INTERVIEW with GINA EDWARDS
Agency: Kate Ryan Inc.
Written by Walter Grio. Photos provided by Kate Ryan, Inc.
Gina Edwards is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
As one of the most sought-after manicurist in the industry, Edwards can be found backstage at several back to back shows during New York Fashion Week. As she hustles from one place to the next, she’s still as upbeat and friendly as if it was her first show. I even saw her backstage at 7am before Carolina Herrera’s runway show as she was painting the nails of Karlie Kloss and Edwards always had a smile on her face. You can tell that she truly loves her job.
In the fashion world, it’s sometimes difficult to find people who are genuine and down to earth. And even though the average person might think it’s a glamorous job to be in fashion, it really takes dedication and passion to succeed. Between the long hours and the demanding clients and the pressure to deliver, it’s easy to get cynical. But none of those things faze Edwards. She enjoys it. She thrives in it. And the celebrities, the designers, and the top commercial fashion magazines love her.
It’s refreshing to see someone who’s at the top of their field — and yet still remain humble. And we look forward to seeing her at more backstage shows in years to come!
When did you know you wanted to be a manicurist?
As a kid, I was fascinated with my Aunt’s nails which were always painted red and they were quite long. She used press on nails at home and I remember saving my allowance to purchase false nails. I loved the glamour, but as a preteen it wasn’t exactly functional. It started from that point.
What was your first big “break” and how long did it take to get there?
I was working on location at a spa company and I was referred to a well known manicurist who was looking for an assistant manicurist to help on shoots. I believe my direction changed at that point.
What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?
My favorite part of my job is rotating my work location — meeting new people and reconnecting with other artists. I love the technical part, detail to each job, and as a creative team making something beautiful for the world to see. The flip side to this industry is brutal on your personal life due to 12-18 hour days. It’s hard to find a balance, but I wouldn’t trade it. There’s always a price to pay, however, if you love your trade it becomes fulfilling. You catch up on your sleep at some point!
What is it like as you get ready for New York Fashion Week?
The first steps are securing a brand to sponsor you for shows. Once I get my rundown my agent and PR team preps me for scheduling tests, where I meet the designer to go over their new collection and talk about a nail look. After the nail look is confirmed by designer my awesome nail team and I start working on nail prep. This will be my second season working with Morgan Taylor Lacquer.
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in the fashion industry?
As a newbie, I always recommend patience. Pace yourself, listen and learn from others, and create and define yourself as a brand. Be prepared for anything!
Is there a particular story that stands out for you?
I have been blessed to have met many talented artists and one who stands out is Lady Gaga. She was rehearsing for a performance in her dressing room playing piano. Hearing her voice raw was a chilling experience. Quite special. I manicured her nails that evening.
What inspires you to do what you do and what inspires you to keep doing it?
The constant change in the nail industry with new products and seeing new fabrics/textures in fashion motivate me. I get excited like a kid seeing the last cookie in the jar — you run for it!