Keeping the Fashion and Beauty Industry Well-Polished

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kawaii nails

Next week I am FINALLY going to 2 places I have wanted to go for years: Singapore and Tokyo. Singapore for the food, because I love to eat just about anything. And Tokyo, for, well everything. We planned our trip around Tokyo Nail Expo, which is the weekend after Thanksgiving. I first fell in love with Asia during a trip to Hong Kong in 2008. I learned many of my gel techniques there during that trip.
The Japanese are extremely into nails, and NO I do not mean the little discount nail salons on every corner. Totally different. Japanese Nailists are into glitter nails, 3-D, gems, charms, bows, chains, dangles, Hello Kitty nails, everything cute and sweet, well they put them on nails. And going to a Japanese nail trade show? I've already mentally spent 3 month's rent. Can't wait to share what tips, tricks, trends and fun goodies I bring back to share!

Want to see more? Just google Kawaii Nails. wow.


In addition to doing nails freelance for private clients and photo shoots, I will be spending my weekends at a gorgeous new salon in Tribeca, called TenOverTen. tenoverten is NOT the usual NYC manicure joint. In fact, it just had a great writeup about it in Vogue's October issue. Check out for salon info, and click on Press to see the Vogue article yourself!

Only the best quality products, a huge range of lacquers to choose from including Chanel, Essie, OPI, RGB, and the new Uslu Airlines line. tenoverten will be the first salon in the US to carry Uslu Airlines. Be sure to come in, or at least come say hello and see the new space!

Roots and Wings, part II

August was a long month, I had decided to make the move from the suburb of Cleveland where I grew up to New York City to freelance full time. The hardest thing was telling my boss. But like I hoped, she was, and still is very supportive of my career, even if it is not in her salon anymore. I began telling my clients of my plans, and looking for nail artists to step in and take over my clientele.

I arrived to NYC late on a Sunday night with 3 suitcases: all my nail stuff, and as many clothes, shoes and toiletries I could fit in between all the bottles of nail polish :)

For the longest time I was planning on taking my career to Los Angeles. I have friends in the business there, and I hate the cold more than anything... except driving. Which is what ultimately made me choose NYC over LA. The traffic in LA is horrific and the NYC subway entertainment at rush hour cant be beat ;)

I rarely get lost on the subway anymore, and tourists (or what I would rather call them, 'travellers') frequently ask me for directions. Because I remember just last year, with all my nail stuff in tow (one large, heavy suitcase and one medium one) getting so lost on the subway, at night, alone. I was meant to go to the Lower East Side... and ended up in the Upper West Side. Not fun.

So let's just say I don't mind helping non-locals find their ways around NYC transit... because, we've all been there. And like the title says, "Roots and Wings: Remember where you came from, but know where you're going". xx

Roots and Wings

Well as you can see it has been VERY long time since I've written anything, and I don't really have a specific good reason for it! Just really SO much has happened that I didnt know where to begin.

In a nutshell: July was hectic. First I went to Atlanta to do the nails of the beautiful Cynthia Bailey for the cover of Upscale magazine. My great friend Sunii, a fashion stylist got me the gig and I can't tell you how much I admire Sunii's drive and dedication to this field.

I came home for one day to attend the Lady Gaga concert with all my best friends. Gaga is so inspiring to me, I love how she is not afraid to be herself, and, oh my God, she actually sings, and dances, and plays the piano, and writes all her own songs... the woman is a God(dess) in my eyes. I love how she stands up for those who may have been picked on in school, because I know all to many people that were as well.

The next morning (after 45 minutes of sleep) I was off again to the airport to Miami fashion week. It was Swim 2011 season, and the designers were showing off all the adorable, sexy, and gorgeous swimwear thst would be the trend for next summer. We did about 8 shows with the great M2M team!

After I got home from Miami I took a secret day trip to New York. I was interviewing with my agency... and they signed me! Artists by Timothy Priano is the only agency I was really interested in, and the only one I even interviewed with.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A new passport

Today, as I renew my passport, I look back on the last 10 years since my last passport photo was taken. That boyfriend and I have broken up, I've been to 3 continents, worked on a cruise ship, married and divorced, done a few million sets of nails, half a dozen magazine covers, a handful of fashion weeks... and it makes me wonder... what's going to happen in the next decade? What is my next passport photo going to look like? will I have a new name? and most importantly, what country's stamps will I find as I flip through its pages?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Its been awhile since I've written anything... mainly because I have been unable to decide upon a creative name for my blog. I'm still deciding between a few, but I think whatever I decide upon really sets the tone for what I blog about.

This past week was a very successful week for me in LA. I actually had some time off (!), went to 6 Flags Magic Mountain, LA's Fashion district on a buying trip, and to Santa Monica.

I usually go on work trips alone, mainly because I work so much its pointless for me to ask anyone to come along. Often I get booked at the last minute so its impossible to plan anything anyways.

One day this week I had the opportunity to work on a men's beauty story for a big fashion magazine, with a great photographer. I'm not allowed to say who or what yet, but I can promise you, its pretty hot :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Experience is...

"Experience is Priceless"

Think about it. Its one of my favorite quotes, one I believe I made up all on my own. Correct me if I'm wrong!

Just thought it deserved its own post :)

First Things First!

I get a lot of questions about how to break into the world of freelance. I'll tell you, but you have to understand a few things first. These are not to discourage you! If I had known... heck I would have done it anyways :)

1. You simply cannot do this full-time from a small town. You MUST live in a big city, like NYC, LA, or Miami, Chicago. I am extremely fortunate that at my "day job" I am able to take off at a moment's notice to go to a job on either coast. But that can only last so long, and is a very rare occurance.

2. You do not make any money starting out. In fact, you will spend a LOT of money getting started. Doing this and last year's taxes I felt sick, after adding it all up. I'm talking mid-4 figures a year here. Flying to LA, NY, accommodations, food, transportation, printing photos, buying a book (portfolio) and so on. If you think you're going to start out making a lot of money, you are sadly mistaken.

3. You need to pay your dues before getting the big jobs. I had the incredible opportunity in September and this past February to key (be the lead manicurist for) some shows at New York Fashion Week. This is only after I did a dozen or so small, local, un-glamourous fashion shows, events and photo shoots. And let me tell you, after one particular fashion show at a local college, I almost stopped doing them. But I didn't :)

First Contact

The incorrect thing to think about freelance is that "I could do that, why wouldn't they hire me?". Of course you can "do it". But so can a million other manicurists in this country. It becomes about PERSONALITY. DRIVE. And not about WHO you know, its about who knows YOU.

I will never forget the day. Er, night: October 25, 2007. It was a Thursday night, really late. I was online, MySpace to be exact. I noticed that "Melissa Bozant, Celebrity Manicurist" posted a little blurb on Nails Magazine's page about an upcoming Packaging your Portfolio Workshop in LA. I had learned that you needed a portfolio to get more work, and I needed to get to LA to be there. I emailed Melissa immediately to get more info. That night was very emotional for me: we had no money. None for me to pay for the class, my flights and 3 nights in a hotel.

It was raining pretty hard that Friday morning. I got up early, anxious for Melissa's reply. The message was there waiting: the dates of the workshop were 2 days in January, the day after I would return from my family vacation. I called Continental who was able to change my flight for practically nothing. The class was paid for by the grace of God. ;)

January came and just 2 hours before I was supposed to fly to LA, I had a message from Melissa: the class was postponed due to the writer's strike. Later she told me it was like 9/11 in LA: everything shut down.

The workshop was rescheduled for April. I finally met Melissa, along with my mentor, Crystal Wright, both of whom I credit much of my success to, to this day!

I learned so much about the industry it was astonishing. Working on set, how to break into the biz, collaborating with other creatives, building a book (portfolio of your work), evolving your kit (nail colors, everything you need to work), creating my website, business cards, comp cards, getting better photos in your book, I could go on and on. Too much to write!

For more about Melissa, please visit:

For more information about Crystal and her Portfolio workshop, please visit:

In the beginning...

I have always loved working on photo shoots. I can't explain it... I love being able to have a tangible piece of art to keep and display forever. Salon work is great, especially the relationships I've built with my clients. But that work leaves the salon. Capturing my work on film is something I can have forever and ever... and share with others!

My first experience "on set" (on set with a photographer, lights, camera, action!) was in 2000. I did hair at the time and had a mutual friend named Joe that was tall, handsome and had an incredibly angular face (high cheekbones). The shoot I did of him landed in Men's Passion International, a full-page spread with my name and salon info. I think I bought 10 copies. Later it was in Process Color. I was hooked.

The next 7 years brought me a handful of shoots, all shot in-salon and some being published in trade magazines like 101 Hairstyles, Nails and Nailpro. In 2005 I stopped doing hair to focus on doing nails only... my true love since I was 12.

Soon I was realized while watching TV, movies, awards shows, runway, seeing print ads... all the models and actresses' nails were done. Usually nothing wild... sometimes just clean and buffed. SOMEONE had to do those nails... but who? I thought maybe they went to a local salon before they came to set. Boy, was I wrong!

I thought, "Why am I not doing that?" so I set off to learn more about the freelance industry.

The Intro

At home, in Ohio, I'm called a Nail Tech. In NYC and LA, I'm a Manicurist. Whatever you call it, I do nails. In Ohio, I do nails full-time at the greatest salon on the planet, Jenniffer & Co. A few times a year (or lately, a few times a month), I find myself on either coast doing nails for fashion weeks, editorial photo shoots, magazine covers and an occasional celebrity.

This blog is written to help people that are not familiar with my career become more familiar with it and what I do when I'm away from home and "on set".

I used to hate "blogs". They seemed a pointless waste of time to make your diary public. Well this is NOT a "diary". I'm not going to walk you step-by-step through my day. I'm not going to tell you I woke up at 8am,, ate 3 bowls of cheerios and went to yoga where I fell over in downward dog.

This is predominntly about my freelance career. I have had many questions about how to do what I do, and lots of people that aren't "in the biz" don't understand what I do. This is designed to clear all of that up. Yeah there will be some personal bits here and there. But not a ton :)

I also wanted to tell you that I am not receiving any payment from any of the companies, business or people I am naming.

So read this a little at a time, all at once, whatever. I'll be as specific as I can (especially how much stuff costs, lord knows I ALWAYS want to know!) and in directions or locations of places I'm going.

Enjoy <3