Friday, December 7, 2012

First Look Fridays: Celebrity Manicurist Gina Eppolito

My favorite show of all time is Sex and the City. I don't care how much time goes by or how many times I watch each episode -- I just can't get enough. So I'm beyond thrilled that today's interview is with Gina Eppolito, who was the manicurist for the show! But Gina has quite the extended celebrity clientele, from Halle Berry and Meryl Streep to Jennifer Connelly and Natalie Portman. Read on to find out which favorite top coat she and I have in common, how to keep your nails from chipping and so much more.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised on Long Island. I had an amazing upbringing -- my parents showered my sister and I with unconditional love, which has been my foundation in life. I was surrounded by amazing cousins and friends. I always had a passion for life and naturally brought out the positively in people and situations. I graduated from Mepham High School and received my nail specialty license from Advanced Nail Academy in Babylon, New York.

How did you first become interested in beauty, and what led you to become a manicurist?
I was always a "beauty" girl. I loved doing my own hair, makeup and nails. I still have a collection of my broken nails from when I was a little girl! Sounds crazy, but it's true! I kind of just fell into doing nails. I blindly started a nail business in my parents' basement when I was 15, which lead to my working at my friend's father's nail salon.

What are your top 5 favorite nail products?
1) Star Nail Stainless Steel Pedicure File

2) OPI BondAid pH Balancing Agent
Stickey Base Coat
3) CND Stickey Base Coat

4) Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
5) Qtica Half Time Polish Drying Accelerator

You have quite an impressive celebrity clientele! Are there any favorite looks you've created? What makes them stand out for you?
Rihanna's stiletto nails for the Met Gala 2012. It was on a whim and they looked pretty fierce! They were perfect for her flawless look that evening.

Sarah Jessica Parker and I came up with a great combination color for her recent appearance at Barneys New York for Electric Holiday. The first coat of polish was a dark gray matte shade accompanied by a amethystine glitter, that finished to perfection!

You were the manicurist on my favorite show of all time, Sex and the City. What was that experience like for you?
AMAZING! It was my first "on set" experience and it could not have been more perfect. I got a call one night at 10:30pm from my makeup artist friend Kerrie Plant (who was doing Cynthia's makeup for the show) asking to come to set at 6am to give Sarah Jessica a manicure. I was over the moon!

What nail trend are you most excited about right now?
DIY (do it yourself) nail art is huge right now and I love it, because that's how I started off. Sitting in my parents' basement for hours upon hours, creating different looks with glitter, rhinestones, paint and basically whatever jewel I could find small enough to fit on a nail. Expression through clothes and accessories and now our nails!

What are your top 3 nail tips?
1) For a chip-less manicure. Before applying nail polish, clean the nail thoroughly with a paper towel square that has been moistened with remover, then buff the nail, then clean again with remover. Proper cleansing adds to long lasting polish.

2) There is no such thing as over moisturizing! Hands and cuticles take a beating especially in the cold winter months. Always keep your favorite hand cream in your bag and rub it into your cuticles as well. Too much is never enough!

3) No time for polish and want a quick pick me up. Keep a three-way buffer in your bag. Buff nails for about 10 seconds with each side and within 5 minutes your nails will shine! For an added glow, dab oil on cuticles -- EVOO is not just for cooking!

Being a manicurist must be fun, but what do you do in your spare time?
I am a huge foodie. love trying out new restaurants and food events. I love to jog, obsessed with hot yoga (3 times a week), can't get enough massages and music (all kinds). On my to-do list: travel to new places I've never been (which are many)!

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