With 20 years of experience, Ali Magliveras is one of the most respected professionals in the Australian beauty industry. I met Ali first time at MBFWA in 2014. Like some kind of nail fairy, she was quickly painting nails here and there, answering questions, posing for photos, always impeccably professional and always smiling in the middle of the backstage mayhem before a show. That bright personality and her ability to create flawless manicures under pressure has earned Ali a place within the world’s elite manicurists and the position of Essie Australia Nail Director.
But Ali has worked her way to the top. She used to do fashion shows on her own. Imagine, one manicurist doing nails on twenty models! Now Ali manages and leads her own team of manicurists.
So read on lovelies, get to know Ali and learn from her wealth of experience. Some super useful tips ahead! As for Ali’s work, if you haven’t already seen it on models on almost all the runways in Australia, you’ll see plenty of it in our upcoming MBFWA features.
NAIL FILE: Ali Magliveras, Essie Australia Nail Director, Sydney, Australia
Why nails? When I was a child, I’d take a manicure kit and do nails together with my cousin. I loved doing nails but only considered it as a profession when Christina Fitzgerald (I was her client back then) said that I’d be good for this job. She took me under her wing and taught me everything I needed to know. Christina helped me a lot, she aligned me with the right people, makeup artists and photographers. I then moved to New York, and that’s where I started working on big campaigns. New York is the best city to be in for a creative. That’s where everything happens and that’s where people strive to produce ground-breaking campaigns. Everything is possible in New York. But eventually, in 2003, I came back to Australia and that’s when I started working with Essie. At a dinner party I met someone who was bringing Essie to Australia and they offered me a job. It was fate.
The most interesting campaign you have ever worked on and why? When I lived in New York City, a campaign we did for Manolo Blahnik when everything went towards nails. A massive budget, creativity… In New York that’s where everything happens, it’s limitless.
How do you get inspired for your manicures? The mood that I’m in. The best thing about polish you can change it to suit your mood. Anything that sets a mood is inspiring, music, etc. polish reflects your personality – it’s fun.
What colours are trending this season? Bright colours, spring flowers, pink, apricot, milky chocolate. Very spring like. Grey is still around, cashmere matt collection.
What nail shape is hot right now? The best shape is your favourite shape. The mood you’re in sets the look for your nails, whether it’s girly short nude nails or dramatic stilettos.
Favorite top coat? Essie Good To Go, of course!
The worst thing for your nails is… over-buffing, using acetone when you don’t have to.
Favorite pattern? Negative space.
Favorite colour combination for a manicure? Nude and silver. Or even, nude with rhinestones. A combo like Essie Spin A Bottle and Set In Stones I’d wear the whole week and wouldn’t get sick of it.
You hero fashion week product? Essie Quick Drops, because they dry your nails in instant.
How long does it take you to get ready for a fashion week? We have our first meeting with the designer approximately 1 month before the show. Then I go and create some designs and show them to the designer. Then it’s a forward and backward process. Maybe 2-3 rounds of emails before we settle on the look. But even then, sometimes things can change just one night before the show.
For someone who wants to do manicures at a fashion week, how do you get in? You need to align yourself with a reputable salon or find the agent. You have to be confident in your work but working with a salon is really important. If the salon is doing hair and makeup for the show, most likely they’ll drag you along.
One tip for a new manicurist going to do nails for the first time at MBFWA? Pack a snack of food and wear flat shoes. Don’t be nervous, be confident to just grab models hands and do the nails.
One piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to succeed in the industry? Make contacts, be confident in your work and have respect for yourself. Align yourself with good people, makeup artists, photographers. Be flexible, fun and professional. Also, don’t be walked over. Sometimes (at fashion weeks) you have to stand up for yourself to make sure your job gets done. You have to paint nails regardless of all the obstacles (i.e. chaotic environment where everyone is a in rush and hairdressers, makeup artists and nail artists work simultaneously to get the models ready quickly). You have to understand, sometimes a manicurists job is not glamorous (painting toenails under the table anyone?), but if you truly love what you do, then it’s not hard.