She's Not Just a Manicurist - Master Medi Manicurist Athena Elliot
A few of the many attributes of Athena the Greek Goddess are: arts, industry, wisdom and skill and Athena Elliott. I’ve also had the pleasure of “meeting” Athena via Twitter another sweet and helpful fellow nail professional. I heart her! Get to know Athena bet you will too!
Athena: First let me say thank you so much for being interested in what I do and how I do it. Your blog/site is filled with informative and inspiring people... Thank You!
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It’s my pleasure Athena… Tell me how long have you been in the industry?
Athena: I have been a nail tech for 30 yrs now.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a nail technician?
Athena: When I was in the 9th grade. Then in the summer of 1980 between 10th&11th grade my parents signed for me to go to vocational beauty school!
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Other than the state required nail technology program did you receive any additional training before launching your career?
Athena: Well...I have been launching my career every day for the last 30 years! I am a leader by nature. Back then I was so ahead of my time. In fact I won the first nail competition using nail tips w two tone acrylic (pink and natural powders) out of 270 women I placed first. Awarded the Southwest title and a seat at the Nail Olympics in '86. Cont education is the key. You are only as good and successful as your learning curve. I have made many advances in my career. The one I am most proud of is becoming the countries first Medical Nail Technician.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and nail technicians specifically?
Athena: That all Asian salons are dirty and cheap. I have seen many many filthy nail techs/salons run by different ethnic groups including Caucasian. Disease and lack of sanitation knows no prejudice. The other is the misconception that "enhancements" ruin your natural nails. People these products are created for your nails! Uneducated techs, improper removal, not getting maintenance on time are all contributing to this idea that enhancements ruin your nails!! It's just no so.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for?
Athena: Aside from leading my industry with Advanced Nail Care I have been published in many medical journals for my Prosthetic Toenail Series and contributed to "Death By Pedicure, Dirty Secretes of Nail Salon"
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Minx is all the new rage but Celebs have been getting Minxed for some time now. How long have you been Minxing and what drew you to this cutting edge trend?
Athena: While Minx has been out for two years, I have been "minxtified" for a little over a year. Since I am a former "Nail Tech of the Year" recipient and contributing writer for Nails Mag I never miss the "new product" section. There was an ad for a new type of BLING that polish just couldn’t compare. I didn’t have a clientele for Minx. I learned and they just found me. That simple.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s a typical working day like for you?
Athena: In by 7:30 work non stop minxing, lots of doctor referred pedicures, sequin nails...orchestrating events and travel plans and generating several new ideas for marketing every hour! I have trained five satellite locations to Minx and I'm working on two more. Out by 7pm. That’s 5 days a week. The other two days I manage 3 websites and all my own marketing.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Okay I'm dizzy just trying to imagine all of that. It seems that every up and coming beauty pro wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?
Athena: Move to LA! lol no not really but dang living in LA or NY sure makes for more work than living in a place as wonderfully behind in fashion as Houston! HA! I’m really just breaking into the entertainment industry myself. So. I have three rules...I say never pass up a marketing moment. While that might be cheesy to say, I’m never without my media bag! Complete with 2 camcorders, 2 jump drives, my lap top, camera and all the cables needed to catch that special video/photo to put on my website! Number two...it's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission when it comes to being "paparazzi ready". Number three... NEVER be without your business card. I go through at least 1000 every month!
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you provide any mentoring or training for new nail techs?
Athena: Yes I prefer to call it FEM-Toring! lol I have always been available to industry peeps through email ,text and now tweets. I am currently training Minx until the Minx Nails company rolls out their training program in 2010.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! So what’s next for you? Any projects in the works that you can share with the readers?
Athena: I have taken on the most "aspirational" project of my career. I am filming a documentary on a woman named Ayanna Williams called LIVING LONG-NAIL ADDICTION. Ayanna has natural nails 14-16 inches long and has been growing them for 13 years. This is a story about how her nails are affecting her life. You can see snippets on my blog .
Thank you Athena for that great interview be sure to check out Athena’s sites mentioned above and follow her Twitter.
Ciao for now… Class is Dismissed!