Pro Spotlight: Maria Vlezko of @So_Nailicious
One of the most exciting things about being a part of the OPI community is being able to connect with some of the most talented and creative nail technicians and artists from around the world. For our most recent Infinite Shine Collection, we worked with Sydney-based nail artist and the brains behind the So Nailicious brand, Maria Vlezko. Maria helped us curate our designscapes for the new Infinite Shine shades, which was a big deal for us since we transformed 30 of the most iconic OPI shades into the three-step Infinite Shine system. Get to know all about Maria and So Nailicious below...
Tell us who you are.
I’m Maria Vlezko, Sydney based nail artist and founder of SoNailicious.com. Currently, in addtition to running SoNailicious.com I work as an editorial nail artist and consultant on nail colour plus design trends. I’ve been highlighted as one of the leading nail artists in the world by US Marie Claire and have collaborated with a number of international nail brands, on different levels - from launching my own collection to creating custom nail designs.
How did you get into nails?
I had a passion for art from a young age and grew up not only painting on canvas but on my nails too! My formal education was in business and fine arts, with quite a few years working in these fields. Creatively, I saw an opportunity in 2012 to develop my love of nail art and founded SoNailicious.com. This went on to become Australia’s most influential nail art website and launched my career as a nail artist.
When did you start doing nail art?
I’ve loved painting designs on my nails from a young age:) I have been working professionally for the past 5 years.
Where do you usually get your nail art inspiration from?
It can be anything really… A beautiful sunset, ocean or curious-looking building I saw whilst travelling. I have a passion for travel and find this one of the best sources of inspiration - seeing new places, new colours and new unusual shapes.
How did you become so successful in the nail space?
I have my own distinctive style which has attracted many followers. I strive to create unique designs. An original is worth more than a copy, as someone said and it works in the nail art industry very well. I’m also very hard-working, nothing happens overnight or without a serious investment of time, energy and passion. So if you want to succeed prepare to work hard, never give up and become a master of your passion.
How do you think social media has contributed to your success?
It has been instrumental in shaping and growing the SoNailicious business, so it’s an area I’ve learnt to master.
Tell us about your salon.
At the moment, it’s part of the SoNailicious HQ. Most of the time I travel for shoots or create nail art on tips in the office, like I did for OPI.
Tell us about your relationship with OPI.
I have a very special relationship with OPI. When I was a teenager growing up in the middle of Siberia I’d buy Vogue magazine once a year as a Christmas gift to myself. It’s a very expensive in Russia and a luxury most people cannot afford. So when I was reading Vogue, I’d see all the new OPI collections, usually that would be the holiday collections. Because there were nowhere to buy OPI in the city that I grew up in, I was collecting OPI ads and imagining how these colours would look on my nails. So now it makes me smile to see well over 200 OPI polishes in my office and I use them regularly for manicures. They are more than just a polish to me - I’m living my dream. Quality-wise, do I need even to say anything? OPI products are flawless!
Why do you love using OPI?
Because OPI polishes always deliver. It’s a fail-proof product that does exactly what it supposed to do. Great brush, flawless formula, fantastic colour palette and new fun collections almost every second month. What’s not to love! Plus, OPI is constantly evolving launching new products ahead of everyone else. I’m already coveting the new GelColor Artist Series!
What are some of your go to products?
OPI Nail Envy, it works wonders for strengthening nails for me personally and for my clients too!
Are you a lacquer, Infinite Shine, or GelColor girl? Can you tell us what you like about each of the products?
At the moment, definitely a lacquer girl because of the endless colour palette and fail-proof formula. But I’m getting into the new Infinite Shine range - the new formula is fantastic, very glossy and who doesn’t like a more long-lasting manicure. As for gel, OPI GelColors are some of the best I’ve worked with (and I have a lot to compare too). However, gel has certain limitations in terms of nail design, which is why I prefer to work with polish. But again, it seems like that might change very soon - the new OPI GelColor Artist Series seem like something we need in SoNailicious HQ ASAP.
What do you see being the future of nails? What is the next big trend?
Mixed media, when you combine a few different textures and materials in one look. Nail art is becoming more and more popular with the general public and the old-fashioned florals and butterflies are just not cutting it for the young, stylish crowd. It’s still, sometimes, great to do a glitter manicure so shiny you can see it from space, but the future is in edgy geometric patterns with addition of unusual details, like metallic stripes or iridescent foil.
What do you love about your job?
100% creative freedom and endless possibilities! For the client side of business, it’s of course seeing how my client’s mood changes when they see the finished design. I don’t just do nails, I create custom looks that make every client feel like a celebrity. Being able to give people happiness is the most rewarding aspect of my job.