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Get to know Jonathan Van Ness, Mei Kawajiri & ManiMe’s Pride Capsule

Co-designed by Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) and Mei Kawajiri (@nailsbymei), the limited-edition Pride Capsule is made for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies to express their identity and celebrate ALL love.

By: ManiMe
May 20 2021

The limited-edition Pride Capsule is designed in collaboration with two fierce LGBTQIA+ advocates, Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) and Mei Kawajiri (@nailsbymei), to celebrate ALL love. Together, they created 4 gel mani designs to allow anyone to express their true identity during Pride month and beyond. At ManiMe, we wanted to get to know their loving friendship better. Read on for an exclusive Q&A with JVN and Mei. 

How long have you two known each other and how has your relationship evolved? 

JONATHAN VAN NESS: I have known Mei since around April 2018 and she quickly became a close friend. Mei is such a fun personality, but also she is someone who I can rely on and is so much fun to talk to. 

MEI KAWAJIRI: Back in 2018, Jonathan reached out to me through some mutual friends. We immediately felt connected in spirit and energies, and our friendship just took off from there. Prior to the pandemic, we would meet up regularly for a nail session about every two weeks in NYC. The best part of our session was getting to collaborate together on an original creative design for his mani. 

What makes the relationship between a nail artist and client special? 

JONATHAN VAN NESS: When you spend time with someone on a weekly or every other week basis, you just really get to know each other and learn more about each other's lives. We’ve had lots of ups and downs and shared tease with each other. The friendship that we’ve built is so special to me. 

MEI KAWAJIRI: The relationship between a nail artist and client is always very personal. Touching hands and listening to each other’s life stories fosters close connections that is an uncommon experience. I feel grateful to have experienced the close bonds formed between a nail artist and client. Jonathan is absolutely one of my special clients as I see him as part of my family. 

What’s your favorite memory together? 

JONATHAN VAN NESS: Oh my gosh, there are so too many fun memories to name, but Mei giving our stuffed Guinea Pig pet, named Guinea Pig, some fierce gel nails is up there for sure.

MEI KAWAJIRI: I’m so happy to have JVN in my life. We have so much fun chatting about our lives and occasionally sharing our deepest, darkest with each other. Every time we meet, it’s memorable whether it is playing Mario Kart, cuddling with JVN’s cats or saving my hair after I went through a bleach phase. We also especially love celebrating the holidays and life milestones with each other including birthday parties and Thanksgiving dinners. 

How can we better support the LGBTQ+ community?

JONATHAN VAN NESS: For me allyship is about two things, voting and resources. To be a better ally you must use your right to vote and encourage your friends and family to as well, especially in state and local elections, voting for candidates that align with LBGTQ equity is so important. Also, finding mutual aid organizations to give directly to LGBTQ folks in need is a great way to help.

What is a memorable manicure that Mei did for you?

JONATHAN VAN NESS: I love love love my NYC-themed nails and our First Wives Club Nails, and the nails we did for a special upcoming project I can’t share yet!