Talking to the Nail Artist Creating Weed Manicures That Actually Smoke

So far, she's paid homage to Snoop Dogg and Jimi Hendrix in nail art form.
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Weird Beauty Shit goes viral on the internet all the time, and it's gotten to a point where something has to be really, truly, groundbreakingly insane for it to go viral. The latest example? Smoking nail art. No, I don't mean "smoking" as a synonym for "cool" or however Jim Carrey meant it in "The Mask" — I mean, quite literally, nail art that smokes.

Nail artist Traceylee celebrated 4/20 by posting her on-theme creation — specifically, a tiny sketch of Snoop Dogg with a giant (lit!) blunt protruding off the surface of the nail, and people went crazy for it. The video clip, which now has more than 5.7 million views, even caught Snoop's attention. He re-posted it to his own Instagram account with the simple, approving caption: "Smoke".

Traceylee has also used the technique in a Jimi Hendrix-themed manicure:

An editorial nail pro who has worked on plenty of celebrity shoots and campaigns, as well as backstage at runway shows, Traceylee regularly experiments with creative, often multimedia-heavy manicures (including, yes, chain link nails). She jumped on the phone for a brief chat with Fashionista about how her viral weed nail art came to be.

Where did you get the idea for this, and how did it come about?

I've had a slight obsession with Snoop Dogg, ever since he first came out onto the scene, I just think he's cool. This idea was for a personal video project I'm working on; it's something that hasn't happened yet. But I created Snoop Dogg and Jimi Hendrix at the same time. With the 4/20 holiday, I was going to do a weed nail — embed it in acrylic or something like that — but with my schedule I couldn't work it out... I couldn't get the weed [laughs]. Then I remembered about this Snoop nail I'd already created, and I was like, I'm going to put this up [on Instagram].

What was the process for creating the Snoop nail?

I basically just found an image of him on Google. Ever since I was young, I've had this ability where I can re-create any image on a piece of paper. On a nail it takes me a little longer to get the scale right, so from concept to finish it probably took about eight hours. I sketched it out in pencil first on the nail, and then I used a fine-tipped marker instead of polish. I sprayed it with a polyurethane first, then topped it with a high-shine topcoat.

And then what about the actual blunt?

That was a little tricky; I created the blunt using typical rolling papers. I had to get the scale right; you have to think about how small that was. So it was really hard to get the circle to stay closed. I wound up using like hot glue gun to seal that closed just because it's so small. And then I just cut it to a smaller size and I used the hot glue gun to stick it to the nail.

In the video you posted it's actually smoking. Explain!

It's actually burning. I set up my camera and the lighting and everything. I got the music ready. I knew I wanted something from Snoop's first album, and I thought it was cool that I included his name in it. So I got it all ready and figured out the timing with the video and I just hit record. 

And then what was the response like?

I posted Jimi first, and it was doing okay. And the next thing I know Snoop was 300 likes, 500 likes, 3,000 likes. Everyone was like, "OMG, did you see this?" I was getting text messages. I think it hit like a million views within 24 hours.

Even Snoop himself re-posted. What was your reaction like when you saw that?

I was screaming. I was like, 'Oh my gosh!'

Maybe you'll do his nails sometime. He's known for being into nail art and French manicures and everything.

He's on my bucket list; I'm dying to do his nails. I work with so many celebrities, so it's not even a celebrity thing. I just think he's cool as hell. And I've loved him for 20-plus years. It's kind of one of those geeky fan moments. Maybe he'd fly me out there or hit me up when he's in New York.

I could also see Alexander Wang being super into this concept. It seems really on-brand for him.

Oh, I love Alex! I work with him all the time. Maybe I'll have to try that next, an Alexander Wang weed manicure.

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