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British-Vietnamese brothers on working as male manicurists in Liverpool salon

British-Vietnamese brothers who struggled to communicate with their mother growing up say working as male manicurists in a Liverpool nail salon helped them  ‘get to know’ their mum. 

Siblings Astro, 23, and Kenny, 22, were born in Birmingham but moved to Liverpool as children and can only speak a small amount of Vietnamese, which is their mother’s first language.  

Astro admitted he ‘neglected’ his heritage growing up because he was scared 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 that discriminatory comments he received as a child ‘stick with you’ while Astro added that being ‘categorised into Chinese’ made him ‘very self-conscious’. 

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

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

‘My mum knows a tiny bit of English and it’s a flip reverse to us,’ said Kenny. ‘We know a lot of English and a tiny bit of Vietnamese.

‘So I still can’t understand much of what she’s saying, but I can piece it all together and figure out sort of what she’s saying.’ 

Astro went on: ‘In high school I think I slightly neglected my Vietnamese side. I just wanted to fit in with my mates and that’s all I was doing. 

‘I wasn’t really talking to my mum until I started working at L1, that’s when I started to get to know her really.’ 

Siblings Astro, 23, and Kenny, 22, were born in Birmingham but moved to Liverpool as children and can only speak a small amount of Vietnamese, which is their mother's first language. The family are pictured enjoying a meal at home in Liverpool

Siblings Astro, 23, and Kenny, 22, were born in Birmingham but moved to Liverpool as children and can only speak a small amount of Vietnamese, which is their mother’s first language. The family are pictured enjoying a meal at home in Liverpool 

The brothers discovered L1 Nails through their mum, who had heard good things from a family member about the salon's staff and suggested Astro (right) apply for a job there

The brothers discovered L1 Nails through their mum, who had heard good things from a family member about the salon’s staff and suggested Astro (right) apply for a job there

He added: ‘I always hated talking to my mum when she picked me up from school. Parents evening I didn’t get her to go because I didn’t want any of my mates seeing her talking in Vietnamese to me, I just thought I wouldn’t fit in.’  

The BBC docuseries follows the antics of the brothers and their co-workers – Bruno, Brandon, Dragon, and Tony – all of whom work painting nails for a living, both in and out of the salon. 

The brothers discovered L1 Nails through their mum, who had heard good things from a family member about the salon’s staff and suggested Astro apply for a job there.  

‘She had a mate that worked there and she basically heard good things about the boys,’ said Astro. 

‘They’re all English-speaking lads which is good for me because I don’t speak a lot of Vietnamese.’ 

The BBC docuseries follows the antics of the brothers and their co-workers - Bruno, Brandon, Dragon, and Tony - all of whom work painting nails for a living, both in and out of the salon

The BBC docuseries follows the antics of the brothers and their co-workers – Bruno, Brandon, Dragon, and Tony – all of whom work painting nails for a living, both in and out of the salon

Soon Kenny was enlisted as a receptionist to help out in the busy Christmas period, but quickly graduated to manicurist and says the job brought him and Astro closer together. Pictured, the pair working as manicurists together

Soon Kenny was enlisted as a receptionist to help out in the busy Christmas period, but quickly graduated to manicurist and says the job brought him and Astro closer together. Pictured, the pair working as manicurists together 

Soon Kenny was enlisted as a receptionist to help out in the busy Christmas period, but quickly graduated to manicurist and says the job brought him and Astro closer together. 

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

Speaking of her son’s work in the salon, their mum added: ‘I think the boys are working very hard because the people in the salon work very hardit has given them dedication.’ 

Speaking of his mother, Kenny said: ‘She’s a single mum and she’s raised four kids for 23 years through everything she’s supported us, I honestly don’t tell her enough that I love her. I do 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 South East Asian country

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

‘We don’t really show affection in our family but I really do 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 South East Asian country.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk