Monday, February 1, 2016
Interview with Couture Manicurist: Kelly B.
Manicurists are not reserved for salons only. I always see them on set, backstage at fashion shows and most celebrities will not dare go on the red carpet without a nice set of nails. Kelly B. is a Couture Manicurist working in the industry here in NYC or wherever her work takes her upon requests of clients. Her nail work has graced the covers of numerous magazines including Vogue, advertising campaigns and commercials. Throughout the years, she has worked with plenty of celebrities, notable personalities and elite photographers along with top industry makeup artists as well as established models.
Kelly and I have known each other for some time via social media and we have worked together in the past year. I admire her attention to detail, years of experience and professionalism. She is a highly sought after manicurist in the industry. I always find it intriguing to get to know the individuals behind the art and discover what inspires them and motivates them. Read along to get to know Kelly B. a little better, she has some good advice applicable to not just manicurists.
Hometown: Canton, Ohio
Years doing nails: over 21 years
Years in NYC: 10 years
Have you always had a passion for nails? Yes. I did my friends nails and my own before I was trained in Cosmetology school. I feel I was destined to be a Manicurist.
Nails found me, I never pursued a career in it at all. I literally would get the supplies that
were available to me at local stores to paint my nails. I groomed my cuticles with nail
clippers until I learned to use the correct implements in beauty school.
Who or what inspires you? I love color & shape. I get inspired from lots of things.
How did you get into the industry? I have a salon background. I became friends with
a girl who was a celebrity Manicurist but also worked part time in the salon I
worked at. She would hire me from time to time. From there, I met a few different
people and did test shoots until the opportunity came for me to get represented.
Was the competition different when you started than it is now? Yes, there are a lot
more people doing nails now for shoots. Some do good work others do not. Your
work has to be good (clean & neat) otherwise why even bother.
You have done nails since before it became a fad, how have you managed to stay
afloat amongst the flood of new artists? I believe in sticking to foundational
principles I learned years ago, which is: to take good care of the nail. Models are
subject to a lot of torture from people who are not trained properly. I would never
glue nail tips on with superglue but people do. I know not to ever put anyone’s
health & wellbeing at risk like that. I stay true to who I am, a high end manicurist
that takes excellent care of the nail.
What is your nail technique style that sets you apart? I’m known for shapes, clean,
beautiful, & well done high-end nails.
There are tons of nail brands and products out in the market, do you have any
particular favorites or kit staples? I love Chanel, Dior, Deborah Lippmann, Zoya,
CND, & Maxus. These brands are staples in my kit.
You have worked with plenty of celebrities & notable personalities, who is the most
fun artist you have worked with thus far? Drew Barrymore is funny & Alyssa Milano
is a joy to work with.
Not everything that glitters is gold, and being a freelancer is tough, have you had any
setbacks or challenges in your career? The biggest challenge is my work schedule. I
miss a lot of family events & don’t get to see my friends as often as I’d like. Thank
God I haven’t had any setbacks. Freelance life is tough because you never know your
schedule in advance, so I can’t make plans until very last minute. My friends
understand but I still miss our girl time.
Doing nails in a salon setting is different from being an editorial nail artist, what
advice would you give to aspiring editorial nail artists? Yes it is. Know your craft, be
sanitary, & be original. I’m careful not to copy someone’s work. If I’m inspired by
others work I credit the person who originally did it.
What has been your most outstanding moment in your career? Seeing my work on a
billboard for a line I’ve worn for many years, working with iconic writer Toni
Morrison, & having my work in a few Maybelline commercials.
Have you set any concrete goals for 2016 and what can we expect from you this
year? To have another great year, stay tuned... my lips are sealed on some projects.
What do you think are the keys to success? Being humble, being kind, and always do
your best work. Never take anything for granted.
Where do you see yourself in ten years from now? Married possibly with children,
still contributing to the beauty & fashion industry in a huge way.
I can't wait to see what Kelly B. has in store for 2016 and I look forward to her upcoming work. Wishing her a wonderful ten years+ in her career as a Couture Manicurist!!!! I am glad to call her a friend and an inspiration.
Follow Kelly's journey on Instagram: