Naja – Celebrity Nail Guru Interview
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I grew up on the East Coast, so I have that direct, “to the point” Jersey vibe. I am deeply rooted in my spiritual life, love to provide an experience and treat everyone like they are the only person in the room.
You have gourmet chef training, how does that experience give you an edge in the spa industry?
I went to culinary school right out of high school, so in my first career was I was a gourmet chef. That training proved to be very helpful in my nail styling career.
I have a high-end nail salon offering luxury services so presentation is a large part of what I do. I use the presentation skills I gathered from decoration plates and cakes.
Consistency is another large part of any service- especially spa and restaurants. I always give my apprentices the example: If there is a dish that I absolutely love and I rave about it over and over to a friend and then I finally take that friend to the restaurant and we order it and it is different… that really irritates me and shows me that there is a lack of training.
Consistency is KEY to building trust and long time clients.
Your focus is spa therapy and relaxation, what piece of relaxing advice do you find yourself giving on a regular basis?
I created Extremedys with the intention to give people in Los Angeles one full hour without their blackberry or any other “to do” things. A time to renew, relax and restore. A revival for the senses. I advise a lot of people to breathe, stretch and take long soak baths. I love taking baths.
You’ve been a Minx since the beginning, how do you see their products changing the nail industry?
Minx is a revolutionary product. It has everyone gasping and searching to find out what it is.
Clients, nail stylist, men are all crazy for minx. It is about 85% of my business. The lack of drying time is important in these multi-tasking days.
The metallic shine of Silver and gold lighting is a break thru-in the nail industry. The colors, metallic hues and endless design really sets Minx apart in the industry. The possibilities of what can go on Minx are limitless.
Tell us how they fit into your mantra for nail procedures & products?
I have only dealt with natural nails and products since the beginning of my career. So, Minx is a dream come true. I am able to do all types of fun creative things without any toxic smells, messy liquids or glue.
A satisfied customer, you wear Minx yourself. Clearly you work with your hands, what’s the best thing about them?
Best thing about Minx for the consumer is that there is NO drying time and they grab so much attention.
I tell my clients that are going on auditions to wear Minx even if it doesn’t fit in to the character they are going for, because it creates a strong impact and memory.
Usually someone at the audition will need to know where the person got their Minx done, and this way the person gets the auditioner’s personal e-mail to exchange info.
Best thing about minx for a nail stylist is that my nails can look amazing while doing manicures and pedicures all day long.
I get new clients everyday just by wearing minx and doing my daily life activities.
Most people can’t decide, but which one is your favorite Minx pattern?
Favorite Minx pattern is Silver chrome houndstooth.
You have worked with a number of celebrities, have any interesting stories?
Yes. I first met Lady Gaga when she just got signed and was going to do her first music video for Just Dance. She was excited and nervous- her dream was right there unfolding. I told Janice Jordan of Minx that I did her nails. This was right before Beyonce first wore them. I just knew that Lady Gaga was going to be the next Madonna. She just had that “it” quality. At that time she only had a myspace page with 633 friends. Janice didn’t think it was a big deal at the time and was like “who”??
We always joke about that now. I went on to do 3 more videos and numerous photo shoots for Lady Gaga. She wore Silver Lightning Minx before anyone else – that was her signature.
Did you have the intention of becoming a manicurist to the stars or did it just happen that way?
It really just happened that way. I always push myself to the next level so that was probably bound to happen. I did a number of celebrities just by working in a popular West Hollywood nail salon.
I am not that up on who is who, so there was a time that I did the entire cast of Desperate Housewives and I had no clue who they were.
My first celeb client out on my own was Mary J Blige. She has been my idol growing up and it is utterly amazing to get to work with her.
What is your most decadent treatment?
The most decadent treatment is The Glass Slipper. It is a pedicure with 9 essential oils dropped on the feet in a sequential order to promote balance, circulation and relaxation.
Where do you see the industry in five years time?
5 years from now I see Gel on natural nails being super prominent.
I see a lot of the discount unsanitary shops a thing of the past.
I believe Minx nails will have collections with each season and trend just like designer fashion, and that anyone will be able to easily personalize their own Minx design.
Can you give us a preview of hot trends for 2010?
In 2010…. The matte trend will continue. Gray, muted grey, white nails will be a hot thing. Metallics in chrome. Dark deeply rich blues, and vampire red. Almond shapes almost pointy will be a hot thing. For spring, turquoise, tomato red, fuschia coral, bright yellow, muted earth tone greens.
Nails aside, what else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about my dog, CC Bloom. Dancing, painting, the truth of existence, nature.
Thanks to Naja for answering our questions & sharing a little more about herself, you can keep up with Extremedys 2012 via Naja’s website.
Stay tuned for more interesting interviews with other fun & fearless members of the nail industry.