Manicurist Geraldine Holford remembers the ‘client’ who helped turn a bad habit into a burgeoning career.

Meghan Collison photographed by An Le for Numéro Russia April 2015, manicure by Geraldine Holford

As a kid, I was a chronic nail biter.

It was my biggest problem, but I was quite obsessed with becoming a manicurist. My mother was beautiful, and very well-groomed — she always had her nails done. When I was younger, she’d pay me to paint them so that I could have extra money.

So, in a way, I was sort of self-taught.

An image from SK-II Asia’s F/W ‘14 campaign photographed by Jordan Doner, manicure by Geraldine Holford

I would watch CNN’s Style with Elsa Klensch, wanting to be backstage at all the fashion shows like [makeup artist] Diane Kendall, [hairstylist] Eugene Souleiman, and [manicurist] Sheril Bailey, whose names I would always see in Vogue.

Sheril was [one of] the first editorial manicurists; I recently saw her at Milk Studios while I was on set working, and after 15 years of doing nails — I’ve keyed shows for Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger, and Proenza Schouler — I was still too nervous to say hello!

— as told to The Thick

Did you see? Makeup artist Kristin Gallegos gets her tan on with Michael Kors, Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan takes The Thick Questionnaire.


David Smith photographed by Robbie Fimmano for Interview September 2010, manicure by Sheril Bailey