I found GHETTO NAILZ on Instagram and immediately booked an appointment. Well, if we're being precise, I booked it once I got wifi at Taco Bell. I took a chance and asked if I could to an interview for #GenMillenn, and Lulu graciously said yes.
I had my nails pimped out by the ever-so-talented and charming Luz 'Lulu' Belenguer, one of GHETTO NAILZ' co-founders. We chatted about the nail art scene in Madrid, her workaholic lifestyle, and how her clients DON'T go to Kapital -- one of the city's lame and touristy nightclubs. Admittedly, I did go to Kapital two nights before, and left after being there for half an hour.
Lulu recommends Trueno - I didn't get a chance to go, but will most definitely get jiggy when I make my next trip to Madrid. Did I mention that Lulu invited me to stay at her apartment when I come back again? Omg.
"TRUST ME, I'M THE PARTY QUEEN. OR I USED TO BE THE PARTY QUEEN..."
Lulu worked at Stardust, a techno club in Madrid, for seven years before going into nail art.
"I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT CONSIDERING [DOING NAILS AS] MY FULL TIME JOB. AND THEN LITTLE BY LITTLE, STEP BY STEP, IT SUDDENLY BECAME A JOB FOR ME AND I REALIZED THAT I REALLY ENJOYED IT."
After earning her degree in Audio and Visual Communications, Lulu moved from her hometown, Cádiz, Spain, to Madrid. She bounced between a couple of jobs, like working as a receptionist at a hair salon and at different nightclubs. Eventually, Lulu found herself doing nails for fun.
When I asked Lulu what her favorite project was that she had worked on, she couldn't really give me a direct answer. She casually mentioned that she had just done work for Vogue España and Playboy earlier in the week.
How did you gain traction
At the beginning, we used to do nails [for] a lot of celebrities. That gives you a lot of followers. But nowadays, me, I don’t give my work for free.
"BUT NOWADAYS, ME, I DON'T GIVE MY WORK FOR FREE. I HAVE TO PAY MY BILLS, PAY MY RENT, AND I LIKE EATING GOOD FOOD."
What's the nail art scene in Madrid like?
GHETTO NAILZ was the first [salon] doing nail art [in Madrid]. Nowadays, other salons started doing some a little more, but if you start to look for nail art [in Madrid], normally you find me.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Art, basically. Fashion, [or] other artists in other areas. Maybe paintings, [or] graffiti. Or sometimes just like patterns you can see in nature.
How often are you traveling for work?
I often go to Barcelona more or less once a month. I have my regular clients there who are always waiting for me like, "when are you coming?! when are you coming?! I need you, I need a fill!" It’s nice to see that people [are] happy with your work.
Who is your demographic?
Between 20-30. I have a lot of clients who are younger, but who are not regular clients. I have many girls who save money for coming. [I] even sometimes have 10 years old who sometimes come with her auntie[s], that often happens. I have very different type of clients. And even [in regards to their] style, I have a lot of different people, which is a lot of fun for me because you always have a different type of conversation.
"I'M AN ARTIST NOT A BUSINESS WOMAN,"
is one of the last things that Lulu says to me. I pull out my wallet, and she almost forgets that I haven't paid her yet for the sick manicure.