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Posted by on Jul 17, 2010 | 3 comments

Serena Williams, Nail Tech

Do what you love. In Serena’s case, that means nails.

serenawilliams_nailechSerena Williams, most noted as one of the world’s best tennis players, has been focusing on a new career in nails.  In February she enrolled in the Palm Beach Nail School, choosing the location because it allowed her a flexible schedule for completion.  I’ve been waiting for an update, but apparently with her schedule she is planning on taking a year to complete the courses.  Will she complete it?  I hope so, but there hasn’t been much since her announcement in February.

Florida’s state requirements are more flexible than I experienced.  Palm Beach requires 240 hours without a strict completion date cutoff.  Most will find a very different experience upon entering nail school.   Often there is a state minimum required for practical hours and then a higher requirement for graduating from the school.  Sanitation, skin and nail disease, electricity – these are often covered during the course, along with nail art, polish, acrylics, fiber and gel.  That is a lot to get in that amount of time.

I think anyone that has attended a good school knows the shock of how much skill it actually takes to be a good nail technician.  Serena’s excitement for her new trade and her professionalism will get her through  She also dutifully wore the blue scrubs required (oy, we had to find white tops. In winter!) even though she requested to break from the pack and wear pink.

She got that pink in the form of a backpack


Don’t kid yourself into thinking Serena will be at a corner salon anytime soon.  This tennis champ claims she started nail school because she looooooves her some mani/pedis and used to get her manicures every four days and pedis every seven.  She’s also working on launching a nail collection line with HairTech once she completes the courses.

I took a similar route going back to school.  While I wasn’t in a world championship circuit, I did want to add a beauty specific certificate to my business background.  I had always wanted to learn to do nails.  I was as excited as Serena as she started her first day (sans Hello Kitty):

The night before my class I made sure I had all my tools, books and gear organized. I went to the hello kitty store and bought plenty of containers as well as a backpack to keep my belongings. If I’m not the best, I sure do want to look like it.

Sadly, I think there is a negative stereotype about nail technicians and the industry in general, and it includes an assumption the job is fairly easy with few skills required.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Those of you that have gone through nail school, amiright?  As a noted celebrity, there is no reason Serena would need to take this course, even to create her own nail line.  She’s obviously done it out of love.

Although she’s doing this for herself, Serena’s work ethic and passion will hopefully reflect and rub off  on many.  How many times in your life can you be a role model?  Is Serena’s doing it yet again for a whole new industry and generation?


photo credit: serena williams

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