Providing colourful tips for the rich and famous is a full-time job for Lucy Tucker. Fiona Leckerman met her.
Lucy Tucker’s nails are the first things I notice about her when we meet. I nail check her to be sure that she is the same ‘Lucy Tucker ‘I’ve been following on Instagram like a teenage fan and I’m promptly transfixed by her talons. Long and oval shaped, each nail is a mini canvas of creative genius. Today’s are multi coloured and bright, with rainbow stripes. Lucy has been nail obsessed from an early age when her aunt taught her how to manicure at the age of 14.
“I used to pierce my nail with a compass and thread an earring through it,” she says giggling, “I have always loved everything about nails.”
Youthful infatuation prompted a career in the tips business with training at OPI and Lucy quickly secured an agent which lead steadily to her becoming a nail technician to the stars. You name them, Lucy has filed them – from Lady Gaga to Emma Thompson, no famous cuticle is left unpolished. This year Lucy painted the fingernails of BAFTA best actress nominee Felicity Jones, whom she approached in the lobby of The Savoy encouraged by her father’s motto of – if you don’t ask you don’t get.Lucy was whisked to Jones’s suite and they discussed her nomination for The Theory of Everything, with Jones accepting Lucy’s advice about berry coloured nails to complement her Dior dress. They decided on the popular Gelish colour Bella’s Vampire and Lucy says: “Felicity had never had gels before and was blown away by the glow and quality.” Jones wasn’t the only actress Lucy prepared for the ceremony, Dianna Argon, star of Glee asked for her personally.
Painting the talented talons of Lady Gaga was the dream come true for Lucy, who sat in the O2 and watched her rehearse.
“I couldn’t believe it because I’d taken every single pot of colour I owned and all she wanted was white normal polish on her natural nails to match her headdress and to make it easier for her to play the piano during the performance,” recalls Lucy.
However, Lucy did gain the opportunity whilst preparing Gaga’s nails to chat with the singer, who complimented her on her “lovely warm aura.” Gaga is right, Lucy is bright and happy and her enthusiasm for nails is infectious, she evens pull off her shoe to show me her toenails, which have a foil called Minx applied to them, something she tells me her regular client, Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh, is fond of in leopard print.
So impressed with Lucy, Gaga, requested her for her appearance on the Jonathan Ross show. This time asking for mint green nails, “They sent a car for me and I didn’t have many mint polishes at the time, so I made the driver pull over at Boots and I ran in buying every shade of mint they had.” says Lucy, “Gaga wanted to have very long pointy nails that needed to be made and dried within half an hour and presented to her on a tray for her to attach herself,” the pressure increased when “I didn’t have time to measure her nails so I had to make 40 in all different sizes. I had all these mint green nails drying in the corridors of the studios, but I did it and she looked amazing, even with the accompanying goat!”
Lucy, originally from Hatch End but now living in Whetstone, can get offered shoots at a moments’ notice and relies on a tight support network to help her. She is married to actor Steven Serlin, who is currently starring in the West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and they have two small children Scarlett and Guy.
Lucy admits it can get stressful, but “I enjoy every day, going to different studios, working with Victoria Secrets angel Candice Swanepoel one day and then Helen Bonhem Carter the next. It’s certainly varied.”
With the popularity of nails outselling lipsticks in the beauty market Lucy addresses the issue of acrylic destroying nails. “They get a really bad name because some salons use electronic e-files and a substance called MMA which is illegal in America. The MMA makes the acrylic inflexible and can damage the nail” But when applied correctly acrylic is perfectly safe for the nail, which she wears herself, but while using the essential cuticle oil. “It’s my number one must-have,” she says. “It contains vitamin E which is brilliant for hydrating the nail and stops the gel from lifting whilst helping keeping the nails strong.”
Despite Lucy’s busy schedule she still manages to make time for her regular clients back at Profile the Mill Hill salon she has always worked in and to be the sort of hands-on mum who gives Scarlett a matching Rainbow manicure. Wonder if she’ll have time for me?