Big on Nails? You Have to Follow Gracie J

Gracie J is on top of her game when it comes to nail art. A trailblazer in the nail industry, she’s gained popularity thanks to her over-the-top nail art that includes textural and 3D designs, blurring the line between manicure and art.

A trained nail tech and self-taught artist currently based in NYC, J is most noted for her work as former Lead Nail Stylist for TNT’s critically-acclaimed television series CLAWS, which premiered back in 2018. But naturally, her relationship with both nails and art began much earlier. In fact, according to J, she’s been doing her nails since the age of 13.

“My mom is a very flashy person; she always had her nails done,” she recalled in an interview with Coveteur. “If we’re going to a simple BBQ, she’ll wear a gypsy skirt and shirt with chains—she’s the flashy Haitian mom.

“I also went to school in Haiti for a little while when I was younger, and they would line you up and check your hygiene, including your nails. They would send you home if it wasn’t up to par.”

According to J, she would also do her sister’s and my mom’s nails. “I wanted to do anyone and everyone’s nails,” she admits. “Now nails with smiley faces are trending, but I did that when I was a teen. And did a pretty bomb job.”

These early experiences also taught J the benefits of carving her own path for herself. According to J, she decided to pursue a path of entrepreneurship because she doesn’t like to be boxed in and wanted to be creative and successful on her own terms.

And as for inspiration? She tends to find plenty of it. “I derive inspiration from other places, from all kinds of artists, like jewelry designers,” she notes. “But sometimes I just have an idea that pops in my head.”