Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Meet the Genius behind Katy Perry's Smurf Nails!

You guys love Katy Perry. How do i know this? Because two of the most popular posts on my blog involve Mrs Brand, the most popular being the post about nails at the premier of the film The Smurfs which you can find here.

Before the premier itself Katy tweeted this photo (see left) and before long there were thousands of people googling ‘Katy Perry’s smurf nails’ and cooing over how gorgeous and unique they were and how they could could get them too! 

Well wonder no more as I am Fabulicious has tracked down the genius behind these talons.

Meet Patricia Yankee. Manicurist to the stars.  Artist. Nail Genius.

Patricia is one of the leading professional nail technicians in the U.S. She has over 25 years of international experience in the nail industry, which include educating, nail services and press related events.

So, wait no more and read on to discover exactly how she created those fab nails for Ms Perry.

Hi Patricia, what made you decide to become a nail technician?

 I don’t think it was a decision I chose to make, but more of a career path that chose me. I used to teach dance in a studio in Florida & there was a nail salon next door. The male nail tech that gave me manicures would use me as a hand model for all of the interesting nail art he would do & I really became intrigued by all of it; the technique, colors & creativity. That fascination urged me to go to school & eventually brought me to where I am today.

Patricia, I’ve seen some of the images of your nail creations on your website, they are literally works of art. Have you always had this creative ability?

 Art was always an innate ability for me, throughout my childhood & adolescence and into my high school & adult years. Once I started attending nail school, I began to cultivate that gift more & more. A bare nail became a blank canvas for me.

How did you become involved in working with celebrities and beauty publications?

 I began working for Dashing Diva Franchise Corp in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. The company gained celebrity & press notoriety, requesting stylists & representation for various events & occasions. As a result, I found myself in the midst of opportunity, and after years of hard work & diligence I began to build a repertoire in my own right.

You’ve worked with some huge celebrities. Who has been your favourite client? Do you ever get star struck?

 I don’t ever get star struck, and I think that’s the key to longevity in this industry; talent & technique, as well as the ability to create a comfortable atmosphere when sitting with a client. Celebrities are people too, and too often stylists & technicians cloud their mind & get lost in the awe of whose company they are in; conversation becomes awkward & technique becomes sloppy. When I sit down to work, I can’t afford to lose focus because of whose hands I’m working on. I think that is why Rachael Ray has become one of my favourite clients. We’ve developed a comfortable & professional relationship where it’s become a joy to sit with her.

Is there a particular ‘look’ that you have been most proud of? 

Def Jam Recording Artist, Chrisette Michele, is a client & friend of mine who asked me to do the nail artwork for her music video, “Goodbye Game”.  For the background dancers, I used a mixture of crushed glass & glitter over a black polish. And for Chrisette, I used Dashing Diva Metallic Nails, which I extended with a lace covered stiletto tip. Watching the way it all cinematically came together really made me proud of the work I can accomplish & the nails seen in that video truly became one of my favourite pieces of work.

Chrisette's Nails by Patricia

Do you have a favourite nail polish brand? 
China Glaze & Dashing Diva are my two favourite brands. I actually created a lot of the Dashing Diva colours along with some designers during NYC Fashion Week.  So there is a personal connection there & it feels great to use some of my own creations.

How did creating Katy Perry’s Smurf nails for her premier come about? Were they her idea or yours?

 The Smurf nails were a fun project! The only direction Katy gave me was that she wanted The Smurfs on her nails, so I had a graphic designer make up the images for me.  I layered them over Dashing Diva’s DesignFX nail appliqués with UV Gel to create a 3-Dimensional effect. The end result turned out to be another successful work of art! I was so ecstatic to see all the media attention they received. It encourages me to be more open to similar expression in what I do!

Please can you explain how you created this particular look? How long did it take? Is it easy to replicate?  

I started out using Dashing Diva’s DesignFX nail appliqués as the base layer, covered with DD’s Gelife. I then applied the Smurf images, covered with another layer of Gelife.  Since Katy Perry requested the nails to be ‘Press On’, for easy removal, the set I created took approximately 8 hours. With the Dashing Diva products I used, it should be fairly easy for any nail technician to replicate.

What top tip would you give for keeping your nails healthy and gorgeous?

My #1 Motto is “Oil, Oil, Oil!” Cutticle Oil is vital for maintaining healthy nails.  Preferably one with Jojoba Oil as one of the main ingredients since it is a ‘carrying oil’, which can penetrate through the layers of the nail plate, as well as nail enamel & artificial enhancements. My personal favourite is Solar Oil from CND. I would recommend that you apply a cuticle oil daily to maintain healthy nail structure as well as a fresh appearance.

I have to ask- are you planning on coming to London to launch a Dashing Diva store over here in the foreseeable future? 

We are no longer looking to extend the Dashing Diva Franchise, however, we have distributors in the London area who carry Dashing Diva Professional products.

What is the best part about your job?

 The best part of my job is that I am privileged enough in what I do to be able to travel & visit different parts of the world.  I’m fortunate enough to experience other people & cultures and add to the influences that support my work.  To be able to see so many different interpretations of nail artwork from around the world is an inspiration I won’t ever be able to take for granted.

Can you share with us one of your trade secret beauty tips?

One beauty tip I would give would be to re-apply Top Coat every few days to keep your polish from chipping & the color from growing dull. Not many people realize that our nails bear a lot of wear & tear throughout the day, so re-applying Top Coat can reinforce your nails & keep them looking fresh!


  1. Wow. I am so impressed. Did you see the movie yet? I'm wondering if it was as good as the show!! I used to LOVE LOVE that show. :)


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