Meet the Nail Artists Behind Your Favorite Celebrity Manicures
It was almost a no-brainer that Michelle ended up in the industry herself, working for folks like Jhene Aiko, Christina Aguilera, and of course Thee Stallion, but it wasn’t the first career she thought she would pursue. After moving to the United States, she attended college and worked as a fashion intern. When she needed to make money on the side, she decided to work in a salon since doing nails was practically in her blood.
It was once she was back working in the salon that she realized it was the thing she needed to do. “I remember looking forward to seeing my clients on a day-to-day basis. That would be the highlight of my day,” she shares. “I never considered it work because it just seemed so natural to me.” But it wasn’t until 2016 that she transitioned to a new salon located in North Hollywood and was able to perfect her craft.
In addition to her work at the salon, she would also work freelance and upload some of her manicures on Instagram, attracting the attention of new clientele. She booked her first official celebrity client, Teyana Taylor, around 2017. Taylor loved Michelle’s work so much that the nail artist ended up traveling with her on tour. After that, the celebrities kept rolling in.
Through the manicures she creates, she’s able to combine her love for photography, fashion, and art. What’s beautiful about her work is that one of her sets will rarely look like another, but length and creativity is key. She has created miniature galaxies on lipstick-shaped nails. She’s sculpted pointy stiletto sets with multi-colored chunks of glitter for an iridescent mani. We were amazed by the computer-inspired transparent manicure that looked like they have microchips on each nail. The talent is endless.
She admits that she doesn’t have a defined nail-art aesthetic since she likes to look at a variety of things, whether it’s something as simple as what her client is wearing or even the city they are located in, as inspiration. “I like to say it’s an intuitive thing. If I get to know my client and after some time I see this side of them that I want to bring out, whether it’s a little edgier or more fun,” she shares. “It’s almost like a freestyle [set].”
Younger Michelle may not have expected her to end up in the nail art business like her family, but it’s clear she has a gift for this work. “I feel like I’m giving parts of myself every time I do nails. I always have to make it way deeper,” she says. “It’s almost like telling a story.” And we are always ready to tune in.
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