Joanne Sorbello and Armani Je'ton create beautiful nail art!
 - Photos by Roberto Ligresti

Joanne Sorbello and Armani Je'ton create beautiful nail art!

Photos by Roberto Ligresti

When MODERN opened up our Artist Session photoshoot workshop to nail artists, we were not sure what would happen. How could we tweak the program to make it valuable for manicurists? Would the nail designs be appropriate and enhance the photo? Would anyone even sign up?

Artist Session is designed for artists looking to get to the next level – either working in editorial, getting on a team for fashion week, getting published and most importantly, getting connected to the right people! It is opened to licensed salon pros who have talent and vision, but just not sure how to get in the public eye. MODERN holds the 2-day workshop twice a year in NYC (spring and fall) and is open to just six hair and two nail pros. It sells out quickly and is a win/win for everyone involved (hairdressers and nail pros get their visions realized on great models, and MODERN gets to publish the beautiful results!)

We weren’t sure what to expect when nail artist Joanne Sorbello signed up for the first session open to manicurists. She was simply incredible, immediately getting the “need for speed” and able to collaborate with the hairdressers to come up with beautiful results. Armani Je’ton attended soon after, bringing her clever and artistic designs to life. The two artists each earned the covers of MODERN and Nails Magazine and already have realized many of their dreams. In addition to multiple covers and editorial features, each has created nail looks at New York Fashion Week, each has had celebrity opportunities (Sorbello just did Christy Brinkley!) and each is now considered an editorial nail pro. It has been an incredibly positive experience, not just for Sorbello and Je’ton, but for MODERN as well.

Joanne Sorbello working at NYFW.
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Joanne Sorbello working at NYFW.

Armani Je'ton putting the finishing touches on a nail design at the most recent Aritst Session.
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Armani Je'ton putting the finishing touches on a nail design at the most recent Aritst Session.

MODERN checked in with Sorbello and Je’ton to see what each has learned from her journey (so far):

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PRO NAIL EXPERIENCE SNICE TAKING ARTIST SESSION?

JS:  My favorite “special event” experience....hmm....I do on occasion work with the local film commission when they have projects being filmed in my hometown area (Mid-Hudson Valley New York region) and I’ve gotten to work on some very interesting people through the years! I enjoyed having to shut my salon down for the afternoon so I could quietly work on Tilda Swinton. She was an absolute pleasure to work on - so “chill and down to earth” (which isn’t always the case). It’s not often that celebs actually “name drop”, but she gave me a truly funny story about George Clooney. Sooooo funny! [Wisely, Sorbello won’t share the details.]

Joanne Sorbello created this nail design at Artist Session, her first professional photoshoot (hair by Nanci Lee, photo by Roberto Ligresti, make up by David Maderich, fashionstyling by Rod Novoa.)
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Joanne Sorbello created this nail design at Artist Session, her first professional photoshoot (hair by Nanci Lee, photo by Roberto Ligresti, make up by David Maderich, fashionstyling by Rod Novoa.)

AJ:  My favorite experience so far would be the October 2018 artist session photoshoot. This opportunity was my first professional photoshoot, which was full of learning experiences and helped to build my confidence as a nail artist. 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT FROM THE MOST RECENT ARTIST SESSION ARTIST CONNECTIVE SHOOT (held in NYC early November 2019)?

JS: My fave moment: When I heard the words chains and pearls! I absolutely LOVE working with textures on nails - and textures other than crystals and rhinestones. Anything “out of the box” is right in my wheelhouse! 

AJ: My favorite moment from the most recent artist connective shoot was working closely with stylists that I have admired before I started my nail journey, which was very exciting!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE SO FAR?

JS:  The biggest challenge for me has been getting people to trust my ideas and let me run with them. Every shoot has a “director” – either the hairstylist, makeup artist, photographer...whoever! But when you are doing a collaboration you need to trust that EACH person chosen to be there is a professional with his or her craft. We’re all there to make the finished product the BEST it can be. 

AJ: The biggest challenge I have faced has been working through personal hardships but continuing to focus and make my career a priority. Staying focused has helped me to push through any negative feelings that I may have had. Life can be challenging at times but being a nail artist brings me so much joy that it’s worth dealing with the hardships I have faced personally.

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE BECOMING A NAIL PRO?

JS: I wish I knew about all the different areas you can work in within the nail industry. It’s not just about working in a salon. Print work, movie and TV sets, working with doctors’ offices, nursing homes, etc. There are just so many different opportunities out there! 

AJ: Learning how to remain organized when travelling between shoots/experiences is something I wish I knew beforehand. Being behind the scenes is extremely exciting, but also scary as a new artist so learning how to keep products organized and easily accessible is very important to the success of the shoot. 

The cover of MODERN SALON, December 2019. Nail art by Armani Je'ton, hair by the Ulta Beauty Pro Team, photo by Roberto Ligresti, make up by David Maderich.
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The cover of MODERN SALON, December 2019. Nail art by Armani Je'ton, hair by the Ulta Beauty Pro Team, photo by Roberto Ligresti, make up by David Maderich.

WHAT ARE THE FIVE THINGS YOU HAVE LEARNED TO BRING TO EVERY FREELANCE OPPORTUNITY?

JS: The five things I bring to every shoot include glue, files for every type of nail including natural and artificial nails, electric file, art supplies, and a multi tool (aka: Leatherman). Also, I keep some “surprises” packed in my kit. I always bring a few more unique art supplies like safely pins, chains, metal studs. I’m always waiting and hoping for someone to say “give me something edgy”.

AJ:  My standard implements (nail clippers, nail nippers and cuticle pusher,  nail lacquer/gel polish, nail art tools (like a striper brush), press-on nails (for emergency situations) and of course - Swarovski crystals!

There is one spot open for nail artists for the 2020 Artist Session (March 10.) It is sold out for hairdressers. The dates for the fall session have not yet been announced. Stay tuned!

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