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Behind the Scenes: Making Her Own Way

Moni’s artistry and inventiveness shine through in all that she does—from her nail styles and designs to the décor of her nail room.

After many years in the nail business (when asked how many years, she will only say “a long time”), Monica Leiper is still making her own way. She currently rents a room in San Diego’s Salon Diego that she has turned into a luxurious oasis for her clients. “I operate my business solely on my own name,” says Moni. “It’s my reputation at stake so I am fully accountable.”

She loves to travel and spread her very own version of nail goodwill. “I just love getting a call, packing up, and heading out to wonderful places. I love handing out little goodies to everyone from baggage to flight crew and others on the road, broadening people’s knowledge of safer services while having fun too.”

“’Risk’ and ‘try’ are my favorite words,” she notes. “So I guess my favorite part of my job is sharing what I know while taking risks at every possible opportunity and trying new things out.”

Moni’s artistry and inventiveness shine through in all that she does—from her nail styles and designs to the décor of her nail room. Her nail art has been featured in fashion shows in New York and in the pages of magazines. So where does she get her inspiration? “I get these flashes in my mind (sometimes in the middle of the night) and I just roll with it,” she says. “I’m often just daydreaming, looking at everything as I ride about town. When I have a particular directive, I then focus on music, movies, museums, and the library.”

For this month’s cover, we asked Moni to create a simple toenail design for a bride to wear on her wedding day—and we wanted it to be the “something blue.” After using Elizabeth Arden Red Door Nail Care’s Ginger and White Pepper pedicure products and a few other secrets (she had an interesting facial-quality heel peel and tightening mask), she polished the nails with Color Club’s Blue Light and then made large intersecting circles with Art Club’s Satin Silver.

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