I sat down with the art student to discuss health, artistry, and the need to wax this past week. As Joanna painted my nails lovely shades of gold and purple, we talked about the logistics of running a salon out of your dorm room. Technically, you aren’t allowed to make money out of your dorm room as per NYU rules (see “Community Standards Violations,” number 12) but Joanna does most of her business “on the road.” ”Usually [students] will ask me to come to their room,” Joanna explained, adding that it isn’t hard for her to do as most of her equipment fits into a few small bags.
For Joanna, it isn’t about the money. “The cash is good,” she told me. “But I do it as a passion more.” As an art student, Joanna utilizes various mediums to create her pieces. From a large-scale paper and cardboard painted rose to smaller scale charcoal drawings, her handywork is visible in everything she makes. As a manicurist, she creates beautiful, intricate designs with gels through a process she described as sculpting.
She hasn’t had the opportunity to paint many nails yet in the city, as she is waiting for a few pieces of equipment to arrive still. “I have had a lot of requests, so people are waiting for me to tell them ‘[the equipment] is here! Come!’,” Joanna explained.
As for the other services she provides NYU students, she’s noticed that we’re “big on Brazilians,”as well as waxing in general, “the hands, the arms, the legs.” And while she hasn’t had a male client yet, she isn’t opposed to the idea. “Getting waxed is like going to the doctors.” It’s a private matter. She also has had requests for ”eyebrow shaping, and coloring.”
Her type of clientele varies from freshmen to seniors, and she’s noticed most of the students aren’t from the New York City area. “It leads me to believe that other cities have [lower] prices [than New York].”
“Between freshman and sophomore year in high school, I worked as an apprentice in a salon,” Joanna explained. “I did the whole training program. I worked as a beautician, as a manicurist, pedicurist, [I learned how to do] facial treatments, massages, waxing, everything.” As she has worked in a professional salon environment, Joanna understands the importance of keeping all of her equipment extremely well-cleaned and inspected before use. “At home I have a lamp that takes metal to a stage where everything else dies.”
When she’s choosing products to use for her clientele, she opts for natural oils and cleansers, with no chemical additives. “I think it comes from growing up on a farm,” Joanna explained. “I know about chemicals, hormones, and their effects.” As for her prices, she bases them off of the cost of her products. “I try to keep it the same as what I would charge at home because students could go to a salon in the city and have a fancy treatment.” But that kind of treatment could cost you more.
Where Joanna is from, it’s not as expensive to go pamper yourself on a regular basis. “In comparison to the medium-income, it’s affordable…it’s probably four or five times cheaper than in the city.
When she isn’t beautifying our student body, one hand or waxed arm at a time, Joanna enjoys getting pampered herself. When it comes to finding a salon to go to in the city, she looks for “One: cleanliness and sterile utensils. Two: getting what I asked and paid for. Three: Friendly and relaxing environment.”
“Do you bite your nails?” She asked me as she examined my right hand. “Don’t do that.” [Author's note: I don't. I promise. Icky.]
Photo via Joanna.