Meet Isis Nicole: arbiter of nail culture, former journalism major turned tumblr tastemaker, and all around badass. As a co-editor of Tipsy Zine, Isis is all about sharing the latest news on the nail scene. She currently keeps nail artist Sophy Robson's NailPorn on point (nail pun intended) and was a major part of the production of Brass' NAILgasm documentary. THAT'S TOTALLY IN! is Isis’ latest creative endeavor. This coloring book + nail decal + sticker experience combines the best aspects of zine-making, craft, and childhood nostalgia. You can keep up with her interviews, projects and more isisnicole.com!
What attracted you to nail art?
Nail art is a fashion statement, so the endless amount of creativity definitely attracts me! And even more recently, I love all the stories of nail art to uncover, from the wearer to the designer. I'm a writer, so naturally coming across a cutting-edge artist, especially one who's down to be interviewed by me, sends me to heaven!
What’s your earliest nail art memory?
My legit earliest memory...like the moment I was like 'this is nail art' was seeing a silhouette of sex positions airbrushed onto this older lady. That really intrigued me as a kid. I was like, 'now this is some fly shit!' But no, really growing up, I would see my grandmother and her friends keep their nails done, and my mom would do nails around her campus as a side hustle. I've always noticed nails growing up in the black community, but the beauty industry as a whole has taken it to higher heights. I'm truly amazed at the progression of nails. It's like seeing a young girl blossom except in the form of french tips to leopard prints to manicure masterpieces all up at MoMa PS1. They grow up so fast!
Who or what are your biggest influences (people, places, music, ect.)?
I would have to say my mother first and foremost. She did an awesome job raising me, and I thank her for her support even when it ain't paying off Sallie Mae. She always reminds me that anything is possible, so I'm crazy enough to believe and receive it.
Were you drawn to coloring books as a kid?
I was! It started from those playful menus at restaurants, to realizing, 'oh man, you can get pages and pages of these!' I still can't draw a damn, but I do like to colour.
What drew you to the alternative medium of coloring books? What position do you think nail art takes as an alternative medium?
Hmmm, that's a good question. I needed to create something that represented myself immediately, and the colouring book and nail art decals was the most efficient and interactive way to do it on a tight deadline. Granted, I had already made a list of things to do, In! is an acronym for Isis Nicole, and the prelude to many more projects to come.
What was your experience like working with illustrator Sara M. Lyons on achieving your vision for THAT'S TOTALLY IN?
Sara straight up nailed it. She's a brilliant artist and I'm so honored to have worked together. She never said no, and did a fantastic job illustrating all of my fantasies. I am very proud of That's Totally In! and I plan to keep the series going and get it into shops that need that extra cute kick. So if anyone's interested and reading this please feel free to contact me!
I know you’ve been self-publishing interviews on tumblr for a while. What do you like about tumblr that makes it complimentary to the kind of writing you’re doing? Is there something about its structure that you feel different from other blogging tools?
I use Tumblr simply because it's easy and I can connect with other bloggers. Wordpress was way too formal for me, and I never had the patience for Blogspot. Lol! I wish I had a deeper answer, but that's the cut-and-dry truth.
THAT'S TOTALLY IN! was an extremely interactive experience where I felt I could participate in an activity with you and share my experience with readers online. Is that the intention you had when put the book together?
That's awesome! Yes! That's exactly what I intended, especially with the help of the hashtag tool. #THATSTOTALLYIN I get so excited when I see my book getting props, and people engaging with the book.
Your coloring book depicts images of you hanging out with some awesome folks.You include images with Madeline Poole and Disco Nail. What role does that sense community play when you write and create?
After some years on Tumblr, I think people have a good sense of who I am and what I'm into. The book is made up of captions rather than stories, that capture what I consider to be my coolest URL turned IRL moments. I basically connected with Madeline in her earlier days on Tumblr/Twitter, and I also connected with DISCO through Tumblr/Twitter as well. Everything in my book is based off a true story from the computer to across the world. I guess like a 101 on how-to-do-the-Internet-right in the form of pictures lol!
A lot of your readers know you from your work with Brass on NAILgasm. What’s something you took with you after that experience that informs what you’re doing today?
I truly admire how Ayla "Brass" Montgomery takes on her ideas at full force. I'm actually gonna be doing a giveaway with her soon. She's taught me a lot about marketing and how to make a project progress. Her curiosity and bravery inspires many people, including me. Since our trip to London something clicked and I haven't look back.
What can we expect from Isis Nicole in the next year?
Maybe apply to join Kati Elliott's girl band! Seriously though, there will definitely be more writing in the magazine world that's for sure. I can't speak too much on it just yet, but just know that it's coming. I'd also like to do more directing, and traveling. I'm ambitious, I work hard, I want independence, I want love, I go through dark days, I get confused, but I'm always pushing forward and doing what I can with what I have to get to the next level. LOL, who gon' check me boo?!
No one could ever check you, boo.