Get to know Emma Stephens of Gemini Nails Sussex, as she shares her story as a nail artist living with chronic illnesses and reveals the inspiration behind her dazzling nail designs…

Emma Stephens Headshot

Emma Stephens

Emma remembers seeing press-on nails for the first time at Claire’s Accessories, noting that since that moment, she was hooked. “Nails have always been an important part of expressing myself,” she details. “When I was old enough, I started visiting salons for L&P acrylic nail extensions and I found the process mesmerising.

“I was interested in art when I was at school and following diagnoses with multiple chronic illnesses, I needed a creative outlet. This was when I began to explore the idea of doing nails. I enrolled on a local nail course to learn the basics, but after qualifying, I wanted to learn more. I saw an advert for Glitterbels and knew those were the type of nails I wanted to create: colourful, glittery designs. I booked my first course and the rest followed!”

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Initially, Emma offered L&P acrylic extensions and gel nail overlays to clients, before introducing more bespoke treatments as her confidence grew. “I realised I didn’t have to offer every single nail service, but instead the services that I enjoy the most. Working with clients to create custom nail art was the most amazing service to provide and was so inspiring.

“Unfortunately, due to my health, I made the decision to stop taking clients,” she reveals. “I shifted my focus to posting my nail creations online, connecting with other artists and sharing my passion for nails.”

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Emma’s nail preferences leaned towards the clean girl aesthetic, before evolving into detailed designs and extreme length creations as her confidence grew. “It takes a lot of time to create these nail looks, but I love the challenge,” Emma smiles. “I enjoy creating nails with a theme. Usually I begin with an idea, pick out the colours I’m drawn to and try to tie them together.

“I can’t imagine my nail looks without the Glitterbels Acrylic Nail Powder collections. I love the texture, pigment and colour range available. The Glitter Acrylic Nail Powders offer so much depth to nail looks – I look at them twinkling for hours! One of my favourite ways to work with these glitters is by marbling colours together to create a custom look.”

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“The longer the nail, the larger the canvas, which brings my creativity out.”

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“If I had to characterise myself as a specific nail shade, it would be Glitterbels Glitter Acrylic in Pearl-Ophelia. It’s the first hue that I fell in love with.

“The shade is a glittering mix of pink, purple, gold and silver,” Emma shares. “Whenever I wear it, I feel like a princess! It’s so eye-catching.”

Gb415pearl Ophelia

Glitterbels Glitter Acrylic in Pearl-Ophelia

Emma cites her industry inspirations as Marian Newman, Alex Fox, Annabel Maginnis and Charli Jepson. “Without these women revolutionising the industry and showing the world what’s possible, I’m not sure I’d be doing nails today. I really relate to Annabel’s story when she was starting out in nails, and it made me feel like I can do this.

“I find my nail inspiration from everything around me, such as nature, art, fashion and beauty. I also get a lot of inspiration from other nail artists and their talent,” she notes. “Living with chronic pain is another inspiration for me. It’s difficult, but drives me to transform pain into passion.”

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In the future, Emma looks forward to entering competitions to further her design knowledge. “I’d love to attend in-person events. My health currently prevents me from doing so, but it would be great to meet online friends in real life,” she says. “I hope the industry continues to expand and grow, welcoming new ideas and talent.

“I love working in the nail industry not only because of the artistry, but the way it connects people and creates a sense of community. Witnessing other art and talent is so special, and I love that we’ve created spaces to share, such as the Glitterbels Facebook group. I have never felt more connected and encouraged to create, learn and see where my journey takes me.”

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By Editor