It's difficult to recall a time before "'Euphoria' makeup," and harder still to think of a TV show (or movie, for that matter) that has made such an immediate, indelible and lasting impact on beauty and trends. It's not a huge surprise, really. The hit HBO show took bits and pieces of trends that were just starting to find a grassroots foothold in beauty — bright colors, graphic lines, iconic references, and of course, gems — and combined them in a way that has resonated with audiences and the beauty industry at large.
The show's signature beauty looks are far from limited to the intricate, bedazzled makeup (by makeup artist Donni Davy) on actor's faces, though. While they're perhaps less talked about, the nail art on the show is just as bright, glittery and detailed as the makeup looks.
In the last 10 years, we've seen nail art come and, well, never really go out of style. Rather, it seems to evolve over time, as all trends do. For its part, "Euphoria" has demonstrated how nail art can not only complement makeup, but also help take a whole beauty look to the next level for maximum impact.
To delve into the thought process and technique that goes into creating each "Euphoria" character's nail looks, we turned to Natalie Minerva, head nail artist on the show. Ahead, Minerva discusses how nails play into the show, where she draws her inspiration and the future of nail art. Read on for the highlights of our conversation.
"'Euphoria' makeup" has its own specific look. Do "'Euphoria' nails" also have a specific, identifiable style?
Yes, there is a certain look and I was cognizant of making the nails feel like a collection in that sense. The nails feel very current and fresh, yet individualized for each character. I was trying to incorporate designs that felt on par with trends but weren't exact copycats of trendy nails, if that makes sense. I'm always aiming for new takes on art when I'm designing while keeping in mind what's popular in nails at the time.
Where do you get your inspiration for the nail looks on the show?
We really pulled a lot of different concepts. The first thing we think of is what the character is wearing. It's important to me that the nails live in harmony with the clothing. We also think outside the box concept-wise by pulling patterns from different eras or being inspired by nature. There's so much outside of nails that can inspire really interesting nail designs.
How do you approach doing nails for video (especially film) versus a photoshoot or a portrait?
I have a rule when it comes to film, and I've applied this not only on 'Euphoria' but in all of the music videos I work on. It's critical to go with either bold patterns or flashy designs on film, because if the nail design is too detailed, you can't even tell what's going on.
Larger prints, or lots of diamonds and iridescence, just show up much better on camera. If I do a photoshoot and I know it's beauty focused, then I can do nail art with more detail. Doing ornate, tiny art on nails is so fun to do, and personally I love it and even prefer that challenge when it comes to creating new nail art, but not all projects call for that.
Did you approach nails for "Euphoria" differently than other projects you had in the past?
In certain ways, yes. I think as a general rule, my main focus is: Who am I doing this for? What makes this person tick? What is their personal style? What will make them smile? So when it came to Euphoria, I had to look at the characters as real people in my mind.
The difference is all of the outside factors when it comes to shooting TV: What kind of scene will these nails be in? Does this scene have a lot of action? Is there a possibility of wardrobe changing? I think what also made this different was that we have sometimes three to five people all in talks together about our nail looks, and we're all making these decisions together. Usually on projects, I'm shown inspiration boards and I make those decisions solo, or maybe sometimes the artist I'm working with will be involved. This project had many creatives collaborating.
Are the nails done to match the outfits and makeup? Are they inspired by what's happening in the scene or episode?
I would actually say that both influence the nails. I was told many times, 'Okay, this is what is happening with so-and-so in this episode. How can we emphasize this with the nails?' Then on top of that, I would be given outfits for that scene and simultaneously the actor would have some say on what they feel the character would be wearing. It's really fun because you really get into the psyche of that character, which is really different for me as a nail artist.
Have TikTok and Instagram had an effect on current nail art trends? Do you think those platforms have helped put nail art back on the map for a younger generation?
Most certainly, yes. Both platforms are very visual apps, and nail art is such a visual hobby. The pairing goes beautifully with each other. Instagram and TikTok have pushed nail art to biblical proportions in terms of popularity.
When I first started posting nail art on Instagram, the hashtag for nail art had 14,000 posts. Now it has 101 million posts. It's been exponential and it's wild to see.
I feel like we're perpetually hearing that "nail art is dead," but nail art never went anywhere and continues to thrive. How is "Euphoria" bringing nail art into a new generation?
I don't think nail art ever really went away, but rather ebbs and flows in terms of its complexity. Just like any trend, we see things escalate with color or pattern, then eventually tone down. It's constantly shifting.
'Euphoria' has been, and I think will continue be, an influential show because of the way in which is uses beauty to tell a story. You feel involved as the viewer, and I think that inspires people.
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