SEVEN ON SET is a twice-monthly interview series that takes a closer look at creative individuals. In this installation, we interviewed NYC based nail artist Mei Kawajiri.

1) What made you want to become a nail artist?

I always knew I wanted to do something artistic. I originally thought maybe I’d be a tattoo artist, but my mother is a nurse and she wouldn’t let me. I still wanted to create some kind of “wearable art” though, so when I found a book about nails I thought that nail art would be perfect! 

When I was 19 I went to beauty school (just for nails) and then I started doing my own nails… Everyone asked me to do their nails like mine so I started working in Kyoto and then moved to Tokyo when I was 21. I was at a salon for about 2 years and then opened my own salon in Harajuku, I called it “FOXXY”. I worked 24/7 honing my craft and in 2012 I moved to New York City to pursue my dreams!

2) What has been the most memorable moment of your career?

I just created the nails for Balenciaga SS17 in Paris…and I got my Green Card this year too!

3) If you did something different for a living, what would it be?

Plastic surgeon.

4) What is your personal mantra?

Believe in the impossible.

5) What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I drink a LOT of coffee!

6) Ideal dinner party? Dead or alive.

Dead. Just kidding! It would have to be Woody Allen, Terry Richardson, Tim Burton, Carine Roitfeld, Ilana Darsky and Marilyn Monroe.

7) If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Say You”ll Be There” by The Spice Girls 


Photography by Peggy Gertner