggles while organizing her kit, which includes tiny Chanel and Louis Vuitton nail decals, along with rainbow appliques, glitter powder, and gemstones for her signature super-extra manicures. “I just didn’t think nails should be alone, without some decoration. They’re right on your hands!” she exclaims. “Everyone sees them. Why not make them amazing?”
Tokyo’s been making them amazing since moving to Hollywood and amassing fans like Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, Hailey Bieber, and Justine Skye. (She was also summoned to a private hospital to do nails for someone—maybe she rhymes with Stylie?—shortly before she gave birth.)
“Making the Kimoji nails for Kim was the most challenging design I’ve ever had to do,” Tokyo told us through a translator. “The drawings were so intricate and so tiny, and I wanted them to be perfect because Kim is perfect.” Despite the exacting work, Tokyo loved the mission, comparing it to her creative childhood in Japan. “I would just draw tiny things in my notebooks all day at school, and try not to get caught!”
It’s a good thing Britney Tokyo got noticed for her nail art, even if it led to some major detentions along the way. This spring, she began partnering with American Express for their card member lounge at Coachella. AmEx Platinum, the premium credit card dedicated to maximizing the experiences of their cardmembers nationwide (think: a secret Drake concert in Miami Beach for cardholders, or one-on-one packing advice with Away’s Jen Rubio). Tokyo also had a presence for the festival at the Avalon Palm Springs. Her first mission? Doing VIP nails at AmEx’s on-site Coachella experience tent this past festival season, including a set for breakout singer Rosalia.
“It’s kind of perfect because my first celebrity client was Vanessa Hudgens, who wanted me to do her nails for all the festivals she goes to,” she says, “And now that’s becoming part of my brand.”
For aspiring nail art gurus, Tokyo advises tons of practice (“do nails for your friends!”), always being on time, and an unwavering commitment to your own vision, “even if other people think it’s a little crazy.” She also has some predictions for future nail trends. “This is going to sound weird, but the color of the AmEx Platinum card is very cool—kind of futuristic. I think it will be a big inspiration,” either by itself or as an accent color for nail art, as seen on K-Pop Queen CL at Saint Laurent’s runway show in Paris, or Rosalia’s platinum-set talons on stage. And you can always use an AmEx card during your manicure, too—”I like it better than a cotton swab for fixing tiny mistakes along the cuticle. You just swipe a corner at the edge and the line is cleaner!”