How local female athletes are nailing their game-day glam

Championship rings belong on perfectly polished nails, according to LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese. 

Remember her famous ring gesture photo taken during the 2023 national championship game? Look closer, and you’ll find a French manicure with black tips.

“I feel like it’s look good, play good,” Reese tells 225 when asked if she performs better when she’s confident.

Reese doesn’t have a particular inspiration or recurring aesthetic for her nails, which she usually has done at Ocean Nails Bar II on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. Instead, she goes with “whatever comes to mind.” Her favorite nail look so far, she says, was when local nail artist Dally World created a set that spelled out her nickname, Bayou Barbie. 

Southern University softball player Kenzie Ogden is known for her bold nail choices, too. Her favorite salon is Sweetheart Nails on Corporate Boulevard, which she visits with her teammates every four weeks.

Odgen often finds nail inspiration on Pinterest, or she picks a style based on the season. 

“If it’s winter, I like to go with an icy blue,” she says. “In the summertime, I like to go with crazy colors.” 

Some critics say athletes shouldn’t think about their appearance on the court or field, and that conversation has grown since the rise of name, image and likeness deals. But Reese and other athletes want to change that narrative. 

“People don’t realize you can still be girly and cute and still be a dog on the court,” Reese says. “I think that has shaped a lot of things coming from the national championship game.”

In fact, Reese, one of the top 10 earners of NIL deals in the nation, feels her appearance has resonated with fans. 

“A lot of people just love that about me that I can still (wear) girly lashes and hair and nails and stuff like that but still be a baller,” she says.

For Odgen, painting her nails is a detail that helps set her apart on the field. 

“You all have to wear the same uniform,” she says, “so I feel like this makes me different and brings up my own personality and uniqueness.” lsusports.net and gojagsports.com

black line

Kenzie Ogden gets her nails done about every four weeks with her SU softball teammates. Photo by Collin Richie

This article was originally published in the November 2023 issue of 225 magazine.