This week we find ourselves in some new territory as it relates to this week’s Visionary. Our nail art ingénue, Yoko Sakakura has the game literally wrapped around her finger. As a heavy hitter in the design world, some of the most iconic entertainers of our day have sought out her unique craft of nail art design, earning her the moniker, The OG Nail Gangsta! Let’s take a moment and hear how a young woman from Tokyo turned a lifelong passion into a nail empire.
HOC: How did you become interested in the art of intricate designs for nails?
YS: When I was a little girl I used to paint my nails with markers, I have always been a nail girl. As I became a teenager it was my thing to get my nails done with airbrushed designs it was natural like a pull, I never really dreamed of becoming a manicurist. I was an esthetician or wannabe esthetician. I was hesitant to become a nail tech because of the social status and how the world perceived the nail technicians. I became a licensed manicurist in 2012 but in this country it was considered an economically low status occupation (although I, for a fact, respect all nail technicians ). But what matters is what I think and believe [a nail technician] is. Becoming one was the best choice I have ever made in my life.
HOC: How does your Japanese culture influence your creative outlets as it pertains to your US customer base?
YS: After having lived in the US for a while, I appreciate the fact that I am from Japan more because I can clearly understand and see the differences. Japanese are considered to be conservative in many ways and crazy in some ways such as fashion and art also I see many influences from the US mixed with Japanese culture in creating very unique styles. I go home often as I can and pick up what my US customers would like from my native country.
HOC: Your nail art has been showcased on many well known celebrities fingertips such as Madonna, Fergie, Solange and many more. What is it like working with such amazing recording artists?
YS: Amazing!!! I am very grateful and God is good
HOC: How did you create the coolest brand name in the nail art industry, “Nails By Yoko-The OG Nail Gangsta!?
YS: Melody Ehsani (a jewelry designer and former partner) gave me the name, she is the queen of naming all things unique. I am certainly down and committed with my nail game so it makes perfect sense.
HOC: What other forms of art do you enjoy that have influenced some of your more creative nail art designs?
YS: I love music and God’s creations. Anything from a leaf blown by a wind to the sky is my inspiration.
HOC: What is your life’s philosophy?
YS: Finding a balance within my purpose and laughing while watching The Chappelle Show.
HOC: What do you love most about the successful life that you have created for yourself?
YS: I do not call my life successful yet but I am on my way, I am happy that I enjoy what I do surrounded by supportive people, opportunities, prosperity and health.
HOC: What other areas do you envision your brand being marketed?
YS: Products and education.
HOC: Who are the people that are most important in your life and why?
YS: God, myself and my family. Why? They simply are.
HOC: On behalf of The Visionary’s Manifesto and Heart of Cool I want to thank you for the opportunity of speaking towards your vision and life’s work. What advice can you give our audience about creating a successful brand, a life of fulfillment and living out your dreams?
YS: What matters the most to you is what you feel, what you think and what is right for you. There is no default option for each of us unique individuals and finding yourself and knowing who you are is the key. Meditation and prayer has had a massive impact upon my life.
For more information on Nails by Yoko-The OG Nail Gangsta! Please visit her website at www.nailsbyyoko.com