Chatting With Yasmine Elwakil
Yasmine is a freelance nail artist in London. Like many of us, she made the jump from corporate role to following her dream as a nail artist. She has worked at several well-known london based nail art salons as well as had her work grace the pages of Scratch Magazine...
1. What's your favourite beauty trend at the moment? Do you have any predictions for upcoming trends?
I'm totally obsessed with foils again! I'm especially loving them on quite a nude/natural nail or bright colours on black. I describe them as 'little effort, big reward!' They're so effective.
I think we're going to keep seeing what I call 'Twisted french,' which is more variation and colours on the classic french, maybe I'll start creating some foil tips! The abstract styled nail art is getting quite popular too.
2. What is your biggest challenge you face regularly? How do you overcome it?
To just focus on my own progress and not compare myself to others! I try to just appreciate how good other people’s work is, rather than it let me set me back – I use it to drive me instead!
3. What's been the highlight of your career so far?
I actually don’t know where to start or how to choose! Doing Nails Mastered last year, which kick started my career and where I met my ‘nail tribe!’ Working Fashion Week with the legend that is Marian Newman and doing Gucci in Milan with the incredible Jenny Longworth, being a Scratch cover finalist, having my first features published in Scratch magazine and online, getting into session work and being lucky and privileged enough to meet and work with some amazing people…the list is endless! It’s been quite a year for me! I think assisting at New York Fashion week this September will be my next big highlight!!
4. Who are your favourite nail artists/beauty pro's at the moment?
There’s an artist called Bel Fountain-Townsend, known as ‘So Hot Right Nail’ on Instagram and I’m just loving all the nails she creates that pop up in my feed! I loved quite a few artists in the industry, but her stuff is just really standing out for me right now!
5. What’s the best piece of advice you've been given?
The simplest advice to be honest from one of my nail buddies; ‘fake it until you make it!’ You know what you’re capable of, so act confident and you will feel it! Another was from Marian Newman; ‘just say yes to everything!’ (I am fully aware this is not one hundred percent literal in all aspects of life! Haha!) You just have to put yourself out there, or how will you possibly move forward in your career? I always go with my gut on these things.
6. What’s next for you? Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
My current plan is to just keep progressing as a tech and really perfect all my skills, do some more session work, whilst expanding my own client base on the side, build my portfolio, start my blog and maybe start an event company at some point. That’s the plan for now, but I’m very much open to the possibility of things changing, as so far that seems to be the case in this industry – you never know what’s around the corner or what can find you, even when you’re not looking! So many things have found me, which makes the possibilities of what could come up next, really exciting!
7. Have you ever taken a massive gamble? Did it pay off? If not, what did you learn from it?
Becoming a freelance nail technician has been a massive gamble to be honest! I left career in HR with a regular pay check, to work for myself and it has literally been the best thing I’ve done! I’ve trusted my gut, believed in myself, pushed myself out of my comfort zone and worked hard and so far, that strategy has been working! It’s taught me to be brave and not to settle. I don’t think after this, I could ever settle again, in any aspect of my life!!
8. If you weren't a nail tech/beauty pro, what would you be doing?
Well, most likely HR, if I had just stayed and settled! I’m very creative, so this is a much better fit and I never thought I would ever get to say ‘I love my job,’ but I really do! Especially being freelance, every day is different and I feel a sense of freedom I could never get working for someone else in an office! I thought structure gave me security but in reality it was stifling! Working for yourself makes you take responsibility too and grow up a bit!
9. What’s the most common misconception/myths/old wives’ tale you come across?
There are three things that spring to mind! Firstly, Gel/Shellac ruin your nails – no they don’t, incorrect application or removal does, picking it off, being the major culprit, so generally is the client that has ‘ruined’ their nails, not the product! When I tell them they are actually peeling a layer of their own nail off with the product, they are genuinely shocked!!
The second; ‘nails need to breathe,’ or you ‘need to take a break.’ Nails do not have lungs and unless they are really damaged and could do with a bit of TLC first, they don’t need a break from Gel/Shellac.
Third; Gel polish and Shellac are one and the same. No they are not, they are two different products! Different formula, different prep, different removal and different expected wear time! I describe it as, ‘same concept, different product.’
10 Tell us one surprising fact about your self
Errrm, maybe my age? I’m almost thirty-six and everyone always thinks I’m in my early twenties! I’ll take that, thanks!