MSC student Phylicia Cain.

Phylicia Cain is an incredibly talented student who has been attending the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC) since April 2013 (She will graduate in July 2014). Cain came straight to MSC from high school where she took a couple of graphic design courses, but that has been her only art background. Cain says that nail art is something that just comes naturally for her. She spends a lot of time researching nail art on Pinterest, and from there comes up with her own innovative designs. We were intrigued enough to find out more. Read on to learn about this talented student and see pictures of her designs.

1. What made you decide to enroll in nail school?

I want to be a mortician [see question #8], but need my cosmetology license first, so I enrolled at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. I have been doing my own nails since my sophomore year in high school, and have always enjoyed getting creative and trying different things. Because I enjoy doing nails so much I am considering becoming a nail technician as well.

2. What made you choose MSC?

I selected Minnesota School of Cosmetology because it was a more professional environment than the other beauty schools I visited. I love that we learn in a true salon atmosphere and that we’re always busy with clients.

3. What has been your biggest challenge in attending nail school?

I don’t enjoy sculpting acrylic nails. I don’t think they look as good as a nail tip. I have been practicing a lot more to improve my sculpting.

4. What do you find to be the hardest part of the curriculum? What is the easiest or your favorite part?

Although I truly understand the benefits of learning all about disease and infection control, it’s really gross! That is probably my least favorite part of the curriculum. Nail art is my favorite part. I love to create designs that reflect a client’s personality. I also really enjoy challenging myself to think outside of the box and create unique and trendsetting designs.

5. How much nail art technique does MSC teach? Do they bring in guest instructors/nail artists?

Nail art technique is part of our specialty theory curriculum. On average we focus specifically on nail art once per month for several hours.

6. Your nail art is very creative. Do you have a creative or artistic background? Do you do any other types of art?

In high school I took a couple of graphic design courses, but nail art is really something that just comes naturally to me. I spend a lot of time researching nail art on Pinterest and from there come up with my own innovative designs.

 7. What do you feel you still need to learn/work on?

As previously mentioned, I am working on my sculpting technique. Right now I am learning how to create different nail shapes. My current is stiletto.

 8. What are your plans after graduating?

My goal is to ultimately become a mortician. I became interested in this career after two loved ones passed away when I was in high school. At their funeral I did not recognize them and that was devastating for me. I don’t think anyone should have to go through that. Being a mortician would put me in a position to make people who pass away look like themselves and ultimately it won’t be so hard on the families forced to say goodbye.

9. What are your short-term and long-term goals for your career?

I’m excited to start my career but a little nervous at the same time. 

I am still undecided on where I will begin my career. I have visited a few nail salons I would consider working for to get work experience. I am looking for open positions at local funeral homes. My one-year goal is to get a job at a salon doing nails to get work experience. My five year goal is to get a job in a high-end nail salon if I’m not already working as a mortician.

10. What’s your favorite nail art you’ve ever done?

My favorite nail art is freestyle. I like creating a unique look with the use of lines, animal prints, glitter, bows, and diamonds.

11. What are some of your favorite techniques? Favorite products?

My favorite polish is called “Nail Club.” The glitter is really sparkly and it makes your details more noticeable.  My favorite technique is animal print, specifically cheetah.

12. What advice would you give to others who might be interested in attending nail school and/or pursuing nail art?

My advice would be to express yourself with your personality and the clients because they are your walking billboard.


Do you have an outstanding student you would like to see featured in Nail School News? E-mail

You may also like:

For more information about your career in nails, check out these helpful links:


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.