Working 9 to 5 is definitely not the norm for Brenda Thomas, a nail technician at Stray Cats Exclusive Salon in Atlanta, Ga.
"It was a wonderful experience," says nail technician Brenda Thomas, referring to her first NAILS photo shoot.
Working 9 to 5 is definitely not the norm for Brenda Thomas, a nail technician at Stray Cats Exclusive Salon in Atlanta, Ga. This hard-working technician spends Wednesday through Sunday in the salon, and five nights a week working from 12:00 midnight to 8:00 a.m. as a bank accountant. Thomas, who has been in banking for seven years, became a licensed nail technician five years ago, after learning of the profession’s monetary rewards. Add to that the fact that Thomas loves working with her hands, and voilà, a new nail technician was born. Says Thomas, “I can’t see myself not doing nails.” So why is she still in banking? To save money to buy a house, she says.
In addition to juggling two careers, Thomas manages to find time to compete. She began competing in 1993 and won first place in the student sculptured acrylic category at her first competition. Kym Lee, one of Thomas’ mentors, was a judge. Remembers Thomas: “Kym gave me one of my lowest scores so I asked her why. She said, ‘Would you rather have a higher score that makes you think you don’t need to improve, or the score you got that will make you strive to do better?’” And to this day Thomas puts her skills to the test by competing in everything except nail art.
When she’s not busy working, Thomas is a sell-proclaimed homebody, and can be found watching a video, listening to jazz, or gospel music, or playing with her four cats. She identifies with cats so much so that if you were to describe her personality, she says, it would be very similar to a cat’s. “I’m sneaky moody, and conniving,” she says. “But I also love to purr, and I enjoy being content.”
Cats also like adventure, and Thomas sure had a doozie of one when she visited California for the first time for the NAILS cover shoot. Her overall experience in the Golden State was great, she says, except for getting lost on the freeway which resulted in a near two-hour one-way trip back” to her hotel (normally a 30-minute trip). On a happier note, Thomas was surprised at how nice Californians are despite what she heard from her fellow Georgians. And being the food connoisseur that she is, she gives high marks to California cuisine.
Although she has no desire to transplant to sunny California, Thomas plans to one day open her own day spa and leave the banking world behind.