Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great excitement today that I can announce my Q&A today is with one of my favourite manicurists, fellow Brummie, JENNY LONGWORTH. She describes herself as a Session Tech creating bad ass nails in London Town, ( she’s not wrong there) plus she’s the UK Ambassador for Revlon Nails.
I first met Jenny a few years ago on a shoot and distinctly remember her Brummie accent. I forgot that people can have such broad accents, especially as mine seems to have almost disappeared for some unknown reason!! ( No, I haven’t had elocution lessons). Although according to Jenny, hers has softened somewhat since she’s been in London.
I was instantly drawn to her as she made me laugh, and of course hearing the accent, we started talking about our affections for our home city. Jenny’s enthusiasm for her work is second to none. Her passion for nails oozes out of her every pore, and as she mentions below, she’s a perfectionist, that was very apparent the minute she started to do her work. ( we love a perfectionist here at Moodie HQ!!!)
Over time, I’ve worked with Jenny on various shoots and the energy she brings is great. She is vivacious and enjoys life, so much so that she’s always changing her hair and make-up too. She has this amazing knack of mixing urban with chic! She has a real passion for fashion and tattoos too. Dare I mention she went to a parlour with and got a tattoo done at the same time as Rihanna!
I’ll let Jenny tell you the rest about herself, but just for the record Jenny currently has work on the British Vogue Nov 2014 Cover Supplement with model Eliza Cummings ( See pic below) and has also graced the nails of British model of the moment, plus Edie Campbell for the latest Lanvin campaign shot by Tim Walker ( not bad going for someone who originally wanted to be an actress!!)
Don’t give up your day job Jenny- you would be sorely missed!!!
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?
Growing up all I ever wanted to be was an actress. I went to drama school as a child, performed in lots of theatre in Birmingham and also did some TV work. I then did performing arts and theatre studies at college for my A-Levels.
HOW DID YOU BEGIN AS A MANICURIST?
I was an awful nail biter growing up, but then discovered acrylic nails as the first nail bars started popping up in Birmingham when I was about 14. I got my first set done and thought “This is going to change my life!”. I used to get them done and always think one was wonky or not perfect enough. I’m a real perfectionist and quite creative so thought I’d be good at it myself. I did an evening course to gain my nail qualifications when I was 18 and started doing it part time whilst I was at performing arts college. It was never my intention for it to be my full time career. I ended up going to London College of Fashion instead of drama school as I then thought I wanted to do something in fashion. I ended up studying specialist make-up design and began work assisting a couple of make-up artists. I decided I wanted to do make-up and nails in fashion but quickly saw that I had more of a niche in nails. At that time there were only a handful of manicurists working in the industry…Marian Newman, Leighton Denny, Andrea Fullerton. I got myself a job doing nails on my first editorial for iD Magazine in 2005 I think. The rest is history.
IS THERE ANYBODY YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE IF YOU WEREN’T YOU?
No way! I love my life. I’m friggin fabulous!
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
I live alone in Willesden Green in NW London. I have a lovely 3 bed flat which is my pride and joy. I love antiques and all things Deco in particular. I’m slowly but surely filling it with stuff that I love.
Above is some of Jenny’s recent work on the cover of the British Vogue supplement shot by Scott Trindle.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN YOUR CITY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I’d make it cleaner. Some people just have no respect for their surroundings. I’m so clean and tidy and a typical Libra in the sense that I like balance and order. I think that’s what make me a good manicurist! When I walk down my street and see fly tipping and general rubbish and crap that people have just dumped outside it makes me so angry! The gentrification of certain areas also gets me mad. Also, I’m like, keep Brixton as it is man…that’s what makes it Brixton. It doesn’t need a friggin fondue restaurant in the market!!
LIST YOUR TOP 5 FAVOURITE BEAUTY PRODUCTS.
Decleor Strengthening Nail Serum.
James Reed BB gradual tan face pen
Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser
Revlon Red nail enamel
Mac Lady Danger lipstick.
Some examples of Jenny’s editorial work above.
YOU WERE HEAVILY INVOLVED AND FEATURED IN THE REVLON EXHIBITION, “ENAMOURED: 80 YEARS OF REVLON” IN LONDON IN NOVEMBER 2012. YOUR WORK FOR IT WAS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE AND YOU SEEMED TO TAKE NAIL ART TO ANOTHER LEVEL. WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON AND WHERE DO YOU GET YOU INSPIRATIONS FROM?
For the exhibition I created ‘Cherry’ a sculpted bust made from nails adorned in various Revlon Nail enamels. For me, my day to day nail work is a completely different context to that of say, doing nails in a salon. I come from a fashion background and my thought processes and development of ideas are very much tuned into that way of thinking, taking inspiration from art, film, architecture etc. It’s never a case of ‘oh that’s a pretty red, lets do that’. You have to get on the level of the people you are working around; photographers, stylists, art directors etc. There is always a reference point and story or thread as to how you got to where you ended up creatively. Translating that through a nail look is what I do so, for me ‘Cherry’ was symbolic of that. The crossover between different genres and medias such as fashion, beauty and art. As for current projects, nothing at the moment but I’ll keep you posted. I’m just too busy working on campaigns at the moment…which is alright by me!
WHAT ARE YOU INTO RIGHT NOW ( MUSIC, FASHION , ART, FOOD )
At the minute my favourite thing is netball. I love sports and fitness, so I recently started playing netball again after about 15 years when I last played it at school. I play down in Brixton and it’s really fun to do something competitive again. I’m also partial to a good game of bingo (you can take the girl out of Birmingham, but………).
WHAT MUSIC WERE YOU INTO GROWING UP AND ARE YOU STILL INTO IT NOW?
Growing up I was into house music and still am now! My first clubbing experiences were at places like Wobble and the Steering Wheel in Birmingham and old skool funky house was big in the Midlands at the time. Garage was big too and I used to listen to tape packs on my walkman of all the big garage raves in London at the time, dreaming about going there. I’m still a massive house head and can often have it blasting in my car at 7am. There’s always time for house music in my world. I also liked RnB, Rap and New Jack Swing that was around at the time..about ’94 when I started buying my own records. Pure Swing 4 with the blue cover was the classic from the era! I still have it somewhere.
IF YOU WERE PUT ON A DESERT ISLAND AND COULD CHOOSE ONLY 10 SONGS TO HAVE ON AN IPOD WHAT WOULD THEY BE?(AND EXPLAIN – IF YOU WANT TO- WHY YOU CHOSE THEM )
Omg this is so hard!!
Bob Dylan – Forever Young : I have the the lyrics tattooed on my arm because my dad always writes them in my birthday card every year. It’s about always feeling young and invincible at heart like you can achieve anything. It’s kind of my life motto.
J Cole (feat Migueal) : Purely because his voice makes me melt. And as I’m only allowed 10 songs this is 2 of my favourite artists on one track.
Lauren Hill – Ex Factor.
Julio Bashmore – Au Seve : The ultimate good all rounder house tune. So I can get my shuffle on alone on the island.
Lil’ Kim – Suck My Dick : She’s my original bad bitch. This song is the epitome of that and therefore makes you feel confident, even for just a few minutes.
Labyrinth – Earthquake : Because I think this is one of very few songs that never gets boring.
Michael Jackson – Man in the mirror : For some time to reflect on the island.
Pink Floyd – The Great Gig in the Sky : Something epic and trippy.
Dolly Parton – 9 to 5 : For any low points on the island where I may need some get up and go.
And any Bob Marley song!!
Jenny’s work on the new Topshop Campaign featuring Cara Delevingne above.
IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE BESIDES WHERE YOU ARE, WHERE WOULD IT BE.?
To be honest London is my favourite place to be permanently. But I love LA and New York. Ideally I’d like to have a house in LA, a penthouse in New York and a house in Barbados. And my flat in London. Hopefully one day I will!
MASTERMIND IS AN ICONIC BRITSH TV QUIZ SHOW WHERE THE CONTESTANTS ARE QUESTIONED FOR 2 MINUTES ON THEIR CHOSEN SPECIALISED SUBJECT. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SPECIALISED SUBJECT IF YOU WERE A CONTESTANT ON MASTERMIND?
OMG it’s like my favourite programme. I’m such a geek! I also have the app on my phone. My specialist subject would be nail technology obviously but I’m also quite good at science and nature.
WHO OR WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
My girlfriend. She’s actually the dumbest person in the world. Like not stupid dumb, just silly. I have really stupid humour so I like things like The Mightly Boosh and Summer Heights High.
Some of Jenny’s covers above.
WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS THAT YOU WOULD WEAR?
I love pattern and colour and anything that has a street wear edge to it. Versace and Moschino are my ultimate brands. I also love Sophia Webster shoes and bags.
YOU’RE PACKING TO GO ON A TRIP FOR 2 WEEKS AND CAN TAKE 5 FILMS ON ITUNES OR DVD’S WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD THEY BE, AND IF YOU WANT, SAY WHY YOU LOVE THEM?
Back to the Future. 1 and 2. Best film ever.
Pulp Fiction – that’s a film you can watch over and over again
All of the God Fathers. That would keep me entertained.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DESSERT?
Anything chocolate. Good old chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice cream. Nothin jazzy…simple things. But I do love a good creme brûlée.
Immaculate nail work on Jessie J’s album cover.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN ONE WORD.
WHAT FASHION SHOWS DID YOU WORK ON FOR S/S14 SEASON AND DID YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE
I did Whistles, Antonio Berardi, Richard Nicholl and Sophia Webster. Sophia Webster was my fave as I got to go crazy with the nails and make all this fun 3D stuff with butterfly’s and slogans etc.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT?
I love spicy food and am obsessed with the Thai cafe at the top of my road who do the best Jungle Curry. I love a good Indian curry too in true Brummie Fashion. The hotter the better. There are some amazing really traditional places in Wembley and Harrow.
WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
A cat I guess. They have a pretty easy life.
DO YOU CREATE AND WEAR NAIL ART ON YOURSELF OR DO YOU GET OTHER PEOPLE TO DO IT FOR YOU?
I always do my own nails as I’m too fussy to let anyone else do them!! I’ve become somewhat ambidextrous over the years so it’s not too difficult to do my own.
Some of Jenny’s advertising work.
WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?
Instant chicken noodles. There’s these ones called Indomie, they’re Nigerian and really spicy. Ultimate hangover food. Oh and MacDonald’s breakfast.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WORD TO SAY IN A BRUMMY ACCENT? ( PLEASE SAY BLANCMANGE….LOLOLOL)
Blancmange because I always think of you and me saying it and laughing. hahaha! It was such and old skool Brummie thing that your mom always made at parties, pink in the shape of a rabbit with green jelly around it for the grass. It was so rank!!
Precipitation is also a good word in Brummie…I had a geography teacher who used to say it in a really strong accent so that’s quite funny. And of course ‘Bab’ which is a Brummie term of endearment!!
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO NEXT?
I’m heading to Sydney this New Year for a little adventure. And am going to Jamaica next year.
NAME ANY TYPE OF PRODUCT IE: FOOD, TOYS, CLOTHES, OR COSMETICS ETC THAT YOU ONCE LOVED BUT IS NOW EITHER DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND
Rimmel Heather Shimmer lipstick was the classic shade everyone wore in the 90’s. It was like a frosted brown that I’d love to wear now!
A HUGE thanks to Jenny for taking the time out of her always busy schedule to answer my questions!!!