EXCLUSIVE: Olympian Suni Lee — Whose Nails Are Oft Primped During Competition — Joins Forces With Kiss

Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee is turning her penchant for primped nails into a new gig.

The 21-year-old gymnast, who is set to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics USA Team Trials beginning June 27, has teamed with Kiss to front the nail brand’s new at-home curing system, called the Salon X-tend Starter Kit.

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Comprised of an LED lamp, a soft-gel adhesive and a set of 30 nails, the kit retails for $22.99 and, per Circana, has ranked among the top 10 products by multi-outlet sales in the fashion nail category since its launch in January.

For Lee, who won the gymnastics all-around event in 2021, maintaining a fresh set of nails is an integral component of her artistic MO.

“When I’m competing, it’s so important to have my artistry represented across all points in my performance — whether it’s my outfit, my beauty look or my choreography in each event,” said Lee. “It’s an element of confidence for me to feel like my personal style is really shining through in an outfit — whether I’m on or off the competition floor.”

It was Lee’s sister — who also does Lee’s signature eyelash extensions — who introduced her to the Kiss brand years ago, and Lee said the line’s offerings have proven “strong and durable enough to withstand my training routine, but also super lightweight and comfortable.”

The Kiss Salon X-Tend Starter Kit
The Kiss Salon X-Tend Starter Kit.

Though Kiss has dabbled in influencer partnerships with athletes, Lee is the first athlete face of the brand, which has otherwise tapped artists across disciplines including Sir John, Leona Lewis and Bia.

“When [our team] was looking for an athlete to partner with for the Olympics, Suni was at the top of the list — she embodies the brand spirit of being bold, strong, artistic and yet extremely relatable,” said Kristin Giarrusso, global marketing director at Kiss.

Earlier this year, Lee inked an ambassadorship deal with dry shampoo brand Batiste, and has previously fronted brands including Crocs and Free People’s sportswear line, Free People Movement. Her partnership with Kiss comes at a pivotal time for female athletes and beauty, with brands increasingly leaning into women sports stars in addition to traditional influencers and celebrities to create more compelling narratives.

“I’ve always done gymnastics with manicured nails; it’s part of how I train at this point. Function comes first, though, so I tend to stay on the shorter side — kind of,” laughed Lee, who counts an almond-shaped classic French and “trendy-colored nails” among her current go-tos.

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