It shined like real gold. That’s because it was. The real deal, genuine, gold. All the others were red, shiny as well but not like this one. This was the show stopper and I had never seen anything like it. Long, sleek and slender…the golden nail. And we’re not talking the hardware store variety. But a pinky nail, fingernail, made of gold.
I had to have been about six or so, it was the 80’s. My mom would get her nails done, long enough and shades of red, I remember how pretty they looked. But Sondra, her best friend, would get her nails DID. And the first time I saw her talons charmed-up, pierced-up and her pinky nail made of 14K gold, I remember being awe-struck. She of course topped her look with every finger ringed, wrists and neckline dripping and over-sized shades…what an impression on my six year old self. This is my first memory of “nails did”.
It would take some years before I would get my own nails did. Not really appropriate for a six year old. Sure, I could paint my nails in 5th grade but nothing more than an opalescent lacquer, that of course matched the lip color I was allowed to wear. My time for full on nails would come in middle school, 7th grade to be exact. I surely wasn’t the first. My girls were getting them did in 6th grade. But when my favorite teacher, Ms. Gilbertson (at the time) entered me into a Miss Teenage California pageant and I was selected, I of course had to get my nails done! What beauty queen would be without 😉 Now, I didn’t win but I sported the nails for sometime. Going to Sun Nails in East Oakland with my girls to get them filled a couple of times was a fond memory. My go to color was what we called “chola purple” and you know I had to experiment with charms and maybe a black and gold line or two or three. I loved those nails. I felt so grown-up, like my mom and Sondra. I would experiment in my room trying to glue things onto my nails. I remember cutting a pair of lace stockings with rhinestones on them and gluing it to my nails…never achieved the look in my mind but I knew I wanted more, more, more.
Fast forward, what seems like a lifetime, and somehow what was once a niche market is now as popular as bubble gum, probably even more. In 2008, my dear friend, Gabriella and I, decided to dust off our bottles of polish and create a calendar dedicated to our favorite sneakers with a matching mani. With Gabriella behind the lens and I with my resurrected nail skills we did it again in 2009. I never though I’d be back trying to glue “pantyhose” to nails but I was…and candy and potato chips…the list goes on. If it’ll stick, I’ll put it on a nail. And still to this day we keep the calendar going, only now that we’re “all grown up” we like to pair luxury goods with matching manicures…how very!
Recently, Chicago-based artist, Dzine, published a book on the culture and history of Nail art. His book, NAILED, features nail artists and photographers from around the world. Gabriella and I are very excited and happy to be included amongst the artists featured in this book. This Friday, Sept. 7th at the Subliminal Projects gallery in L.A., they will be exhibiting a group show of artist featured in the book…including Gabriella and I. We hope you can come and feast your eyes on manicures gone wild!
Book signing to follow, Saturday Sept. 8th at the Downtown Standard.
- NAILgasm Documentary on Kickstarter
- MISS Featured in DZINE’s “Nailed” Book on Nail Art
- M.I.S.S. Crew Gets They “Nails Did”
- MISS December 2012: Holiday Chanel Cheer
- Nails Did: The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art by Sharmadean Reid