OPI Pro Spotlight: @nailzzwithannie
Annie, our August Pro Spotlight pick, calls the nail industry home. As part of a Vietnamese immigrant family, she’s been going to nail salons since she was a child–initially to spend more time with her mom, a hardworking nail tech. Today, Annie is an Atlanta-based nail artist who excels at various styles, which you can see on her Instagram @nailzzwithannie. Ahead, read about her journey, advice for photographing manis, and OPI staple shades.
OPI: What led you on your journey to becoming a nail artist?
Annie: Like most Vietnamese immigrant families, the nail beauty industry kept us moving. When we first immigrated here, the nail beauty industry gave us an opportunity to find community, practice broken English, and most importantly – to live. When I was a child, my mother was always working long hours and never had time for her family. To spend more quality time with my Mom, I asked her to tag along. Through the nail salon, I was able to practice my broken English, understand American culture through customers, and found community through the nail techs who shared similar stories. These fundamentals paved the way for my school, and inevitably my career. After graduation, I worked at an attorney's office and then as a freelance makeup artist. However, the nail industry is a place I call home. This career has saved me when I moved to America, up until now I am very grateful and proud to be a nail artist.
OPI: You have so many gorgeous nail art styles that you excel at! Which style is your favorite to do for your clients?
Annie: I like all sorts of styles including marble, ombre, jewels, swirls, mix/match, and edgy styles. If I had to choose one, I would say minimal nail style. It is elegant and simple without the need to try hard to obtain a sophisticated look. Nude nail polish looks fresh and works for every casual or formal occasion.
OPI: We see that you focus on full coverage tip manicures. What is your favorite thing about using full coverage tips?
Annie: Full coverage tips are a great alternative way for nail extensions. My favorite thing about them is how durable it is without looking bulky or feeling heavy. Natural nails, sometimes it's uneven from side to side, bending, peeling, and breaking easily; therefore, they would be a great choice for nail enhancement. My customers are very happy with them because their nails last 3-6 weeks.
OPI: Which OPI shades are a staple at your salon, and which are your personal favorite to use?
Annie: I am currently working at Sugarcoat in Midtown Atlanta. We have a huge display wall of OPI polish for our customers to choose from the classic to the newest collection. I personally prefer the nude shade collections, which I always have in my personal cart, so it turns into a canvas for me to do the artwork. Some of the colors include Bubble Bath, Put It In Neutral, Samoan Sand, Do You Take Lei Away, Tiramisu For Two, Machu Peach-U, Mod About You, Funny Bunny, Love is in the Bare and Baby, and Take a Vow.
OPI: We love the quote cards you use on your IG! What inspired you to post those, amongst nail art, on your feed?
Annie: During the nail appointments, my customers and I bond over talking about our life experiences. A lot of my quotes come from these conversations. I believe daily inspirational and motivational quotes are good for the mind and soul.
OPI: What is the nail industry like in Atlanta? Does being in such a big city make your work easier or harder, and in what ways?
Annie: The nail industry in Atlanta is massive. There’s pretty much a nail salon on every corner. Atlanta is such a busy city. There is always an event every weekend for everyone to enjoy. Atlanta is home to me and being in a big city does make my job easier. Thanks to social media, I can share my work with the world. I love my local clients and travelers as well.
OPI: What do you see for yourself moving forward in the nail world?
Annie: Looking back at my nail life chapter, I would say I’ve gone quite far since I started nails. I have been blessed to have my own business that allowed me to have celebrity clients. I was also featured on tv shows. I would love to continue sharing my passion for nails and inspire others to be creative. The nail industry is always changing and there is always something new to learn.
OPI: Which nail art trend do you like doing the most?
Annie: During the summer season, I enjoy creating vibrant and pastel looks. Anything abstract with fun artsy looks with some creativity is what I enjoy doing most.
OPI: Your French nail art and swirl nail looks are absolutely stunning! Do you have any advice for other pros on advancing their linework techniques?
Annie: When I first started nails, I used to struggle with French manicures. They seem easy to do, but they actually require precision and a steady hand. French and modern French has come back in style. These days I’ve noticed I’ve been doing 2-3 French manicures minimally, but some days the numbers would be 4-5. Facing my fear every day has helped me become good at it.
My general advice is:
- Look at how the experts do it (YouTube, Instagram)
- Play around with a few brushes to see which one fits you best
- Practice & practice to make your own way
- Good lighting - if the salon light is not good enough, get a table light. This would really help.
- Take pictures - so you can reflect and adjust to being better.
Don't forget to follow Annie aka @nailzzwithannie on Instagram for more inspiration.
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