Do you recognise these slender hands and perfectly manicured nails? You may find it hard to put a face to the hands, but they've featured in 100s of glossy magazines and adverts, and belong to top hand model and Brand Ambassador for Leighton Denny, Nina Taylor.
We caught up with Nina to find out how she got into the businness of hand modelling and nailcare…
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and bred in London with my mum, originally a catwalk model in the swinging 60s and my dad a music producer. I always wanted to be in the "business" and studied ballet from the age of 4 to 18 until I discovered the world of hand modelling.
I never thought this was a job let alone a possible career, but I always had a passion for nails even when I was in school. I worked very hard at my profession and with some luck in the mix, managed to become the most prolific hand model in the UK and even have my hands insured for a seven figure sum.
As well as modelling, I enjoy writing my magazine column, being a Beauty Judge, Public Speaker and of course Brand Ambassador for Leighton Denny. I'll be launching my own modelling agency this year so I can mentor new talent and pass on my knowledge from over a decade in the beauty industry, and follow this up with my first book.
How did your association with Leighton Denny begin?
12 years ago, I met Leighton, then a full time session manicurist on a photoshoot for Marie Claire magazine. I remember him being impressed with my nails. We continued to work solidly together on all the glossies to the point our portfolios were virtually identical, and a firm friendship was formed.
I remember sitting in his flat when he told me about launching his own range and I sampled his first products he had sitting on his desk. He told me he definitely wanted me involved and that we would appear together on QVC.
I also recall being at QVC studios for the first time and his brand manager saying that he doesn't need to be nervous going on air as he has me by his side. Now all these years later, my responsibility extends to consulting on the products and hosting the shows myself at QVC Germany and Italy.
How do take care of your hands and nails – do you have a strict regime?
Because of my profession, there is never a day where I don't tend to my hands and nails, although the treatments will vary depending on what is needed. I've never had a manicure in a salon and Leighton and I have a running joke that I prefer doing my own nails.
My main tip is to moisturise, but like so many things, doing a little bit every day avoids ever having to do a full blown manicure. My main pamper tips are to use a scrub, work on cuticles, moisturise using hand cream and nail and cuticle oil and if that's too time-consuming, have a pump hand cream next to each sink in the house and remember to moisturise every time you wash your hands. I also always wear gloves on set, at home and especially outdoors during winter.
Tell us about some of the modelling shoots you've been on?
Being a hand model is a specialist job, but the type of work is so varied. I can be doing a TV commercial or ad for a supermarket chain or cleaning product, or on the other hand I can be modelling priceless jewels with bodyguards standing by or even doubling for movie stars like Scarlett Johansson and Demi Moore in global campaigns.
It's great to be in ads on the telly, magazines, billboards and on the sides of buses, however there's always a flip-side. I can be in very awkward positions as it's my hand and not the rest of me that's required, so sometimes I'll be in a harness suspended from some height.
Also, I've done jobs where my skin burnt and blistered under the hot lights and of course holding a position for hours and still work with precision is not as easy as people may think, especially when you have clients, agency and crew waiting to see if you can deliver the shot when the director calls "action!!".
What is your favourite Leighton Denny Colour? Or top 5?
It's very difficult for me to have a favourite Leighton Denny shade, but the ones that I use frequently on shoots are Crème de la Crème layered with Starkers. Also, I love the matte finish with two coats of Under Cover basecoat for a lot of my "foodie" adverts. In my free time, I often select Maneater (a patent black), Starlet, Embellish Me, In the Buff and Ice Storm.
You can see Nina Taylor on Friday 10th at 7pm plus you can see the full Leighton Denny nailcare range.