Your body is your way of making money and you have to keep your hair, nails, face, skin, shape in top condition if you want to be paid the big bucks. Destroy your hair? No hair jobs (and they pay those box covers!). Destroy your nails and forget about that editorial beauty shooting or that potential watch campaign! Get fat and forget about walking for any fashion shows, you've just upgraded to catalog model only--in the USA! Yes, your body is your temple, so what to do when you are on a fashion show and they are threatening to destroy your livelyhood with fake nails.
It recently happened to me that I was on a makeup artists fashion show and they had a nail artist there who proceeded to GLUE with superglue, the fake nails to every girls hands. I dont speak Chinese but I could tell from the supermodels faces and their tone of voice that they were all pissed off about it, so what to do in this situation? Be the sacrificial lamb or raise your voice?
Normally, the nail artist would do the following:
1. Use adhesive tape to stick down the nail. This is the normal, professional way to do it. And put them on after all the girls have dressed so that they do not fall off while getting changed.
2. Drop ONE small drop of glue on your nail and then press it down--this is not optimal but minimizes the damange. What the nail artist here was doing was FULLY COVERING the back of the fake nail and fully covering the real nail with a TON of glue as if they were going to stay on until the next milllenium. NO WAY.
Why was the glue method not good? Because it will be very hard to get off--you have to soak your nails in acetone for over an hour, and it will strip off the top layer of your nail leaving your nail looking uneaven and weakend to crack and break--not good for beauty shootings.
1. Get your booker on the phone, or your manager in front of you. Explain to the manager that this is not really the best way to do it as it will break your nails and destroy them for other photo shootings. If they ask the nail person, and they deny this, tell them that you have done this before and had this experience.
2. Explain an alternative way to do it. Ask for the adhesive strips and if they dont have them, then take the glue bottle in your own hand and put ONE DROP of glue on the inside of the fake nail, and press it down on your finger. Try to use as LITTLE glue as possible. Show them that it's holding and do not give them the glue bottle back. Make them hold the nail themselves and you do the glueing.
It is never recommended to walk off the job, but you can feel free to argue as much as possible. Go as far as to put one nail on and thne break it off and show your nail. Explain that you dont have time after the fashion show to hang around waiting for it to come off. Tell them you have an allergy to acetone. Explain to them again how it should be done: with adhesive strips and dont let that glue bottle out of your hand!
Being assertive on a job is a sensitive balance between getting what you want, protecting yourself, and making sure you work with the client again. Always smile as you are discussing in between showing faces of surprise and displeasure. Get your agent on the phone if they speak enough English and explain to them how this actions could cause you to loose money making opportunities. Bookers work on commissions--they never want you to loose out on a job!
Sometimes in the end, and depending on the client (believe me I would never argue if it's Galliano or Tom Ford--and most likely they would never have anyone who would do that to you), the language problems, and your bookers sensitivity, you may just have to suck it up and take the dose of poison. I think I'll ask an expert about this: Regina Harris and see what she says.