Mother of late Ocoee High grad Alizé Castro opens nail salon in her honor

Stephanie Pineda has opened a nail salon in honor of her daughter, Alizé Castro, an 18-year-old Ocoee High graduate who was killed in a car crash in May.

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  • | 12:28 p.m. November 30, 2016
Stephanie Pineda opened Naillinis Spa just outside Dr. Phillips on Oct. 22. The nail salon is a continuation of her late daughter Alizé Castro’s legacy.
Stephanie Pineda opened Naillinis Spa just outside Dr. Phillips on Oct. 22. The nail salon is a continuation of her late daughter Alizé Castro’s legacy.
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ORLANDO Former Ocoee resident Stephanie Pineda’s nail salon is purple and white from floor to ceiling. The ceiling tiles are deep purple and spread with glitter; white throne-like chairs accented with sparkly gems await customers; the entire room is bright and fit for pampering.

It’s everything Pineda’s daughter, Alizé Castro, could have asked for in what was supposed to become her first business. The salon, called Naillinis and located in the Vista Centre Shoppes plaza just outside Dr. Phillips, was officially opened Oct. 22 by her mother to help carry on her legacy. 

Alizé, 18, graduated in May from Ocoee High. She was driving home with her boyfriend, Caleb White, early in the morning July 4 when the car was T-boned. Alizé died on impact, and Caleb died in the hospital later that morning. 

She was always known as Princess Ali, a diva who loved pampering herself and others. She loved makeup and beauty and always had her nails done. She was also interested in business management and had been set to study it, along with biology, at Lynn University in Boca Raton this fall.

When Pineda, an accountant, saw her interest in beauty and business, the two made plans to open a nail salon in Connecticut, where they lived until last year when they first moved to Ocoee.

“She always wanted to have her own company and wanted to be an eye doctor, but then wasn’t sure,” Pineda said. “She loved nails and makeup. I told her I would get it (the salon) started, but conditions were she had to go to college and get her business degree.”

While Alizé was in her senior year at Ocoee High, Pineda went to school last November and got certified to become a nail specialist. They rented the space in January and began work gutting the inside and cleaning it all out. Alizé insisted on a royalty theme and the color purple, so they picked out the chairs together — tall, white, throne-like chairs, fit for a princess — and had them custom made and sent over from China. 

The original plan was for Alizé to study business at Lynn University and then come home on the weekends to learn the business and the trade, with the eventual goal of her taking it over full-time. 

“She just wanted to know the trade — and she wanted to get her nails done all the time,” Pineda said. “She was like, ‘I want to get my nails done every other week!’”

Before Alizé’s death, they only got as far as gutting it, due to waiting on obtaining necessary permitting. After she died, plans were put on hold for a month, partially due to the family’s move to east Orlando, but Pineda knew she wanted to continue and open the salon in Alizé’s honor.

So she painted the walls and ceiling purple, and the chairs for the employees to sit in while working are purple velour with silver accents. On the wall by the front desk hangs a drawing of Alizé, a gift from someone at Ocoee High. 

Before the salon opened, Pineda was taking the plastic off of one of the throne chairs, which Alizé never got to sit in. As she unveiled the chair and was taking a photo of it, her phone died. But the screen didn’t go black. Instead, it froze on her lock screen — a picture of Alizé. The screen wouldn’t turn off or unfreeze until Pineda got home and did a soft reset on it. 

“It was as if she was so excited and so happy,” Pineda said. “It was as if she told me, ‘Mom, I love it.’ I can say that I got validation from her telling me she loved it.”

Alizé loved the name Naillinis, but now, Pineda wants to franchise the salon and open a larger location in Miami under the name Princess Ali Nails. 

“I think she would be absolutely in love with it,” Pineda said. “I’ve had customers cry with me a couple times. Connecting with the customers who see (the drawing) and start crying — I think that’s one of the biggest things for me — knowing that I didn’t give up. She knew me as a person who never gave up.”


Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].


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