Nayamka Roberts-Smith, LE — better known to the world as LaBeautyologist on Instagram — is a Beverly Hills-based aesthetician and influencer. Here, she shares how she began her career in beauty, from running a nail business out of her college dorm room to making the switch to skin care and aesthetics. This story was told to Danielle Jackson and edited for length and clarity.
My mom was a cosmetologist, but she didn’t work in a hair salon. She just learned cosmetology — she went to school when I was 5 — because she wanted to just be able to do my hair, my brother’s hair, her hair, that kind of thing. In cosmetology, you technically learn hair, nails, and skin, but she wasn’t interested in the other things. She just wanted to do hair. So she used to give me her nail stuff to play with when I was a kid. I had her manicure bowls and I used to paint my friends’ nails and do mine all kinds of crazy designs when I was in middle school. I taught myself how to do acrylics, and then by high school I was doing some of my friends’ nails for prom.
When I went to college, I had a little nail business out of my dorm room called Nai’s Nails. I even had a flyer and business cards; I would do my friends’ nails for free and then they’d go somewhere and people would be like, “Oh, my God! I love your nails.” And they’d be like, “My friend does them! Here’s her card.” I always had a beauty and entrepreneurial spirit, but I was studying political science and anthropology because I didn’t realize you could actually make money and have a real job doing that.
I dropped out of college when I was halfway through my junior year, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that point. I decided to go to school for nails, because I already knew how to do nails. It was something that I liked, so it was just going to be like a holdover until I figured out what I really wanted to do.
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