Coca Michelle has become the favorite of the biggest stars in the music world with her extraordinary nail art.
When it comes to unusual, creative nail art, she is the first point of contact for the stars: Coca Michelle. The Briton went viral on Instagram with her innovative nail designs and is now working with the greatest artists in the music industry - including rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, both of whom are known for their particularly extravagant taste.
Born and raised in London, Coca Michelle started doing nails at the age of six. "My parents worked in a small nail salon while I was growing up, and then my father opened his own salon," she explains. "Since my parents worked so much, nobody could look after me at home, which is why I was always in the salon and learned my parents' craft myself." Although she discovered the art of nail art early on, it was not before she moved to the States to attend college in Los Angeles and work at the Laqué Nail Bar, where she enjoyed great creative freedom as a beginner. "I eventually met my first celebrity client, Teyana Taylor, through word of mouth," she explains. "I went on tour with her and it started from there".
In 2018, Michelle opened the Bee Nails nail studio in Harlem, which is based on the manicures of the 90s and offers a variety of designs, from the typical airbrush nails to elaborate Swarovski decorations. Another outstanding career moment was working with a visual artist, photographer, and close friend Ro.lexx on the album cover of Summer Walker, where she gave the Atlanta singer a set of fluorescent pink nails adorned with cherries. "I love doing things that are organic and allow me to work with people in the industry who are super grounded," she explains of finding like-minded collaborators.
Unsurprisingly, Michelle found a natural collaborator in rapper Megan Thee Stallion. One of her standout moments was on set for Megan's Rolling Stone cover with SZA and Normani, where Michelle created a set of glittery, lipstick-shaped nails. "They said, 'Hey Coca, you have about 14 minutes to create a look. And I [said to Megan],' All right, let me create a new shape and we'll just create this look for you. She was gone and away and then I knew: this would be my partner in crime. " Then there was Megan's already iconic "WAP" video, in which Michelle gave her a duo of eye-catching, square nails; a set in a pale shade of yellow to match her Nicolas Jebran looks; the other in a shimmering shade of silver that peeked out of her long purple fingerless gloves.
Their creative synergy, of course, also depends on their mutual appreciation for anime. "We're both very fond of anime - she's an even bigger fan than me," laughs Michelle. Of all of her anime-related creations, her favorite was a tribute to one of Megan's favorite anime, "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure". "I had never seen it, but [Megan] loved it so much that it made me say, 'Okay, let me do it!'" Said Michelle. "The thing about anime and the art behind it is that it has such an iconic following that the challenge of recreating something iconic was more exciting for me than anything."
With over 16 years in the business, Michelle enjoys working with clients like Megan who want to wear what they love but also want to keep their style moving forward. "I just love it when people stay true to their authentic look and at the same time develop further over time," she explains. "Megan has always been very creative and [I love] being a part of her team and helping to take it one step further and create new levels." Looking ahead, she hopes she and Megan can start touring around the globe. "Being in different environments inspires me," she says. If one thing is certain, it is that there are no limits for Michelle - and that she will continue to create fascinating manicures that set no limits to the imagination. "I'm the type of person who doesn't like to say no," she says. "So no matter what idea my customers have, I always try my best to make it a reality."