Julie has been a licensed nail professional since 2011. She placed fourth in NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Season 1, competed on nail reality show “Nail’d It!”, and was featured on the cover of NAILS Magazine. After working as a nail professional in a spa, she became the assistant creative manager of Paintbox in NYC. Since moving to Los Angeles, she launched Glamsquad’s mobile nail team, worked as ORLY’s education manager, and is now in the process of releasing NailKnowHow, an online nail education platform. She can’t wait to share her passion for education in the industry and to surround herself with such talented professionals.
For this challenge we were asked to create a mural based on OPI’s newest collection, Mexico City! It took a bit of brainstorming, but I figured since OPI is celebrating the culture of Mexico and these beautiful colors in their collection, why not create a mural inspired by a Mexican celebration? So, after quite a bit of research and falling in love with how vibrant and lively Mexico is, I discovered that Zocalo Public Square is the center of all the huge celebrations like the Day of the Dead. I found traditional Mexican folk dancers to be absolutely mesmerizing in their gorgeous, colorful dresses, and knew I had to include them. Then I was made aware of Aztec dancers and after falling into a serious YouTube hole being hypnotized by the vibrant feathers and unique dancing, I knew exactly where this mural was going. With a little bit of marbling and ombre, I created a night sky with fireworks to be the background of my hand-painted Zócalo. In front of that, I added traditional Mexican folk and Aztec dancers with a crowd cheering in front. It was so much fun learning about this culture rich country and now I’m super excited to visit some day soon.
After scrolling through OPI’s Nail Art Guide for some inspiration for this avante garde challenge, I came across a lovely design named “Venetian Lace.” It’s a simple but beautiful handpainted design of red lace. It got me thinking, what if you could pour your polish onto your nails and it creates a lace design right from the bottle? How cool would it be if polish transformed into the nail art of your choice? So for this challenge, my avante garde interpretation of Venetian lace is just that. A bottle of OPI’s finest nail art, pouring Venetian lace right on to the nails. This challenge was also focused on OPI’s Powder Perfection. So, I created each element of this design, including the bottle, out of Powder Perfection. And while creating my concept, I figured I’d do some research on what makes “Venetian” lace so… Venetian. Well, other than the fact that it originated in Venice, I learned that Venetian lace is so unique because the patterns are connected with bars rather than mesh or netting like with the typical lace we all think of. I did my best to stay true to the Venetian style of lace in my design and I hope you can see the fantasy I tried to create here. And who knows, maybe in the far future OPI will be launching pour-able nail art!
For this challenge, I really wanted to showcase all of the beautiful OPI colors I have. I managed to get all 15 colors on one nail! When I think about color and how our eyes see light reflecting off of a surface, my mind immediately went to kaleidoscopes. They’re so vivid and colorful and full of dimension. Every which way you rotate a kaleidoscope, you discover more hidden colors and shapes. I created this set inspired by kaleidoscopes by incorporating a ton of bright colors in varying shapes and repeating patterns. I really wanted to add dimension. So, I built the apex in between two layers of my design using OPI’s Gel Color Top Coat. This adds shadows and gives it some depth. I loved playing around with the idea of adding dimension while still keeping these nails wearable. That’s why I chose a conservative length and shape, so the average nail junkie would still be able to wear these.
For this challenge, I chose India! I’ve always wanted to visit India. I’m fascinated by the culture and how diverse the country is. There’s over 1 billion people in this one country. , I decided to create the Taj Mahal to make sure you knew right away that this set was for India. I created it entirely out of gel, despite my plans to make it out of acrylic. Then I created two hands in the Gyan Mudra position. Mudras are hand gestures that are used to communicate, tell stories through dance like in Bollywood, and are also used during yoga. This specific mudra is the one most people think of. It’s that pose you think of when you hear the word “meditation.” But, it’s so much more that just a pose. It actually helps calm you down and ease depression. When the palms are facing up, you’re opening your body and mind to the wisdom of the universe. When pointing palms down, you’re grounded. It’s amazing what a simple gesture can do. I chose this pose because it’s super iconic to yoga which originated in India and it was perfect to show off the lovely Mehndi that I was dying to paint! I chose to cover the hands in gold because Indian women alone have 11% of the world’s gold. Sorry, let me repeat that. Eleven percent of the WORLD’S gold. Pretty amazing!
For this challenge, I was immediately drawn to the iconic nail polish name, “My Address is Hollywood.” I’m originally from New York but moved to LA about five years ago. When I first moved here, I was star struck! You’re blinded by the glitz and glamour and everyone seems to be a somebody. But then the glitz goggles start to wear off and you see the truth. Fake beauty starts to surround you… or was it always fake? It is so obvious everyone is trying to live a glamorous life but that’s just not the reality. We all want our name on a star on the walk of fame and our Marilyn Monroe moment on the red carpet. We all want the paparazzi snapping pics while we casually dine at LA’s finest. Well, I’m sure I can speak for most freelance LA nail techs when I say, we see all the glam but we don’t really get to live it! We work behind the scenes to make all that beauty a reality for others. We’re constantly called to last minute photoshoots and set work, we barely get lunch breaks, a chair and table set up is a luxury. And don’t even get me started on parking tickets! As crazy as this lifestyle can be, it’s definitely made me a much better nail professional as I learn to deal with anything and everything life can throw at me. I may not be doing much set work any longer but I sure wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. There is nothing and there will never be anything quite as unique as Hollywood. So, this week’s nail set represents my journey in Hollywood with a handful of glamorous expectations and another with a full dose of a freelance LA nail tech’s reality!