Creativity has always come naturally for Japanese-born nail artist, Naomi Misu. Developing a love for nail art in high school, she decided to venture on the career path of web designer after graduating from college. It wasn’t until she moved to Canada in 2006 that she decided to make the switch. “I wanted to do something new and exciting to enjoy this new chapter of my life,” she recalls.
Learning by Example
As part of the Toronto-based Tips Nail Bar team for six years, it was owner Leeanne Colley who first inspired Misu to continue growing her skillset. “I remember flipping through some Canadian magazines and saw a beauty story with stunning nail images [by Colley]. Her work absolutely helped me to set my mind on pursuing this career.”
For Misu’s Contessa collection, she was inspired by optical illusion. “My theme was ‘Glam Meets Junk,’ so I wanted the collection to be gorgeous with a bit of an edgy feel to it,” she explains. “I wanted to play with more linear designs and I think it worked well with the theme. To me, it’s more challenging to create geometric lines evenly into shapes without them looking deformed. I just carefully drew the lines with a thin striping brush. I pushed myself with these fine details—I wanted them to be perfect.”
Going the Distance
Misu, who is a past Contessa winner, continues to find enjoyment from competing. “What I love the most is that I get to be my own art and creative director,” she says. “Creating nail art is one thing but when I see the creative team working together and my vision coming to life, it’s such a great feeling.”
“[Winning] was definitely one of the best things that has happened in my career thus far. The experience gave me so much more confidence in my craft. I still believe that I have a lot more room to improve as a nail technician, and I love learning new things.”
Misu shares a passion for competing with Tips colleagues Nargis Khan and Shirley Truong, both of whom are also past Contessa winners. “This is definitely something that brings us closer together,” says Misu. “It’s an extremely huge project to enter the Contessa Awards, so the fact that you can do this with your friends makes it so much easier. People often ask if we feel like we are competing against each other like rivals, but it isn’t that way at all. We compete together.”