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British-Vietnamese brothers work as male manicurists in Liverpool salon

British-Vietnamese brothers who grew up interacting with their mother say that working as male manicurists at a Liverpool nail salon helped them ‘get to know’ their mother.

Siblings Astro, 23, and Kenny, 22, were born in Birmingham but moved to Liverpool as children and speak only a little bit of Vietnamese, which is the native language.

Astro admitted that he “neglected” his heritage growing up because he feared he “wouldn’t fit in” with his friends, and was uncomfortable with his mother speaking her native language in front of his peers.

Kenny said discriminatory comments he received as a child “stay with you,” while Astro added that “categorized in Chinese” made him “very self-conscious.”

Appearing on the BBC Three series Nail Bar Boys, they explained how working with four other British-Vietnamese manicurists at the busy L1 Nails salon helped them connect with their mother.

Siblings Astro, 23, and Kenny, 22, were born in Birmingham but moved to Liverpool as children and speak only a little bit of Vietnamese, which is the native language.  Pictured is the family enjoying a meal at home in Liverpool

Siblings Astro, 23, and Kenny, 22, were born in Birmingham but moved to Liverpool as children and speak only a little bit of Vietnamese, which is the native language. Pictured is the family enjoying a meal at home in Liverpool

“My mother knows a little bit of English and it’s a down side for us,” Kenny said. ‘We know a lot of English and a little bit of Vietnamese.

“So I still don’t understand much of what she’s saying, but I can summarize it all and figure out what she’s saying.”

Astro continued: ‘In high school I think I neglected my Vietnamese side a bit. I just wanted to fit in with my friends and that was all I did.

“When I started working at L1, I didn’t really talk to my mother, that’s when I really started to get to know her.”

They appeared on the BBC Three series Nail Bar Boys and explained how working with four other British-Vietnamese manicurists at the busy L1 Nails salon helped them connect with their mother

They appeared on the BBC Three series Nail Bar Boys and explained how working with four other British-Vietnamese manicurists at the busy L1 Nails salon helped them connect with their mother

They appeared on the BBC Three series Nail Bar Boys and explained how working with four other British-Vietnamese manicurists at the busy L1 Nails salon helped them connect with their mother

The brothers discovered L1 Nails through their mother, who had heard good things from a relative about the salon's staff and suggested Astro (right) to apply there.

The brothers discovered L1 Nails through their mother, who had heard good things from a relative about the salon's staff and suggested Astro (right) to apply there.

The brothers discovered L1 Nails through their mother, who had heard good things from a relative about the salon’s staff and suggested Astro (right) to apply there.

He added: “I’ve always hated talking to my mom when she picked me up from school. Parents Evening I didn’t let her go because I didn’t want any of my friends to see her speak to me in Vietnamese, I just thought I wouldn’t fit in.”

The BBC documentary series follows the antics of the brothers and their colleagues – Bruno, Brandon, Dragon and Tony – who all work painting nails for a living, both inside and outside the salon.

The brothers discovered L1 Nails through their mother, who had heard good things from a relative about the salon’s staff and suggested Astro to apply there.

“She had a buddy who worked there and she actually heard good things about the guys,” Astro said.

“They’re all English-speaking guys, which is good for me because I don’t speak much Vietnamese.”

The BBC documentary series follows the antics of the brothers and their colleagues - Bruno, Brandon, Dragon and Tony - who all work painting nails for a living, both in and out of the salon.

The BBC documentary series follows the antics of the brothers and their colleagues - Bruno, Brandon, Dragon and Tony - who all work painting nails for a living, both in and out of the salon.

The BBC documentary series follows the antics of the brothers and their colleagues – Bruno, Brandon, Dragon and Tony – who all work painting nails for a living, both in and out of the salon.

Kenny was soon hired as a receptionist to help out during the busy Christmas season, but he soon graduated in manicure, saying the job brought him and Astro closer together.  Pictured, the couple working as a manicurist together

Kenny was soon hired as a receptionist to help out during the busy Christmas season, but he soon graduated in manicure, saying the job brought him and Astro closer together.  Pictured, the couple working as a manicurist together

Kenny was soon hired as a receptionist to help out during the busy Christmas season, but he soon graduated in manicure, saying the job brought him and Astro closer together. Pictured, the couple working as a manicurist together

Kenny was soon hired as a receptionist to help out during the busy Christmas season, but he soon graduated in manicure, saying the job brought him and Astro closer together.

‘I loved it there. Once I started working there, we just got along better and we got closer,” he said.

Talking about her son’s work in the salon, their mother added, “I think the boys work very hard because the people in the salon work very hard, it has given them dedication.”

Speaking of his mother, Kenny said: ‘She is a single mother and she has raised four children for 23 years through all she has supported us, I honestly can’t tell her enough that I love her. I really love her, I honestly don’t tell her enough.

The duo are now prouder than ever of their heritage and hope to pick up more of the language before visiting the Southeast Asian country

The duo are now prouder than ever of their heritage and hope to pick up more of the language before visiting the Southeast Asian country

The duo are now prouder than ever of their heritage and hope to pick up more of the language before visiting the Southeast Asian country

“We don’t really show affection in our family, but I really mean that, she’s probably the best woman in my life.”

“Since working with my brother and all these guys here I think it’s really brought that out in us and they’ve taught us a lot of things,” Kenny told BBC Three.

The duo are now prouder than ever of their heritage and hope to pick up more of the language before visiting the Southeast Asian country.

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