GETTING TO KNOW: CND Education Ambassador Heather Davis


Early this spring, at our May cover shoot, I had the pleasure of meeting CND Education Ambassador Heather Davis who was on set ensuring that all of the models for the cover shot and feature Rock Solid had gorgeous nails!


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At the shoot, and a few weeks later, Heather shared with me her story of how she got to where she is today. She also shared so much more from her favorite designs and creations—Heather is responsible for the super hot, graffiti-inspired nails seen at the Creatures of the Wind Fall/Winter 2013 show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week— to advice for aspiring nail technicians wanting to do the nails for editorial shoots and runway looks.

Read ahead to learn more about Heather.

—Jolene Turner, Senior Editor, American Salon

Heather's nail statsh on set for the cover shoot of American Salon, May 2013

JT: What is your favorite nail polish color and/or design?

HD: I'm a little bit classic in the nail department; I favor creamy shades. For design style, I prefer just one statement nail, usually on my pointer finger. It can be subtle, or contrast the rest of my manicure dramatically – it just depends on my mood. When I am working events, my nails tend to be a little louder, with foils, glitter, prints and various colors.

JT: Do you do your own nails? How often?

HD: I am the only person who ever does my nails. I feel strongly that I am my own best advertising, and that I should practice what I preach! Wearing a beautifully executed manicure is imperative at all times and I am rarely seen without one. I don't like to see nail grow-out, so I do them approximately every 10 days.

JT: Why did you decide to work in the beauty industry?

HD: It was something I seemed to have a knack for and it was flexible for college (and auditions. I was once a wannabe musical theater actress!). It took a while, but I found my passion for fashion forward nail style with CND a few years ago and have never looked back.

JT: How did you wind up in the position you are today working on editorial shoots and creating runway fashion looks for nails?

HD: I think it's a combination of diligence and artistic ability. I became an Education Ambassador for CND in 2009 and was in LOVE with their fashion week team and what they did for nails at the highest level of STYLE. Opportunities arose to produce templates for different events, including New York Fashion Week, and I made sure to produce nail styles for every one of them. I eventually got a shot at working my first Fashion Week in February 2011, and it has just taken off from there! Photo shoots followed, and then finally I created looks used at four shows for Fashion Week in September. I am fortunate to have worked consistently as a part of the CND team, and have now created looks used in CND marketing campaigns and photo shoots for trade magazines. I also had the opportunity to create nail designs for Fashion Week again this past February. I feel so incredibly grateful that what I wanted to do also happened to be my niche – it doesn't often work out that way!

JT: What has been your favorite nail design you’ve created and why?

HD: That’s such a tough question!  Nearly every style created is the cause of great excitement and anxiety, analyzing every detail to make sure it's just right for the needs presented.  They are all my babies!  I have a special soft spot for the looks we created for Diego Binetti though. His was the first show I designed pieces for in 2011, and then the first show I keyed in New York. If I had to pick a favorite, I think I'd have to choose the Peacock Plume for Norman Ambrose for Spring/Summer 2013. It was very art deco, and looked beautiful with the clothing. It's something a "classic" girl like me will even wear when I'm feeling feisty because the design isn't overbearing or too flashy.

Peacock Plume for Norman Ambrose Spring 2013 Presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

JT: What piece of advice would you give aspiring nail techs looking to break into editorial work for shoots or runways looks?

HD: There are different routes to take. Mine led me to CND, and they have guided me to every job I've had the good fortune of landing. If I weren't supported by them? I would say build a portfolio, find an agent, and make friends with session pros (makeup artists, hairstylists, stylists) that can recommend your work for other jobs. It's necessary for freelance editorial manicurists to live in or around a major city like New York or L.A., especially if you want full-time work available to you. Patience is key, and if you have grace, humility, a sense of humor and a sprinkle of talent, your patience and hard work will pay off.  Never walk onto a set with an attitude of anything other than an appreciation of having the job itself. Be flexible, be prepared for anything and be considerate of everyone on set. That alone can create a reputation for being easy to work with and get you called for jobs.

JT: What would be your dream nail project and what would you create for that project? 

HD: A nails-focused spread for Vogue. All editorial with nails at the forefront, and clothing and jewelry as the accessories. Somebody want to ask Anna Wintour for me? And maybe the whipped cream and cherry on top could be a visit to the Vogue closet to peruse shoes.