What comes to mind when you think of your first manicure? Do you recall the smell of acetone lingering in the air, or that risky, wet-handed walk out of the salon? Celeb manicurist Gracie J knows exactly what prompted her lifelong passion for nails: the color wall.
"My mom used to get mad because I'd get into her polish stash all the time," she says. Fast forward to 2017 and the tables have turned: she has her own collection and a passion that landed her a dream job as the lead manicurist on TNT's new show Claws, a scripted series about five nail artists-slash-criminals that also subtly fight for equal pay and gender expression.
Of course, that same tenacity is something that Gracie had to inherit in order to get where she is now. "My family is from a Caribbean background, and Haitian parents think that anything that you do that has to do with beauty is for boys," she says. "My mom thought I wanted to do nails because there was a boy that I was trying to impress, but I just liked [doing my nails]!"
Read on to hear more about how Gracie clawed her way to the top.
Reporting by Sesali Bowen.