Name: Natalie Minerva
Location: Los Angeles, CA
How did you first get into nails?
it started out selfishly I guess, (chuckles) it's really just for me. I started looking at Japanese nail blogs and nail art in general was popping up everywhere, on tumblr, instagram wasn't even really a thing yet. I'm from Orange County so you'd see girls in OC wearing crazy Kawaii nails and I'd think "how did they do that?" and then I tried doing my own glue-ons just for fun. I did it on friends, it became a hobby and finally I was at Coachella and my friends said I should do this full time. so I called my dad at Coachella, quit college, and went to nail school, & I've been doing it ever since, full time.
What inspires you and your designs?
60's & 70's patterns, interior design, textile patterns, architecture. period pieces. 20's, 50's... looking at decades and the fads and trends that went through. nature. opal. real beetle wings. I tried butterfly wings but it's real hard to work with. lots of natural stones: hematite, turquoise, amethyst, abalone shell. I don't like theme nails. I like classic nails that are going to enhance your outfit rather than take away from. sometimes less is more. I try to encourage fashionable/stylish nails.
What's the most "out there." non-traditional material you've incorporated into a manicure?
beetle wings. metallic tape from daiso in a pack. metallic tapes from an online hula-hoop decoration supply- it's a thing apparently. cool real gemstones, opals. spiritually aligned nails with customers chakras. natural seashells. butterfly wings.
Describe a favorite manicure you've performed?
the most popular lately has been the multi color- shifting paper adhesive I found, I like incorporating it in a manicure, cool patterns, line work. comes off really clean. painting patterned nails. it's challenging.
What's a favorite trick you've learned over the years?
the cuticle bit from nail labo has really made a difference, it's really improved my manicures a lot. it allows for a totally clean base. if your prep isn't there, your nails won't last. art wise- you have to get a good brush, a good detail brush is the most important thing to me. I use the same brush every day. it's a really fine point, tiny baby brush, it's not too long but not too short. it tapers off to a nice fine point. it's been my best friend. the fulcrum finger helps give you balance and makes you precise in your art.
Talk to me about your experiences in Japan?
japan is the most inspiring place, it really is. the nature aspect is so beautiful and inspiring to look at. the architecture. the art. the culture of the people. everybody is so kind, its like kindness that you've never experienced before. nail-wise it's the mecca of nails, the power house of the craziest newest products & supplies & skills & techniques & classes. I wish we had a source here to do that. there's no classes here like what they have there. they go to school for 2 years for nails, so it's like college for them. their schools aren't just about sanitation and the basics, you learn art, and you learn how to do art, and build your skill there, and you can't perform on people until you are ready as an artist. going shopping there for nail stuff is beyond, it's like everything you could ever dream of, it's just so amazing. meeting all the cool artists there, I saw disconail when I was there. she's such an inspiration to me, I just love her, she's my twin soul, & hana4, such a magical creature too, one of my best friends.
What's the most unique request you've received from a client?
vagina nails. all different colors and races. different color pubes. it was for a girl going to an art show in mexico city. they caused quite a stir on instagram.
What do you hope for in the future regarding nails and the industry?
technology propels art. when new technology comes out better art comes out, and that's what I look forward to seeing. I'd also like to see a bit more of a collaborative sense in the nail community. I think a lot of nail techs are friends, but a lot view each other as competition when there is really so many hands in the world. I've seen some cattiness sometimes and I don't work like that. I love meeting and talking to other nail techs, joining forces with them. making ourselves stronger individually by being together. learn from each other and create a wide spectrum of art, we are all so different as artists.