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Avant-Garde Beauty Inspiration: Lauren Thurman-King, aka The Doppelgänger

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Online Lauren Thurman-King calls herself The Dopplegänger, which is interesting, since we’ve not seen many with a look like hers—it’s hard to describe, but her style is something like a modern Wednesday Addams with a touch of Samara from The Ring. The first thing you notice about the Kansas City–based 20-year-old are her epic nails, followed by her long hair and full brows, all of which she grows out dutifully. When we were conducting this interview, the blogger was patiently grooming her unibrow for an upcoming photo shoot.

Thurman-King’s fascination with strange beauty started in middle school when she noticed how long she could grow some of her nails. “It reminded me of people I’d seen in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, which were my favorite books growing up,” she says. “I especially like extreme or offbeat things and ‘imperfections.’” Today that interest is blossoming into a career as an avant garde photographer. Although she has shot other subjects, Thurman-King’s primary model is herself, using a remote, tripod, and self-timer with her camera. “When I photograph myself, I do everything [like the makeup and the styling]; except sometimes my mom helps with my hair.”

So what’s her ultimate goal? “Be satisfied with my work, have beautiful long nails and hair that touches the ground, do whatever I want, make money, and own more Margiela.” Here, we get the scoop on how she keeps it all together.

How long did it take you to grow out your nails?!

My current nails have been growing out for a little more than a year. Some were longer than others, and I cut them down in an attempt to even them out, which kind of worked. I plan on trimming them again in a few months when I feel like the shortest ones are long enough. Until then, I'll embrace the asymmetry!

How do you keep them healthy and strong?

I'd say it's mostly genetics. However, I always keep them painted and use nail glue whenever they break or tear, something I only realized I could do last year. I also keep them hydrated by using lotion and avoiding harsh nail polish remover.

How often do you change up your nail art and how long does it take?

Every 4–7 days. It takes 30 minutes to an hour to remove polish and at least an hour to paint them, and most of that time is waiting for them to dry. Usually I do them while watching movies or TV, and I have a bad habit of doing that late at night in bed—I've woken up many times to nails with sheet imprints.

How has makeup helped you find your style over time?

I've always been interested in unique lipstick shades, glitter, and heavy eyeshadow, but I've toned it down somewhat recently with more neutral colors, which I never thought I'd do. In the past I've worn some shoddy makeup, and while I can look back and make fun of myself, I was always happy with those looks at the time. And that's partly what makeup is about to me. Now that I’ve grown into my style, I like surprising myself by trying new things, because I know I can always go back to being myself.

What are your all-time favorite products, or products you’re loving at the moment?

Coconut Grove eyeshadow by NARS, which I use on my eyebrows, is my all-time favorite. I could go without any other makeup than that if I had to. I also love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar, Coastal Scents, and Sugarpill Eyeshadows, Givenchy Eye Fly mascara, and Holika Holika Essential Petit BB Cream. For my hair, I use Abba Volume Shampoo and Matrix Biolage Detangling Solution. In terms of nail polish, I like American Apparel, Zoya, and Revlon. I'm a huge perfume person, too—I wear (untitled) by Maison Martin Margiela, Ange Ou Demon Le Secret by Givenchy, Stella by Stella McCartney, and Versace by Versace.

Who do you follow online for inspiration?

Pat McGrath and Mathu Andersen on Instagram, which I recently discovered is great for getting nail art ideas; I like NailGurlNYC and BritneyTokyo. Powderdoom on Tumblr is amazing! I'm most interested in blogs that incorporate beauty and fashion, like Into the Gloss and Beauty is Boring—that’s something I try to do in my photography and on my blog.

Follow Lauren on Beautylish here