Pro Spotlight: Leonobi Galvez
Hola, friends! We’re delighted to have one of our dedicated OPI nail artists, Leonobi Galvez, tell her tale about visiting Peru with the rest of the OPI team in preparation of the launch of our newest color collection, #OPIPeru. Leonobi owns and operates her own salon in New York, Luxuria Nail Bar, and was so excited to explore the incredible South American landscape of Peru. Let her words whisk you away to the mountains and valleys of that incredible country in this inspirational interview.
Tell us how you got into the nail industry—how did you discover your nail artist passion and talent?
I obtained my cosmetology license in high school and went directly into working at a hair salon. After making numerous connections there, I met a friend who introduced me into working at OPI! This opened up a whole new world for me. Although I loved being a hairstylist, being a nail technician gave me so much creative freedom that I absolutely loved. Since most people get their manicures every week or two, it really gave me so much liberty to play around and use their nails as blank canvases.
As a nail artist and expert, where do you draw your inspiration?
I draw inspiration from so many things. In the salon, we have about three drawers filled with only nail art supplies. When a client tells me to have fun, I just look into the drawers and start picking out things of different colors and see what clicks. I also love looking at other artist’s work so that I can take my own spin on them.
Tell us a little more about the OPI Peru color collection and what it means to you.
Coming from a Latin background this collection truly means a lot. Although, this isn’t the country I am originally from, it’s opening the door and showing the world all the beauty Latin countries have to offer. The people, the scenery, and the colors all blend together so well to create a captivating image that just draws you in. I was so honored to be part of the team that worked on creating a nail polish collection, turning it into something beautiful with so much meaning.
What was it like traveling to Peru as an OPI nail artist? Tell us about your most memorable experience with the OPI team.
I feel like most people don’t truly understand all the dedication the whole team put in together in order to bring these images to life. It was hard work, but it didn’t feel like “work” because of how much fun it was. I love being in busy atmospheres where everyone is working on so many different aspects to paint one picture together. It was an honor to be asked to be part of something like that.
One of my favorite memories was one night, when the whole team went to dinner and all of these talented people were simply themselves. You truly got to know the nice and humble individuals that they are! Another thing I remember the most was being disconnected from my phone for a few days and being able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery from such high altitudes.
Which shades in the color collection are your favorite?
My two favorite shades from the collection are “Yes My Condor Can-Do!” and “Alpaca My Bags”. Not only are the names fitting for the polishes assigned to them, but they truly represent Peru. The collection paints a picture of what Peru looks and feels like with its vibrant colors bringing out the gorgeous textures of the landscapes for all things seen.
Tell us about your designs for the Peru color collection - did you gather inspiration from the location?
Yes of course I drew inspiration from the location! I wanted to keep everything on the simple side, yet still incorporating a lot of color into it.
What are some stable products in your nail art routine? Any brushes, colors, top coats, etc that you could recommend to our readers?
If you have the opportunity to try any of the OPI chrome powders, I highly recommend them! I love the unique look that they give to nails. My favorite is putting them over a black gel polish to really see the chrome effect come to life. Ever since I received them, I’ve been using them on everyone. Some of my favorite nail art designs to create include anything involving free hand work - so I cannot live without my thin nail art brushes.
What is some advice you would give to aspiring nail artist? Any tips on how to break into the industry?
One of my greatest pieces of advice would be to put yourself out there. We live in the age of social media so everyone should take advantage of it! Even if you don’t have all the filming resources, just set up a small tripod with your phone and record your own nail art tutorials on yourself to post onto social media platforms. Get creative and try new things outside of your comfort zone. Work hard for it, too because it won’t happen overnight. And of course, always tag the companies you use! A simple comment or even a repost from them will put you out there bringing in a new audience to you.
We were so grateful to have a passionate nail artist like Lenobi accompanying the team in Peru to truly absorb and create an authentic aesthetic. Don’t forget to follow Leonobi’s advice and tag us whenever you wear #OPIPeru!