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Nail Artist Q&A: "Nailed Down!" with Victoria-Lys Hunter!
Welcome to NAILPRO's Nailed Down! where we “nail down” nail artists and technicians from our User Galleries and get to know them and their amazing work!
This week we visit Cornwall, Ontario, Canada!
Meet Victoria-Lys Hunter:
Where do you work?
I am a booth-renter at Bianca’s Salon. However we are not typical booth renters. We all work as a team contributing to the décor of the newly opened salon, to advertising, to special promotions, etc. We realize that if one succeeds, we ALL succeed and so we all work to that end, helping each other.
How would you describe yourself?
Motivated and determined to reach my goals and be the best that I can be. Don't tell me that I can't, because I WILL. I'm referred to as the "crazy nail tech" by my colleagues, and my friends think I'm a tad out of the ordinary, so I suppose I am. I like to think outside the box and not be constrained by rules that aren't written in blood. I shoot straight from the hip, and speak honestly even if my opinion is unpopular.
How did you get started in the nail industry?
I started as a nail biter who wanted to break the habit more than 20 years ago. At the time, I was a hairdresser. Over time, I couldn't continue as a hairdresser because of my arthritic knees, and kept on doing nails for myself and friends on the side. Recent years, my husband and I chose to raise our children the old fashioned way, so I stayed home (glad to be free of office administration which I DETESTED. Suits and politics are not my thing). However, having been independent since the age of 16, I couldn't bring myself to rely 100% on my husband even for pin money for the coffee shop. It didn't sit well. My girlfriends encouraged me to do nails full time. So I updated my knowledge and took a few more classes.
Then I discovered www.salongeek.com (back then, known as nailgeek. com) and met the people who shaped my career and made me who I am today. You see, Quebec and most of Canada is NOT legislated. There are no foundation classes, no legislation, no licensing. Most courses are 2-3 days at best. So my peers (many of whom are now dear friends) on salongeek pointed me in the direction of real education such as Miladys' Standard Nail Technology, Dough Schoon, Gigi Rouse and Mariam Newman and soooo many more people and resources. Salongeek was my school since the classes in Quebec were sadly lacking. I'm ever thankful to all of them.
As recently as October 2013, I moved from Quebec/Canada to Ontario/Canada and have had to start over again and rebuild a new clientel. It's a challenge to be sure. But this time, I know what I didn't know the first time around. I'm confident things will go well, and they are off to a very good start.
What/Who inspires your work?
The inspiration is endless. I'm inspired by my peers and mentors, I'm always striving for the next level of skill. But the one that I remember most is Liliya Seredetskaya. I found her website one day. WOW… her beautiful work inspired me to learn acrylic (I was a uv-gel tech) and 3D art excited me! Then the lovely Gemma Lambert. Since then, I've had the pleasure of meeting and taking a course with Viv Simmonds and Catherine Wong whose ART (yes, I said "art," not "nails") is breathtaking. There are many more I could add to the list. But those are the very first.
Other inspirations include daily life and the things I see. Ideas put forth by clients. Sometimes it's sheer determination to be DIFFERENT. I do NOT want to do what everyone else is doing. I don't want to be a face lost in the crowd.
For a Culture Comp hosted by the Nail Team, I didn't want to do what I suspected most would do (which would be to base my art on flags and such), so I chose to use American Native Culture as my inspiration for one submission. I used a male model who was from the Khanawake Reserve next to my home town, and did his nails to represent arrows for hunting. I didn't want his nails "pretty," so I didn't make them pretty. I wanted them to be "real." My other submission was based on Canada and everyone knows Canadians love their hockey. My model was a female goalie (and she was indeed a Goalie) and we did Canadian colored stilettos holding acrylic-crafted hockey sticks playing hockey on a miniature ice rink that I made. The judges didn't understand my entries. That's okay. I'm proud of what I did.
Are there any tools you can't live without?
Oh wow… That's a loaded question. I guess it comes down to brushes. Without the right brushes, creating anything is a nightmare. I won't say which ones because it doesn't matter. Every tech has their preferences. It also depends on what exactly I'm doing. But it’s all about the brushes.
What is your favorite technique/style?
My favorite style as of right now are the stiletto, or almond shape nails. I'm way in love with this shape right now. There's just something so sexy about them.
What is your craziest/funniest nail story?
Oh, dear…… I could go on for HOURS.
What tip can you offer other nail technicians?
The best advice I can give is to "EMBRACE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM." And I do mean embrace it. Ask for it, and LEARN from it. When I joined salongeek, I took a smack on the nose like an errant puppy several times. But I grinned and bore it, and opened my ears and eyes and learned. I didn't run with my tail between my legs. Some do, they don't take it very well. So they run off, and are no further ahead now than they were ten years ago. It's hard, it's not easy to take criticism. But if you look at it as a learning opportunity to IMPROVE instead of taking offense, or being defensive; then you can only rise upwards.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Recently, Jim and Linda Nordstrom honored me by inviting me to join Famous Names Products as a member of their team. They welcomed me to join them at ABS in Chicago where I had the pleasure of meeting them and MANY of my respected peers and mentors. I look forward with great anticipation to see where this journey will take me. They are warm and inspiring people, and I'm thankful for the opportunity that they have given me.
Soon I intend to offer education, and hope to make a difference in this Industry by giving aspiring junior techs the foundation that they need to build a solid career.
I've been fighting for change in Canada for some time. I established a group named CATANSS on Facebook for that very purpose. I have also appeared on CTV News regards dangerous salons CTV NEWS STORY and I was a guest on K103 Radio for an hour long interview on the same subject K103 INTERVIEW
You can find Victoria-Lys Hunter on the web:
In the NAILPRO User Gallery: Nails by Ongles Chez Victoria
Facebook: Ongles Chez Victoria
Facebook Group: Consumers And Techs Against Non Standard Salons
Pinterest: Ongles Chez Victoria
Website (in English or French): www.ongleschezvictoria.ca
Facebook for Bianca's Salon: Bianca's Salon
Website for Bianca's Salon: Bianca's Salon
Would you like to be featured in NAILED DOWN? Post images of your nail art to our User Gallery. We'll be highlighting outstanding artists based on those submissions! (minimum six pictures to qualify for consideration) NAILPRO reserves the right to edit submissions for length, grammar and clarity.