Meet Gunnar Deatherage

Colour is for everyone, so we’re changing conventional thoughts around who can and can’t wear nail lacquer. It's time for men's nails to be painted- time to #ManiUp. We got to speak Gunnar Deatherage, @gunnardeatherage, a Project Runway Season 10 designer about how colour inspires him, the best nail art for men, and why men should wear polish.

OPI: What’s your first memory with nail polish? When did you start wearing nail polish?

GD: My first memory with nail polish was with my mom. My mom always had her fingernails and toenails polished, so I would flip through the basket of polishes she had and choose her polishes for her. I didn't really start wearing nail polish until about 2 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles from Louisville, Kentucky. I think I waited to actually wear it because it felt safer to express myself in LA? Nail polish on men can be so jarring to others, and I've always been aware of that but despised that mindset. At the end of the day, nail polish is just a small and very personal token of self-expression. I finally felt free and comfortable enough wearing it once I moved to such a large city.

OPI: How does colour inspire you?

GD: Colour is the most powerful tool for me. It triggers emotions and is perceived so differently to every person. I think wearing colour is such a cool way of expressing ourselves because it's an instant indicator of how we are feeling.

OPI: We’re loving your manis! How do you pick a nail shade?

GD: I typically gravitate towards a darker shade because my wardrobe consists of SO much black. That being said, recently I have been matching my nails to the dresses and garments I create for Tiktok, and that has been SO much fun because it's this gorgeous little accessory to the garments I'm making. I am currently wearing OPI "Black Onyx" with a layer of OPI "All A 'Twitter' in Glitter."

OPI: What’s your favourite OPI Shade?

GD: Not to be SUPER basic, but I adore OPI" Lincoln Park After Dark." That colour is SUCH a classic colour and was the perfect accent to my entire wardrobe. There is something so chic and mysterious about how rich that colour is.

OPI: What’s your favourite nail art look to wear?

GD: I've been really into the colour-shifting polishes and glittery/foil clear coats! I just find that the metallic hues look so unique and eye-catching on my DIY videos!

OPI: Do you get comments for wearing polish? How do you respond to the haters?

GD: Growing up, I definitely had comments on my nails. I come from such a small town where being any kind of different is not ok. Thankfully I moved to Louisville and found an incredible crew of people that not only embraced but encouraged my self-expression. Even with that amazing crew, I would still get comments at gas stations, restaurants, and bars. The gender norm is SOOOOO boring for men, but it's the norm, so they embrace it. Anytime I get comments from people about the way I dress, or my painted nails I quickly fight back in defense of my self-expression. Nobody's opinion changes how I feel and what I wear but my own. It has taken years to get to that point, and now that I'm living in this cage-free stylistic world, I'm so happy and grateful.

OPI: Why should men wear polish?

GD: I say why not? Expression is so important, and now more than ever, you see a movement of men painting their nails, and it's exciting to see! It is such a fun detail to see when you look at your hands while driving or texting. Wearing colour isn't reserved for one gender only, so wearing it on your nails shouldn't be either.