The multi-talented Karrueche Tran effortlessly dons the spunky yet fun fashion choices her character Virginia Loc wears on the TNT hit, Claws. A young actress, entrepreneur, fashionista and history maker (Tran is the first Asian American to win an Emmy for a lead actress role in a daytime fiction program for her performance in The Bay) her portrayal as Loc becomes more fearless than ever in the show’s fourth season. It’s not just in the menacing circumstances that follow the nail artisan(s) of Manatee County, however, but also in Loc’s garish style that gets even more dialed up in the final season. “In Virginia’s world, her wardrobe has kind of matured in a sense of how she’s making money and she is leveling up,” Karrueche tells ESSENCE over Zoom on a rare rainy day in Los Angeles.
Tran collaborated closely with Claw’s costume designer, Dolores Ybarra, to bring the radiant neon-splashed outfits and fully-accessorized ensembles to life. “She is very open to working together,” Ybarra says. “So whatever ideas I have, she’ll let me go in and I’ll look at everything on the rack and I’ll pick and choose. When highlighting her favorite outfit in the series, Tran reminisces on the intro scene for the drama. “One of my favorites is from season one with my intro scene with the bucket hat and the little top and the booty denim shorts.”
Tran prides herself on playing a role in the costume selection behind the scenes. “She [Ybarra] allows me to have a say as well, which is great for me because I’m able to build my character and to build Virginia,” Tran shares. And while Tran acknowledges that she probably wouldn’t wear the showy wardrobe pieces Virginia has in her closet, she does admire her diva flair.
Loc, a dynamic character we’ve followed closely since season one, is a former exotic dancer who seeks real love through her sisterhood with the other nail artists and men she falls for. This season, the women of Claws are further entangled in thrilling happenings which cause their group dynamic to undergo a rift. The shifted relationships cause some principal characters to drift apart and others form new bonds with Desna Simms (Niecey Nash) at the helm at the nail salon’s illegal escapades.
“For Virginia, she grew up in a broken home,” the 33-year-old actress continues. “She didn’t really have a mother or a father so she’s always yearning or looking for a place to feel seen or to be held and that’s why she struggled so much with being a part of the crew at first. She sees this crew, they’re all individually so different but you see the bond and you see the energy and you see the love, and she just wants to be loved.”
Loc is on an important journey to self-discovery, self-love, and self-determination throughout the hit show’s final season. And Tran is on the same wavelength in terms of her personal style, career development and how she has been growing her jewelry line, Kae by Karrueche. The reclamation of her favorite cultural ’90s fads and turning them into her own successful business has further affirmed Tran as a fashionable trailblazer. “I think over the years, I’ve learned to dress for comfort,” she says of the transformation as a trendsetter. “Comfort is not necessarily like loungewear or leggings, which I do love sometimes, but what makes me feel comfortable and makes me feel confident. It could be an LBD (little black dress) and I can feel super sexy and like the hottest girl in the room.”
Season four of Claws premiered December 19 on TNT.