Atlanta based nail artist and Essie educator Terrance Terry is no rookie to the nail game, having worked in the industry for 12 years. With Terry’s impressive experience from runway shows for New York Fashion Week to tons of celebrity editorial spreads, we couldn’t wait to catch up with him for his insight on breaking into the nail biz.

Editor’s Note: To recreate this design, free-hand heart shaped designs on stiletto tipped nails using the point of the nail as the heart’s end. Terrance used powder blue and nude nail polishes for the heart designs pictured. We like DeborahLippmann Nail Lacquer in Naked ($17) and Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Caress, ($17).

EBONY: What was the hardest part about breaking into the industry?

Terrance Terry: It wasn’t very hard for me to gain industry clientele because many of my friends are photographers, make-up artists and designers. I was blessed in that way. My network has always been industry insiders.

EBONY: What is the competition like amongst you and other nail artists?

TT: Unlike many nail artists in my area, I do work in and out of the salon, which gives me an edge over the competition. However, many of the local artists are my colleagues. We usually work together, sharing opportunities.

EBONY: How did you make yourself standout artistically?

TT: I consider nails to be a canvas for art, so my artwork is what sets me apart. I am known for my edgy glamour and themed-based designs.

—Minajiah Scott