5 things we learned from Kimmie Kyees, the woman behind Rihanna, Katy and Adele’s nails

See Kimmie Kyees’ best celebrity manicures »

When you get a call to interview the hands that touch Rihanna’s hands, you don’t walk, you RUN to take the first open slot. Actually, first you should run to take the first open slot at your nail salon so you don’t show up with embarrassing, busted nails like I did, but you live and you learn. This week, I had the pleasure of speaking to Kimmie Kyees, manicurist to the stars, who was in town to celebrate the launch of Quo by ORLY‘s Holiday collection. Kyees has been doing nails of the regular human variety for twenty years, and celebrity nails for about ten. Her first big name was none other than RiRi, who is still the client she works and travels with most (duh, have you seen those nails?) but these days Kyees also works with Katy Perry, Adele, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and the list goes on and on.

So what did I learn from Kimmie Kyees—aside from the fact that she’s probably the best dinner guest thanks to her insane celeb stories? Well, she moved to LA in her 20s and after working in a couple of salons (like at the Beverly Hills Hotel), she transitioned into the world of mobile spas—spa services that send the technicians to hotel rooms—which is how she got in with the Hollywood crowd. What makes her so successful is a delightful combination of tireless patience and attention to detail, and a good ol’, heaping serving of YOLO. Her advice to anyone wanting to experiment with nail art? Just try it and if it sucks, take it off. Oh and she recommends watching a ton of YouTube videos to learn techniques and tricks. That’s it! Now that’s some beauty advice we can get behind.

And for no reason whatsoever other than because they’re great, here are some of my favourite celeb tidbits I walked away with:

1. Kyees was with Rihanna the first time she was ever sent real diamonds for a magazine shoot. It was the day after Umbrella came out, and Rih freaked. 

2. Jessie J was once approached by her team and told there were three manicurist options available to her: classic, high fashion, and “ghetto.” Jessie chose the latter and much to Kyees’ surprise, they meant her.

3. Adele puts on fake nails for hours at a time and then has them removed before heading home so she can change her son’s diapers.

4.  Kyees most frustrating experience? Paris Hilton falling asleep mid-mani and waking up every few minutes to rub her eyes with the back of her hand, obviously ruining Kyees’ work and getting nail polish all over her face…several. times.

5. In case you were wondering, no, Rihanna never gives Kyees any warning before adding to her ever-expanding hand tattoos. Kyees finds out when we do. She was secretly terrified when Rih tattooed “Thug Life” on her knuckles because she assumed it would be the end of high fashion shoots (which was clearly not the case).

Take a look at some of Kimmie Kyees’ incredible work below.

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