The Vixen Q&A: Nail Artist Amber-Elizabeth Stores Gives Us The Dirt On Nails

You may not know Amber-Elizabeth Stores by name or face, but if you look closely in fashion magazines like Italian Vogue, Marie Claire and Spanish ELLE, you can see her work on models' most delicate and semi-noticed assets: their nails. The New York-based nail artist who got her start in MAC makeup has done work for fashion designers Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, and Betsy Johnson, as well as fashion brand Diesel. The Westchester native sat down with VIBE Vixen to dish about nail trends, nail mishaps and how to keep your nail healthy! –Niki McGloster

How did you get into the nail business?
It’s just that good, old-fashioned grinding. Looking in the magazines, finding names. Everyone has a website or contact information online, so Google people, beg them ‘please, please let me work with you,’ and just through doing that and honing my craft and really knowing what to look out for in fashion trends and transitioning that into nails, you meet people and you can’t be afraid to get yourself out there. And one day I was at a photoshoot, I was actually assisting another nail artist. It was a shoot for Patrick Demarchelier for Allure and someone just mentioned to me [that] their agency was looking for a manicurist. I called them and the jobs just kept pouring in after that. My first job ever was Italian Vogue with Greg Lotus. I was so freakin’ nervous. Here I am, this girl from the hood. Not really the hood, I’m from Westchester, and I’m working with these big people, no clue who they are and I’m like, ‘Yeah, okay!’ [Laughs]

What nail trends do you foresee in 2011?
I think 2010 was when people just started to embrace nail art as an art, as a part of being fashion, as an accessory. And I really see it really flourishing in 2011. It’s not the typical art we all got in high school, it’s more intricate with more thought put into it, more individualized.

In what ways?
Well, I see a lot of Japanese influence. Japanese nail art is becoming really, really big. Those people go all in when it comes to nails. People are more into getting decals and more rhinestones and glittery nails. I see a lot of fall back in the neon [colors], not too much neon anymore; there are more pastels. Also, two different nail colors. Like, it could be in the same family, but you have like a baby pink on one hand and then a blush pink on the other hand. There’s a faint difference. That’s one of the trends I see coming into fruition in 2011. I think it’s really the death of the square nail, too. If you look in the magazines, you don’t see square nails at all. Rounded nails look a little bit more delicate, as opposed to square nails—they make your fingers look a little bit fatter.

Yeah, Rihanna’s nails are what come to mind when I think of the rounded nail trend.
Rihanna’s [nails] are a little bit more drastic. Those are what we would call a stiletto nail. It’s very long, and it’s very, very narrow. If somebody wanted to transition and are used to the square, I would suggest a squoval, just a rounded tip to make it a little bit more delicate. But yeah, hers are extreme.

What are your feelings about the 3D manicure that is hot right now?
I love 3D manicures because I’m an artist, so any way that I can express my art is a win-win for me. That’s probably why I really didn’t embrace the minx too much or the foil layovers because it’s not really individualized; you can’t really express yourself. But when it comes to 3D art, people can say, ‘Oh, Amber did your manicure. I can tell her work.’

But with the 3D mani, how much is too much?
I think it goes in line with the individual. I was watching Married To Rock on E!, [and] one of the girls is really into Japanese culture and she piles it on--Hello Kitty, cupcakes, rhinestones, or whatever on her nails. But if she was working for a corporate company she couldn’t wear that, so it’s really up to the individual. When you have a problem in your everyday life with your nails, like typing or texting or cooking, then maybe it’ll be time to scale it back a little bit.

We’ve talked about the nail trends and what goes on the nails, but, most importantly, how can we keep our nails healthy?
If you want your outsides healthy (your nails, your hair and your skin), then you need to really take care of yourself inside. Eat the right things [and] take the right vitamins. Biotin is the best. It’s best for your hair, it’s best for you nails; it’s best for your skin. If you’re not big on color, it’s important to cover your nails with something. Even if it’s a clear coat, that’ll keep your nails from chipping and breaking; keep them a little bit stronger. If you're coming off of acrylics and trying to grow healthy nails, I suggest a soak-off gel overlay. My favorite is Mani-Q by Young Nails. That stuff is amazing! It promotes healthy nail growth, so you can get your nails up to tip-top shape. Also, be aware of what salons you go to ‘cause there’s a lot of things that people don’t know.

 What are some nail myths that you'd like to dispel?
You don't have to cut your cuticles. That's actually illegal in New York. 

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”


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#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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