Blogger Spotlight - Originail Kolors
Nothing is more gratifying than learning that our products help people through hard times. And that’s exactly what it did for the owner of the nail art blog Originail Kolors, Karla. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in late 2010 and after suffering from anxiety, depression and stress, was forced to leave college. With nothing to do, and a fear that her friends wouldn’t understand what she was going through, she focused her time on polishing her nails. Now nine months after her diagnosis, she’s found her life passion-creating unique designs unfathomable by many of us.
Karla stopped by the Nicole by OPI office recently for a facility tour and awed us with her sweet personality and nail art skills. She spoke candidly about nail lacquers role in her recovery and gave three Nicole gals memorable manis. See what she had to say and the designs we rocked all that week below.
How did you get into doing nails?
I’ve always been passionate about nail art, but I didn’t have good polishes to work with until high school. I worked for my school paper and we would be in class all day. I would stare at my nails and they weren’t polished. It drove me crazy, so I started doing my nails. After I started college, things got hectic. I got really sick in June of last year and had to quit school. Before I quit I met this woman who told me her mom was moving and had a bunch of nail polish that she couldn’t take with her. She asked if I wanted them and I said sure. She gave them all to me-70 or 80 bottles of OPI. I had surgery November 5th for my thyroidectomy and it was discovered that I had cancer. At night, to ease my anxiety and depression, I just started to do my nails. As I was doing them, it would take me to a completely different world. I would forget what I was doing and I would just concentrate on the art. That is how I started.
Were you just polishing your nails before?
Yeah. Sometimes I was doing simple flowers, but that was it. With the Harry Potter nails I did I was like, I really have to make something cool out of this. It took me three days to do his face. It was my first design. Once I did it though, I thought that I really needed to start doing more of this.
Do you always do designs now or do you ever have a single color of lacquer on your nails?
I always do designs. I can’t stand just having my nails polished a single color. It’s just crazy. I have to do a flower or a dot or something.
You have 3D art on your nails right now, how did you figure out how to do that?
I’ve been researching a lot about how to do nails. That’s how I started my blog. I had a blog for my every day life, kind of about my illness, and then I wanted to separate my illness from the nail art. I didn’t want people to just see me as a cancer patient, but better yet a nail artist. I did explain on my nail blog that I had cancer, but that wasn’t the focus. I started my nail blog in January. I started posting pictures after the OPI holiday contest.
You just researched 3D art and taught yourself then?
I kept researching it and the Japanese have this great 3D art. I saw online that they sold molds where you just do the acrylics and then pop out the molds. I bought stuff on eBay, but I didn’t have the brush. I’m not an expert, as I said, and I couldn’t get it to work right. My mom took me to this salon downtown and this girl told me what brushes to use. I just started doing these last week and it worked out well. I did them on press-on nails and then put them on.
What do you enjoy most about doing nail art?
I love the self-expression and having art on my nails. I love when people tell me they love my nails. It’s very calming to me and I love seeing my hard work.
How often do you polish your nails?
Now, I probably paint them every other day. I have so many polishes, I have to or they won’t get used.
We completely understand that. I think there are people who have lacquers they haven’t even tried yet.
Absolutely. I think I have some of those. I seriously spend 30 minutes trying to figure out what colors to use. That’s why I have to have an idea of what design to do before starting, because if not I’ll stand there forever.
You want to go to school to become a nail tech, right? Are you currently enrolled?
I plan to enroll by end of August. There is a waiting list. If I get in I would start in September.
Do you want to focus on doing nail for a living?
I do. I want to make a career of this. I want to concentrate on nail art. It would be great to work with an agency that works with celebrities and do their nails or something like that.
Have you done designs on other people?
Yes, I started doing them because a friend asked if I would do her nails. I wasn’t confident to say yes at first. She said she would pay me anything and really pushed, so I said ok. I was so nervous, but after that everyone kept asking me to do their nails.
When you tried to start doing your nails, was it hard to do designs on your right hand?
It was extremely hard. Because of my illness I was going through a lot of hormonal changes-it affects my sight and coordination. It’s hard to do something when the coordination of my hands is off. Now I manage to do it. Sometimes I’ll just do one hand and the other hand something simple. It’s really hard. The only things I’ve become an expert at doing on my right hand are roses. I can almost do those better than on my left hand.
Where are you today with thyroid cancer?
It’s very strange. I got my entire thyroid removed. That affected my mood swings, my metabolism, and my hormones. It’s a very important body part. I can’t sleep often, I get dizzy, and I get headaches. It changed my lifestyle. I just have to try though. I don’t know if I am in remission yet, but now it’s just living with everything. It’s just been hard adjusting. But like I said, nail lacquer and my art have helped tremendously.
It’s great that you have this force in your life that is helping and you are very good at it. What is your favorite nail design so far?
My birthday one I did last year. I did a self-portrait; and then a birthday cake, some balloons and a party hat. I think that’s my favorite one.
How did you decide that you wanted to start doing the different countries theme seen on your blog now?
I have friends who travel a lot and they travel all over the world. I love learning about other cultures - the traditions and holidays. So my friend was talking about Israel and I decided I was going to challenge myself, I would research countries and then do a nail design on each. I said I would do it for a month, but I think I’m going to extend it. I’m going to continue to do it whenever I can so I can learn about new countries.
For other designs that aren’t country-focused, how are you coming up with those ideas? Such as the cupcake ones you did awhile back.
My friend wanted cupcakes and I had never done them before. It was her birthday, so I gave it a try. I just did Edgar Allen Poe nails. There was a screening of the movie coming up and it just inspired me to try to do nails themed after the film. If I am going to go to the beach or movies, I’ll just come up with a theme to match.
Do you usually stick with cream finishes or do you use glitters and shimmers?
I will use glitters every once in awhile. I mainly stick to creams though. If I’m doing something youthful and flirtatious, like my flower nails now, I will do glitters.
Have you used Nicole colors to do your designs?
I love the colors from the One Less Lonely Girl collection. I especially like My Lifesaver. I have about 60 Nicole by OPI bottles. I love the colors and I love the Target Exclusives. My favorites are definitely My Lifesaver and Nicole’s Nickel.
What types of tools do you use?
Actually, my only tool is a dotting tool. I have brushes, but I’ve never used them.
Even if you are drawing faces or something you only use a dotting tool?
Yep, that’s it. The other side is a fine tip.
Do you polish your nails a solid color first and then start the design? How thick is the polish on the nails?
I do a base color, let it dry and then after 10 minutes I begin the design. You can’t have it too thick because then you will get creases or dents in it. I have used acrylic craft paints, because it dries fast and it’s thinner.
What advice would you give someone who wants to do nail art?
Just don’t be shy. Just go for it. If you think you have a clear picture in your mind of what you want to do, you’ll be able to do it. It’s just takes a lot of practice. Practice, practice, practice. You will get something in the end. Never give up.
You’ve spent the last nine months working on nail art and growing your skill, what is the overall role nail lacquer plays in your life?
It has played an extremely important role. It is probably one of the most important things in my life right now. My room kind of revolves around my nail lacquer. Not only has it helped me figure out what I want to do in life, for a career, but it also has helped me emotionally. There are days when I am really stressed and I just look at my bottles-they make me happy.
For more about Karla and to see the incredible designs mentioned here and more head to her site, Originail Kolors.