Career StoriesPassion 31 October 2016
Career Stories: nail artist Jessica Scholten

She’s one of the only women around who can fiddle with Doutzen Kroes’s nails: let’s introduce Jessica Scholten (24) a nail pro extraordinaire. Her work has been featured in leading magazines as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE and she’s worked for Fashion Week shows in Amsterdam, Paris and London.

Oh, and Jessica runs a salon in Amsterdam too. Let’s talk business with this young, ambitious lady!

When was the first time you remember doing nails?
Jessica: “I was obsessed with nail polishes and stick-on nails at the age I was allowed to cycle to school on my own. When I received my pocket money I rushed to the shop to buy nail essentials.”

Was it always your dream to become a manicurist?
Jessica: “Not really, actually. I noticed I loved nails from a young age. I loved nails and particularly nail art from a very young age. I never considered turning this passion into a profession.”

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What has your career journey been like?
Jessica: “During secondary school, I went to a nail technician school in my free time and did a training to apply acrylic nails. I did it for fun, applying artificial nails was ‘just’ a part-time job. After that, I took many courses on nail art and nail perfection and I won the national competition for nail artists in The Netherlands. While studying communications science at university, I took make-up courses at the B Academy. That’s when I realized that nails are neglected in the Dutch fashion business.

I went to London and Paris to assist big nail artists and it took a while before nails went ‘big’ or actually, taken seriously, in my home country. For about two years now, I’ve been represented by an agency in The Netherlands (NCL Representation) and I work for an agency in London too. I’ve done shows in New York, Paris and London and worked with magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour and international titles like W Magazine and Instyle. I also worked with brands like Bottega Veneta, Paul Smith and Adidas and work with exciting nail brands like OPI, Sally Hansen and Essie.”

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How do you kick off your work day?
Jessica: “Let’s say I try to wake up two hours before I actually have to leave. Before I’ve even got out of bed, I’ve already checked my agenda, my emails, and social media. Usually, I take morning yoga classes thee times a week. After yoga, I shower and have (a big) breakfast.”

The best part of working in this part of the fashion industry?
Jessica: “Whether it’s a customer or team: I love to work with new people every day. I’ve met so many inspiring people along the way! Reaching your goals with a team is something I enjoy: everyone has it’s own value in a group and it’s beautiful when all these pieces come together. Because the whole ‘nail world’ is a pretty new thing in the Netherlands, I like the fact that it’s been very much appreciated the last couple of years. A perfect manicure or stylish nail art complete a beauty shoot.”

A piece you’re very proud of?
Jessica: “Actually, I’m quite proud of a lot of things I achieved so far. Like the last NYFW: I worked with top models like Gigi Hadid and Romee Stijd for Victoria Beckham, Jeremy Scott and DVF shows. I also worked with photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Inez & Vinooth and models like Lara Stone and Doutzen Kroes. Apart from all the big names, I’m really proud that nail art is getting bigger and bigger in The Netherlands, now it’s been fully recognized as an indispensable art form in the fashion world.”

The hardest part of the job?
Jessica: “There are long days, long nights and long weeks. Working 20 days straight is not an exception. Also, the uncertainty makes work difficult. Sometimes I get confirmed for shows abroad just one day in advance. That’s a risk you take.”

Big dream for the future?
Jessica: “I have a lot of dreams! I try and challenge myself every day and I’m excited for what there is to come. In the near future, I will host training courses all around the world, for people working in the professional nail industry. Nail art still suffers from a slightly bad image, I hope I can make a difference. Oh, and I would love to do the nails of Lady Gaga and princess Maxima. A big dream.”

Best career advice?
Jessica: “Go with the flow! Work hard if you want something badly. And have a goal to aim for, don’t give up.”

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