This post originally appeared on the blog MakingManhattan.com.
By Caroline Vazzana
Gorgeous fashion editorial doesn’t just come together on a whim. There are a ton of people behind the scenes to pull it off including an editor, stylist, hair and makeup artists and photographers. Also behind the scenes? A nail artist. As a self proclaimed manicure addict, I have been fascinated by the career of a nail artist. So when I had the opportunity to chat with editorial nail artist Betina Goldstein, you could imagine I had a million questions. Read on to find out Betina’s secrets for making it in the nail industry as well as some major beauty musts to keep your nails strong, healthy and camera ready!
When did you first discover your passion for nail art?
I’ve always had a passion for arts and crafts, especially painting. When I started my career as a nail artist, I began applying my artistic techniques to nails. I love the idea of creating simple yet intricate designs.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first internship was as a post-production assistant at Saturday Night Live. On Saturdays while the rehearsal and show was running, me and two other interns would help out the SNL hair team with all the wigs. I was fascinated by the idea of working on that side of the industry, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I had my first opportunity to work as a nail artist for EXPRESS. It made me not only realize that this was something that I enjoyed doing and had a talent for, but could also make a career out of. It can’t get better than that, right?!
Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry?
Makeup artist, Benjamin Puckey, was a very special person in my path. He not only encouraged me to start my nail Instagram, but gave me the confidence to believe I was in the right industry.
What does a typical day look like for a nail artist?
Your agent or producer sends the call sheet the night before. The call sheet tells you when and where to be. Every job is different. That is one of the greatest beauties about this industry. One day we will be shooting in a mansion in Malibu over looking the ocean, another day we can be in the middle of the desert. Once you arrive to the location and set up, you speak to the stylist about the direction they want to go in. Sometimes they know exactly what they want, and other times you go over all the looks with the stylist and collaborate what color or design would work best. When it’s a beauty shoot, there can be as many as eight nail changes. You have to be able to work fast and work along side the hair and makeup team to make sure you get talent out in time for the next shot.
What has been your favorite project to date?
That’s a hard one. I’ve had a few “pinch me” moments, but I have to go with Bloomingdale’s campaign in Puerto Rico with photographer Hugh Lippe. It was an amazing team and the locations were unreal. One day we were in the jungle, the next staying at the Four Seasons Hotel on the beach, and ended in a field that looked like Africa with a Zebra. I have some great memories of that job.
Where do you look for inspiration when creating a nail design?
I love modern art. I enjoy going to museums and galleries to get inspired. I also get inspiration from vintage clothing. I love going to thrift shops and seeing all the different graphics and textiles.
What are some of your tips and tricks to maintaining and growing healthy nails?
Oil-based non-acetone nail polish remover is a game-changer for me. Acetone can be so harsh on your nails and cuticles. This is a great way to keep your nails from getting weak between each polish. I also recommend lathering your hands with a heavy cream, like Burts Bee’s Hand Salve, and putting on cotton gloves before you go to bed or when you do a face mask.
As an entrepreneur, what’s your favorite part of working for yourself?
My least favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is where to draw a line from personal to business. I will have an idea for a nail design and will want to drop everything I’m doing to execute it. I am always trying to see what’s next. The benefit of working for yourself is you get to see the results of your hard work.
How do you go about finding and securing steady clients?
While building my portfolio, some clients came to me through word of mouth and industry connections like producers and photographers. Other clients find me on Instagram and contact me directly through there. Now, I am fortunate enough to be represented by, Lowe & Co Worldwide. Between all of these channels, I manage to stay quite busy throughout the year.
As a busy women on the go, what are three items you never leave home without?
Glossier Stretch Concealer, Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Day Cream, Chanel Lipstick in Enigmatique.
What are three beauty products you swear by?
Shiseido Instant Eye and Lip Makeup Remover, Burts Bee’s Hand Salve, Moroccanoil Hair Treatment.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before starting your company what would it be?
Don’t get discouraged.
With the industry changing so quickly, what advice would you give to someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Passion is the key to success.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?
Collaborating with brands, and becoming an Ambassador for one of the companies I support.
Caroline Vazzana is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC.