Nail’d It is very similar to Project Runway or Top Chef â€” a group of nail artists are given challenges that push their craft to extreme realities. There’s a wonderful host, in this case Adrienne Bailon (who you may remember from The Cheetah Girls), celebrity nail judges (meaning celebs in the nail world, and just pretty people everywhere else), and elimination-style judging.
Nail art, for those who aren’t familiar, is a huge deal, not just on Pinterest, but there’s also a massive nail art community and even competitions for artists to showcase their work. The contestants on Nail’d It are seriously talented and I, as a client, got to spend a day getting my nails done by one of them. Here’s what I found out about nail art, and being on a reality show.
This sentence will haunt me for the rest of my life.
See that redhead in the thumbnail? That’s me. I’m actually on the show. I wasn’t just lying about that.
In order to make the competition fair, everyone had to get a basic manicure to ensure their nail beds were healthy. All’s fair in gels and glitter.
Like the kind you get in the drugstore that have a sticky adhesive on the back. Except mine were filed and re-filed and buffed to perfection.
That’s Jean Bentley from Zap2It, another writer who can â€œinfluenceâ€ the nail world. She was a client, like me, and because time is of the essence, you often have a few people making you TV ready at once.
That’s because there are stylists, and you can hear them talk about the other contestants and what they’re wearing and how it will compare to yours. You will immediately realize you forgot to bring that beautiful blue lace dress and want to cry. It is OK, they make you look pretty even when you doubt yourself.
There was even a handler who followed all of us around to make sure we weren’t touching anything.
Girls gotta text, OK? And this is Grasie Mercedes of Style Me Grasie, another writer/client/nail art â€œinfluencer.â€
For me, all day meant arriving by 9 a.m. and leaving sometime just after 11 p.m.
Craft services is this wonderful place where there are just tables and rows of snacks. Everything is free, and you’re encouraged to take all of the things. My things were Doritos, gummy bears, and assorted Tootsie Rolls. It was a glorious lunch. (But also incredibly difficult to enjoy with talons, obviously.)
Mainly because you’re surrounded by bright lights and people yelling, â€œCUT! AGAIN!â€ and you’re never quite sure what to do with your hands. (Note my pulling on the jacket and making a gonzo face, for example.)
I had to film my intro no fewer than seven times. That’s the part where all you have to say is, â€œHello, this is my name!â€ And yet, I couldn’t do it. I kept flubbing my own name, and I was so nervous that I sounded mad. Eventually I got it, but it wasâ€¦horrifying.
To get all of those ~crucial~ angles and sound bites.
â€œI WANT TO FEEL FIERCEâ€ (?!)
This is Classic Mully, by the way, and she was the contestant creating my nail art for the evening. Bless her heart.
For an hour and a half the cameras are pinned to your side, and you feel obligated to fill every minute of it with small talk.
A nail could break, or chip, and if it did, it would take the artist another hour to fix that nail. So they are super serious about the no touching rule after this point.
I got yelled at a lot. Sorry.
Like a momma bird oh so gently giving her babies nutrients, so was this PA.
I was clearly meant for more refined, non-hand things.
You can’t TOUCH ANYTHING. I don’t think any of us actually ended up using the restroom for the next six hours.
Hence all of our hands dutifully posed behind our backs.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a contestant, but as the â€œhand modelâ€ I was so nervous for Classic. I wanted her to win, but I also wanted to hear the judges critique her work. It’s a lot of emotions!
I had to hold my fingers very still while an overhead camera shot from above. Occasionally I’d move a finger there, or tilt it to the sideâ€¦ I do it all for the cover shot!
There are shots used for background, or a second of a frame that you need to fill by just standing there and doing something. Here’s me, standing for a solid 20 minutes while they take aerial views of my completed nails. Life is hard.
She wanted to see our nails, then she showed us hers, and talked about how much she respects the art form. Adrienne gave me a new appreciation for beautiful nails.