The nail salon is sacred territory, so when we found out that one would be the center of TNT’s new series CLAWS, we were understandably excited. The series, which stars Niecy Nash as a nail salon owner who launders money for the Dixie Mafia, is already a summer favorite and if you’ve spotted the cast on and off the red carpet, you’ll quickly notice that their digits are always painted to perfection.
CLAWS Key Nail Stylist Gracie J. may have a little something to do with that. Her mani work is showcased throughout the show’s inaugural season, where her mani designs are just as important as the wardrobe and plot lines.
“You have to think like everyone on the production team. You’re not just putting on nails,” she tells ESSENCE.. “There is so much that we do behind the scenes, on the weekends, and on off days that cast and crew don’t get to see. It’s a lot of time and dedication…You have to be able to apply the story to what you’re creating for the characters.”
And although working on a set is different from the salon, Gracie credits the former with shaping her unique take on nail designs.
“My first experience doing nails professionally was working on set. That’s how I fell in love with my craft. Hence one of the reasons why I named my brand The Editorial Nail. I prefer working on set, but on a personal level, I prefer to independently cater to my clients. I prefer the entrepreneurial route. That way I get to filter who I get to service and my clients overtime have become my friends.”
Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
It goes without saying that someone with as much experience as Gracie would have a hard time choosing her favorite look. So instead, she’s schooling us on the top nail trends for summer. Keep scrolling to see the colors, finishes and adornments you should be rocking right now.
Earrings and charms aren’t just for your ears or face. Today, you can wear those same adornments on your digits. “I love a sexy hoop and dangle on the nail,” Gracie says. “They’re fun. Black girls from the hood have been setting this trend way before mainstream media made it ‘cool.’ Don’t sleep on Black girl magic. We been making waves!”
Go big or go home is the name of the nail art game. Gracie says, “I think artists are pushing boundaries on what nail art is supposed to look like. I am a big advocate for stepping outside of your comfort zone.”
We’ve moved beyond your basic matte and glossy finishes. Now, nail artists like Gracie are incorporating chrome and iridescent finishes into their manicure designs, making for some seriously unique mani-grams on our social feeds. “I am still in awe of how many variations of designs artists have come up with using pigments,” she says. “The possibilities are endless with what can be done.”