The latest to join our Q and A series is Jessie from Nailed it NZ. As well as being a wonderful artist, she knew my friend Amber Lee – so I am so privileged to host Jessie today.
When did you first start developing your passion for nail design/art?
Almost exactly 5 years ago! In March 2012 I was a third year student, and in true student form I was procrastinating study, as well as dealing with some tummy problems. This lead me to pick up a bottle of nail polish, and having always been a creative person it stuck – hard.
Who has been your favourite persons nails to do and why?
The one that always stands out to me is Amber Lee Lawrie. She was 16 when she sent me an email, asking if I could possibly do her nails for her school ball. She was in a wheelchair, so I’d have to come to her, which was fine by me as I always love meeting the lovely girls who follow my page. It actually almost didn’t happen; my car broke a few days before the appointment (stress!!) but I managed to buy a new one just in time. I ended up doing both Amber’s and her best friend’s nails at her home, and was moved by Amber’s story – s she had a very positive, mature attitude to life. She chose a really nice design and we had heaps of fun doing it, and as I left I said to make sure they got in touch next ball season.
I’ve done a few other interesting nails – minor celebrities and the like, but the girl I will always remember is Amber-Lee Lawrie. Her bravery and strength was incredible, and I wish I knew her better.
What tips would you offer nail designers/artists that are starting out?
Start with the easy designs, and every now and again challenge yourself. Leopard print and dots are great! Also, learn how to paint your nails cleanly, without getting polish everywhere; it makes a big difference. Make, or invest in a Lightbox if you’re blogging, and remember that natural light is your friend. Get yourself a good set of brushes that are thin – I sell a nail tool essentials kit that has your covered for pretty much all hand-painted designs… and don’t forget about thinner! Nail polish thinner will restore old nail polish, and is an essential item if you want to do great nail art. Another thing (oh, I could go on all day about nails!) cuticle oil is fantastic for maintaining moisturised nails and skin. Make sure you work on your filing technique as well, so you have a nice canvas to work with. If you’re looking for tips I have a whole playlist about this kind of thing on YouTube.
For those with acrylic nails, do you have any tips/tricks or things to avoid to make sure that we look after our natural nails?
Watch where you go – if they’re pulling off your old acrylics, walk away! Acrylics should be gently soaked off, and pulling will severely damage the natural nail underneath. Something else to remember is good things take time. If you’re getting acrylics, expect to spend a couple of hours in there, depending on how fast your technician is. Make sure they’re qualified (but be kind about it) and make sure that you’re not ruining their hard work by picking at your nails. Pulling and picking at the enhancement will damage them, as it lifts off layers of keratin – which is what nails are made of. Again, I have a whole video dedicated to this on YouTube if you’d like to hear more.
What has been the nail design that you are most proud of doing?
Hmmm, that’s a hard one! I tend to have favourites for a while and then move on to something else. My current favourite is my Lion King design, which took a long time to do but I was really happy with the results.