Along with cutting-edge fashion, makeup and hair, nail art has recently taken center stage in music videos and photo shoots. Just where do the innovative looks come from? I caught up with celebrity manicurist Kimmie Kyees to get a behind-the-scenes look at her nail work for videos for Katy Perry, Jordin Sparks and Ke$ha. She shared her inspiration and secret for getting those elaborate nails done in the frenzy of ten-minute wardrobe changes!
Kyees got her start as an on-call mobile spa manicurist then acquired an agent that took her into the field of celebrity work. Her job is often under serious time constraints so she uses press-on nails to accommodate her client's schedules of quick changes. "I'll do some ideas ahead of time and present them to the artist and stylists," says Kyees. "They'll decide what they want and while they're shooting I'll make the next set for when they come back to change, then we can stick them on in just a few seconds."
Having recently come out with her own line of press-on nails with Elegant Touch, Kyees says she's always inspired to do more, "I'm constantly seeing things and trying to figure out how to recreate the look on nails. I go to craft stores, bead shops and collect things I can use."
Here's how she made the nail art for three recent music videos:
Katy Perry Wide Awake - "We did her nails a pretty beige, French manicured with a different pastel color. I found these little scrapbooking flowers, which had a foil green wire for the stem. I took the petals apart and gelled them to the nail. We put stones at the center of each flower. Then I wrapped the foil stems down a couple of her fingers."
Ke$ha - "We R Who We R" - "We went for a really chunky, tough look and I used a lot of things you wouldn't think to use on nails - skull and cross-bone beads with red rhinestone eyes, studs, chains and all kinds of crazy stuff. We even handcuffed two of her nails together!"
Jordin Sparks "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)" - "Jordin was wearing this dress that had chains hanging all over it. Her stylist gave me a spool of the chain and we decided to put a fringe on each nail. I used gold Minx on the whole nail tip then a gel. I put on a coat of gold glitter so the French tip was just gold. Then I drilled holes at the end of each nail and threaded the chains through. Jordin couldn't really do anything with her hands while she had them on, the chains were flying everywhere!"
Kyees is the first to admit that being a celebrity manicurist is not the glamourous job it seems. She is constantly dodging the flurry of makeup artists and hairstylists who are all trying to get their jobs done on a celebrity at the same time, "I've taken a lot of elbows to the head! But that's OK, whatever it takes!"
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