Manicurist to the stars, Madeline Poole, has the current obsession with artistry nailed. The Sally Hansen global ambassador’s designs have decorated the talons of Alexa Chung, Sky Ferreira and Haim, to name a few. Here Madeline tells The Beauty Inbox how she got her big break.
On her earliest beauty memory
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and I currently live in New York. My earliest memory is my sister drawing her freckles on with a green magic marker.
On becoming a nail artist
When I was living in LA, I became enthralled with nails. I started to do my own but just in solid colours. Then I was introduced to the idea of being an editorial manicurist while working as an assistant on a photoshoot. I quickly began studying and training. I went to a beauty school called Moro in Glendale California but what I think helped the most was my experience painting in school at MICA, an art college in Maryland.
On a typical day
My day-to-day schedule is unpredictable. I’m never in the same place at the same time and this is what makes my job difficult but also endlessly entertaining.
Sometimes I’m in a studio for a shoot. Sometimes I’m in my office. Sometimes I’m on location or travelling. Sometimes I’m the star of the show and sometimes I’m just the girl cleaning up the nails.
On her most enjoyable campaign
I always love to work on the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel campaigns because I can get very involved in the concepting of the nails for the images and these products are simply amazing.
On her style icons
I love Rihanna for her constantly evolving beauty looks and accessorizing. For style, my friend Chioma Nnadi – I think she has my favorite style of all time.
On her favourite nail look
My favourite nail looks for myself are always very simple and pared down. I love wearing negative space and classic patterns like checkerboard, paisley or stripes.
On her skincare tips
Clean your face completely of any make-up before you sleep or when you get home for the day. I like to wash my face with Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip or Dermalogica Exfoliant, then use a toner like the one from Ole Henriksen. I then will apply a cream and an oil – I use Weleda Rose Face Lotion and Sunday Riley Flora or Artemis oil.
On her desert island make-up picks
I don’t think I even use three make-up products when I’m not on a desert island! I would maybe take Nars lip pencil in Bahama, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage and rose-tinted Vaseline.
On staying in shape
I have always been athletic. When I was a kid, I swam and I think it gave me a foundation for an athletic body type. Now I run and take a barre class as often as I can. When I’m working a lot, I have a very hard time staying on top of my exercise schedule.
On her favourite cities to shop
I like shopping in Miami for vintage and Baltimore for the thrift stores. I can find something pretty much anywhere and I like to mix old and new clothes so I feel unique but not dusty.
On her worst beauty faux pas
I have a friend who never puts lotion on her face. I had to practically hold her down and force her! I remember doing the same thing when I was younger because I thought the lotion or oil would make me breakout but as I got a little older and wiser I noticed the dryness was the source of all my problems.
So the faux pas being, when someone doesn’t properly moisturise their face (and sometimes I’m guilty of it too) and then applies a sort of foundation. This really brings out the dry texture and pores. It reminds me of painting a nail without doing a proper manicure. If you don’t treat the cuticles with care, you’ll end up with a manicure that only looks good from far away.
On her proudest achievement
Becoming the Global Color Ambassador for Sally Hansen was absolutely my biggest moment in my career to date. And now that two years have passed, I’m feeling really comfortable and confident in my role.
On the best advice she’s ever been given
Well when I first started, an acquaintance of mine wrote a story on me. I asked her to change a line that was untrue and she said “sure – but you should always start by saying thank you to someone who has written an article about you”.
I was really embarrassed but she was right and I always think of her and that experience. Before I make criticisms of anything I know, I need to acknowledge and appreciate the people who participated in whatever the project may be.
On advice to budding nail artists
Try to do something different and new every time. A lot of manicurists copy each other and sure that’s fine from time to time. Everybody does it, especially as a way of learning techniques. But the only way I’ve been noticed is by doing my own thing and creating original concepts.
- as told to TBI