Close

Style

How do I do nails for celebrities, movies, commercials, etc.?

September 10, 2012

I’m an established nail tech in the New York area. (I’ve been a nail tech for 25 years and had my own nail business for six.) I am looking to branch out. Specifically, I’m interested in doing nails for celebrities, movies, commercials etc., but I’m not sure how to make those connections. Do you have any suggestions or info for me?

Answer

The good news is that manicurists take the same steps as a makeup artist or hairstylist to gain entrance into the business of print, video, film, and television. There are no secrets. Everything starts with building a portfolio through a process called testing. Quite simply, the manicurist connects with photographers, makeup artists, hairstylists, and fashion stylists who have the same goal — to build a portfolio with pictures that can be used to get work in the entertainment and fashion industries.

Working with professional photographers is key. I always suggest visiting photography schools like Art Center in Pasadena, Calif., SVA (School of Visual Arts) in New York, and the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, to name a few. These schools and more are easily unearthed with a Google search that contains the words, “photography schools + city, state.” Once identified, the manicurist should call and ask if there is a system in place to connect manicurists with photographers who are building their books for fashion and beauty. If the answer is yes — sign up. If the answer is no, I suggest getting over to the campus and introducing yourself to the professors and the photographers in class.

There are also some great websites, like photocrew.com and modelmayhem.com, where artists congregate, connect, and work on their portfolios.

As soon as you have about 10 to 12 great images in your print or online portfolio you’re ready to start sharing your work with creative decision-makers who can hire you for work.

— Crystal Wright is the author of Crystal Wright’s Hair Makeup & Fashion Styling Career Guide (available on amazon.com), which provides more detailed guidance on becoming a celebrity manicurist.

As a Tech, How Do I Keep My Own Nails Intact?

I’m in a small but busy salon. I struggle to do my own nails and to keep them looking nice — they always get filed, soaked, and scuffed. Any advice on what to use? I do acrylics, gels, and Shellac.

Do I Need a Fitting Room in My Salon?

If I want to add clothing to the retail section in my salon, do I need to add a fitting room too? If so, do you have any solutions that don’t require me to add an actual wall?

How Do I Learn Nail Art If No One Is Available to Teach Me?

I am an apprentice in a natural nail salon. Sometimes I get requests for nail art. I would love to learn how to do different nail designs, but I am a beginner. I live in Virginia and there are never nail seminars or lectures or even hands-on classes here. Do you have any suggestions on learning nail art designs when there is no one in my area to teach it? Watching videos is good but sometimes you just need hands-on.

Load More