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“The Painted Nail” Owner Katie Cazorla Talks About “Nail Files,” French Mani

This post originally appeared on my blog

I haven’t spent too much time in nail salons over the years. Sitting still is not easy for me, so manicures and pedicures are for special occasions, a treat, something to make me feel grown up, ladylike and pampered.

As a young woman, my manicured hand looked too much like my mother’s and it freaked me out, so I keep my nails short. If I ever do polish them I have to use a color my mom would never use so I don’t look down and see her hands instead of mine. Now, the older I get, the more my hands look like my Grandpa Dan’s hands; I can’t win! I have super ticklish feet and tiny toe nails, so pedicures are problematic for different reasons, but this may be TMI!

The setting and dynamics of nail salons do happen to fascinate me. Women who don’t know each other in one room for an extended time – very intriguing! I am never the woman glued to her magazine, avoiding eye contact and conversation. I am too busy watching, observing, kibitzing, poised for whatever experience or encounter may be coming my way. So, for me, the idea of Nail Files, the TV Guide reality show starring Katie Cazorla and her Los Angeles nail spa, The Painted Nail, had a lot of appeal.

Nail Files with Katie Cazorla

I expected it to be somewhat of a social experiment rather than the typical reality show formula of either a popularity or skill competition. And I suppose the show is a little bit of that, but mostly it is a day in the life of Katie Cazorla, a delightful, energetic, bigger than life personality with a bit of a potty mouth living her life and running her business. Each episode is a fresh opportunity for anything and everything to happen, and it does! It makes for very engaging and entertaining TV, mostly because Katie herself is so engaging and entertaining. She is a dynamo and you can’t help but like her and wish her success. The second season of Nail Files premieres on Sunday, August 19 at 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central time on the TV Guide Network, and you can get a preview here.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Katie for a few minutes as she kicked off her promotional tour, complete with mobile nail spa, in San Diego recently. I told her I felt like I knew her so well; after all, I had been in her closet, her kitchen and her bedroom! We laughed and were chatting like old friends before we even sat down! Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:

Katie Cazorla of Nail Files

Why did you turn down the reality show when you were first approached about it?

Number one, I am not a girl in my 20’s who’s going to get drunk on TV and make out with random guys in a hot tub. That is not what I do. I am an adult woman who runs a business and it can’t look like crap on TV. I was not going to do a reality show that was going to ruin my store. They want to see cat fights, they want to see people having meltdowns – but as I kept going and as I was running my store I thought “wow, something awful happens to me every day.” (Laugh) It does! Everything goes wrong, every single day, then I figure out how to make it work and at the end of the day I feel like it is better. My life is like a half hour sit com — with a beginning, middle and end. Like The Brady Bunch, there’s always a problem — “what are we going to do?” — and then at the end it is like problem solved!

How did you ensure the show didn’t interfere with your business?

Months and months of negotiations. I have to see it before it airs on television. Everything I have saved my entire life is in that store. It’s like my kid, and I can’t exploit my child like that.

What made you finally decide to do it?

I thought about it and I said ok, I need to be smart about this. I am a new business and had to think through if  this could this possibly help my business grow. So I started to look at other people who have actually done something from being on a reality show. I wanted to be an influence, a real woman running a successful business.  I had an opportunity to have an outlet that millions of people can see so I thought, “I am going to do it. And I am going to make sure that I don’t fake who I am”. Yes, I cry. Yes, I have meltdowns, I get in fights with my fiancé — hey, I am normal. I wake up in the morning and I look like crap; I don’t have lashes and extensions. I am exhausted! I’m working! It shows who I am as a person.

Your salon seemed to become a celebrity magnet all of a sudden! How did that happen?

It was all of a sudden. It was literally overnight. It was crazy. In Los Angeles there are 5000 nail salons. There are more nail salons than Starbucks. And I would go to them and think there has to be a better way to do nails. I don’t have a million dollars to go to a spa, but I deserve better than dirty implements and gross spa chairs. So I said, “Screw it! I am going to nail school.” I thought about what my dream salon would look like — plush white chairs and beautiful lighting and chandeliers. No fluorescent bulbs, a free bar with cappuccinos, lattes, wine and tea. I  just wanted it to be girly and fun and a place where the techs can communicate with you about what you want on your nails.

What’s the latest trend in nails?

Appliqués are really hot. You can do them on all your nails, or on just one.

What should women avoid?

You know what looks so dated to me? I know a lot of people still like to do French manicures on acrylic nails, but there is so much new stuff out there that isn’t damaging and I feel like it is time to move on from acrylics to healthier options. It is time to break free!

What can you learn about a person from their hands?

I can always tell what a person does by their manicure – that is like my psychic moment. The hands do not lie. I love to do hand treatments, I am a big believer in that. And, please, if there’s one thing you do even if you hate manicures and don’t wear polish, please use cuticle oil! Cuticle oil is your best friend. You can use it on toes, the balls of your feet, even your elbows if they’re dry.

Which celebrity that has come in to The Painted Nail was the biggest thrill for you so far?

I would have to say LeVar Burton because I was such a big Reading Rainbow fan. He was really cute. Also,Carrie Ann Inaba from Dancing With The Stars. She is just so gorgeous in person — a beautiful person inside and out. And she has great nails.

And the celebrity you are waiting for to come to The Painted Nail?

Selena Gomez! She lives so close so why not The Painted Nail? I know one day she’ll come in!


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