Leah Remini has the most fantastic set of stiletto nails I have ever seen in my life.
This statement is obviously not meant to discount her endless list of accomplishments and reduce her to her appearance. Leah Remini is a complete and total badass. Leah Remini is an accomplished actor, producer, and author. Leah Remini is a household name. Leah Remini is the woman I want to be. Leah Remini is revealing the truth about Scientology, one defector at a time, with a knife-like stiletto nail serving as her exclamation point. She is more than her nails, though they happen to be as fierce the star herself, and as pointed as her arguments. I cry out in joy every time she talks passionately using her hands, or reads off another letter sent to her by the church that attempts to claim she's lying. The stark white background of the paper makes them look even more dramatic, even when all ten fingers are lacquered up in an understated nude.
If you're only aware of Remini's work in King of Queens or Saved by the Bell, and know nothing of her endeavors to reveal the truth about Scientology, we have some catching up to do. Remini was baptized into the Roman Catholic church when she was young, and was raised in the Catholic tradition until her mother joined the Church of Scientology when Leah was 9 years old. She essentially grew up in the church, joining the Sea Org when she was 13, though after regularly butting heads with church officials, she and her family became civilian Scientologists. Although the forced manual labor came to an end, the situation was far from ideal. Scientology courses were expensive, and since Remini's family was still unable to get an apartment of their own, they were staying with a friend. According to an interview with People, Remini estimates that she gave roughly $5 million to the church, and even when she found success as an actor, was still avidly taking courses and reading Scientology books in an attempt to level up as an Operating Thetan—O.T., if you will.
Drake did say that there was never much love when we go O.T., though I doubt he was referring to Scientology.
And let's talk about her stellar acting career for a minute. Remini started out on TV in the role as Charlie Briscoe in Who's the Boss?, and eventually reprised the role in the show's spin-off, Living Dolls. It was when she took on the role of Stacey Carosi during the Malibu Sands era of Saved by the Bell when I became acquainted with her, and her fiery personality made her a bigger hero to me than Lisa or Kelly—and for the record, I LOVED Lisa. Stacey was smart and business-minded, with the most glorious head of hair that show had ever seen. She would weave a web of wit and sarcasm in five seconds flat, which would take anyone within its wake weeks to untangle.
Zack Morris did not deserve Stacey Carosi.
Quickly adding shows like Cheers, Friends (Remini actually auditioned for the role of Monica, but returned as a different character), and NYPD Blue to her constantly growing resume, she found wild success in The King of Queens during the show's 9-year run.
Remini officially left Scientology in 2013, and has been outspoken on her views surrounding the church ever since. According to Remini, things came to a head at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's wedding when she asked about Shelly Miscavige, wife of church leader David Miscavige, who hadn't been seen in years. "I liked Shelly very much. We spent time together at church events and movie premieres. I kept asking throughout the night, 'Does anybody know where Shelly is?'" Remini told People. According to her, a church official responded, "'I don't think you have the f------rank, quite honestly, to ask where Shelly is.' It was a little bit shocking to hear that answer. That sort of sparked something in me."
Naturally, Remini filed a missing persons report for Shelly Miscavige, disconnected from the Church of Scientology, and wrote a tell-all book that was aptly-titled Troublemaker. What a badass, right?
VIDEO: Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
In Remini's A&E docu-series, she and former Scientology senior executive Mike Rinder travel around the country to speak to other former members, who share personal stories about their experience in the church. Describing the plot and interviews in full wouldn't do the show justice—it's one you have to sit and watch for yourself. The accounts of how they had to disconnect from family members who either never joined or never left, as well as the physical and psychological abuse they endure is harrowing, and I think I've probably sobbed during at least 9 of the 10 episodes in the first season.
Of course, I don't come off as graceful as Remini, who wipes away her tears (that somehow don't carry her mascara and smear her makeup as mine do?) with an impeccably-polished and shaped set of nails. She is not her manicure, but her manicure is as her as a manicure can possibly be—sharp and pointed, with every color, reverse French pattern, and crystal embellishment acting as an extension of her own personality. I attempted to hunt down her manicurist, but to no avail. The only thing that came up was an Instagram she tagged with #NailsByHannah. After stalking her friend Michelle Visage's Instagram (because, you know, they went to the same manicurist for a hot minute), I found that the elusive Hannah had deleted her account. Whether it's Hannah or another nail technician doing god's work, they should know that the manicures Remini wears are tiny masterpieces expertly painted onto each finger.
The second season of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath kicks off tomorrow night on A&E, and I cannot wait to see my girl in action, taking down the church, calling out the flaws in Dianetics, and pointing in the face of every aggressor that dares to cross her path with a precise stiletto talon, sharp enough to shred through every documented audit on this planet.
Godspeed, you absolute queen. I adore you.