Nail File: Julie Kandalec, Creative Director Paint-Box

Categories: Features Interviews

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Julie Kandalec, creative director Paint Box
3D nails by Julie K
Creative direction by Julie Kandalec Paintbox
Creative direction by Julie Kandalec Paintbox
Diamond nails for Vogue Russia
Frost bitten nails at Thom Browne by Julie K
Geomteic nails for Jamie Nelson Vogue Turkey
Halloween x Breast Cancer nails by Julie K
Julie Kandalec for Cosmopolitan
Julie Kandalec for Shape Aug USA
Nails by Julie K for Herve Leger Fall 2014
Nails for Kaley Cuoco Cosmopolitan cover

You’ve probably already seen Julie’s work, most likely somewhere very public. Like on Vogue covers or New York Fashion Week shows… With 18 years in the industry, numerous magazine covers and leading over a dozen New York Fashion Week shows for Essie, Julie Kandalec is one of the top US celebrity manicurists. Remember the famous frost bitten nails at Thome Browme? That’s Julie’s work! Scroll through the gallery to see some of Julie’s best designs, you’ll recognise quite a few. Needless to say, we’re honoured that Julie kindly agreed to share some of her nail art secrets here on SoNailicious.

So read on, lovelies! If you’re considering a career as a celebrity manicurist, there’s a wealth of helpful tips ahead!

NAIL FILE: Julie Kandalec, celebrity manicurist and Creative Director of PaintBox.

1. Country: USA, New York city.

2. Why nails? I’ve always been in love with both miniatures and art- eventually they came together to me becoming a nail artist

3. How and when did you get into the industry? I’ve been doing nails for 18 years – long before YouTube tutorials came along. My first memory was when my dad took me to a beauty school as part of a father-daughter field trip. I was instantly magnetized to the nail charms I saw and have been addicted ever since. I think I was 11 or 12.

4. Highlights of your career, achievements?

It sounds so simple but when I got my very first business cards back in 1999, it was a memory that I still have. That was when it all became real.

Others include leading over a dozen shows at NY Fashion week for Essie, meeting Sally Field (my dad’s favorite actress) 3 seasons (and counting) as lead manicurist for Thom Browne, being the only nail professional to give a nail makeover to a guest on TLC’s “What Not to Wear” and of course- being creative director of Paintbox! (scroll through the gallery to see Julie’s nail designs).

5. Nail care product you can’t live without right now is… A Glass nail file.

6. The best manicure tip? When applying glitter polish, apply the polish first to a paper towel and let set (5 seconds) so it can absorb some of the clear base. When you pick it back up again with the brush, the glitter will be chunkier so you don’t haven’t apply so many layers!

7. Your favourite top coat? Nails Inc Kensington Caviar 45-second top coat.

8. Your favourite nail strengthener? Qtica natural nail growth stimulator.

9. The worst thing for your nails is… peeling your gel off!

10. Favorite pattern/nail art trend? Glitter is my favorite color. Especially ones with multiple sizes!

11. Favorite colour combination for a manicure? Black and white is always classic yet poppy- for fall I’m loving light mauve pink and heather gray.

12. The most adventurous/most challenging nail art you have ever created? Doing Elvis in 3D on a nail in a Rush for an advertising campaign. Also 3 sets of rhinestone encrusted nail tips for Russian Vogue (scroll through the gallery to see the nails!) – the night before the shoot.

13. How do you get inspired for your nail art? I love textiles. I could spend hours in the garment district in Manhattan just starting at the materials and notions.

14. The most challenging thing when painting nails for fashion week? Staying out of the way of the hair and makeup artists – we sit on the floor usually and we have to squeeze under tables to get the girls done!

 15. One piece of advice would you give someone wanting to become a professional manicurist? Take photos of all your work, network like crazy, and never, ever stop learning.

Five Fast Nail Questions:

  1. White or Black? White
  2. Gel or shellac? Gel
  3. Matte or Glossy? Glossy
  4. Nail icon? Tom Bachik
  5. When in doubt wear… Glitter!!!

Julie Kandalec was interviewed  by Maria Vlezko, July 2014. All images – Julie Kandalec.

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