Kimmie Keyes is one of the most requested nail artists in the entertainment industry. She is responsible for the best nail designs hitting the red carpet and the stage, from Adele’s copper nails at the Oscars to Rihanna and Katy Perry’s most inventive designs.
How do celeb clients pick their style and color?
Singers, like Katy Perry, are involved in the decision and are generally more adventurous. They like to change styles often and would go for gels that are faster to apply then acrylics. Actresses, on the other hand, choose traditional manicures. What they are wearing is, of course, very influential on choosing the style and color. For Adele’s Oscar copper nails, for example, the inspiration came from her dress lining that was a similar shade.
Who is the most innovative when it comes to nail design?
Definitely Rihanna, she is a trendsetter. She was the first to wear pointy nails, that became very popular in Hollywood and was seen on other celebrities like Nicole Richie and Cameron Diaz. She then wore them long, square and narrow.
How long does it take to prepare them for an event?
The time dedicated to a manicure all depends on what they ask of me. Adele’s acrylics at the Oscars, for example, took about two hours. When we are gearing up for an awards show, many of my clients make the decision the night before so I can start preparing them and it will take less time to apply them the day of the event.
How difficult is it to prepare so many celebrities for awards shows?
It can get very crazy because many of my clients change looks from the red carpet to their stage exhibit. For example, at the American Music Awards I worked with four girls: Katy Perry, Rihanna, Pink and Ke$ha. Most of them were performing so I had to do seven manis that day. After the red carpet I waited for them backstage and I was running from one to the other, praying that all went well!
What were your most successful nail designs?
The ones with fun themes, not necessarily the most complex ones. For example Rihanna’s neon yellow nails with smileys, or the face of Russell Brand on Katy Perry’s nails when they were still together.
Do you travel a lot?
I try not to travel too much because my material is very heavy. But I do it for my closest clients like Rihanna.
What are the hottest colors this summer?
Turquoise, emerald, mint… Essie has a great range of these shades.
Photo of Kimmie Keyes and Rihanna, courtesy of Kimmie Keyes