Interview of Tran Wills
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Founder of Base Coat Nail Salon, a non-toxic nail salon. Partners with California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Founder of Base Coat Nail Salon, a non-toxic nail salon. Partners with California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.
- Wills, Tran
- Persons Present:
- Tran and Kelsey
- Place Conducted:
- The interview was conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- This interview was conducted by Kelsey Kim, graduate student interviewer, for the Center for the Study of Women in cooperation with UCLA Center for Oral History Research; PhD student in Anthropology, UCLA. Kim’s dissertation focused on gender and racial inequalities in the Silicon Valley high-tech industry.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator and an interview of Wills conducted previously by California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative by the UCLA Labor Center. The transcript is a copyedited transcription of the recording. It was first auto-transcribed by the speech transcription software Otter.ai, then reviewed by staff and students on the project in three phases of review, using a list of proper names and specialized terminology. The interviewee did not review the transcript.
- 1 hr
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
Born and resides in Denver, Colorado—Founding of Base Coat Nail Salon—Impact of COVID-19 on Base Coat—Response to Gavin Newsom statement on nail salons as source of COVID-19 community-spread—Stigmatization and marginalization of nail salon industry—Racism against Asian community in the US—Vulnerability of beauty industry due to lack of corporate backing—Advocacy for community support of local beauty industry small businesses—Nail salons as essential businesses—Alternative forms of activism—Challenging gentrification—Gender and racial aspects of devaluing of beauty industry—Financial pressures faced by nail salons—Creating non-toxic workplaces for employees—Growing up amidst the nail salon industry in Vietnamese-American communities—High toxicant exposure amongst immigrant communities—Being intentional about purchasing products for nail salon—Advocating for mom-and-pop shops—Founding Base Coat and selecting non-toxic products—Pregnancy experience and sensitivity triggering idea for non-toxic nail salon—Changing views of other nail salons on non-toxic products—Discouragement from family around working in nail industry due to stigma—Collaborating with other nail salons—Challenging entitled behavior and racism of white, privileged clients—Personal experience of chemical sensitivities—Societal attitudes toward chemicals in ten years