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Cleveland Nail Tech Grabs Top Spot

Julie Kandalec and Jennifer Pealer
Julie Kandalec and Jennifer Pealer

Julie Kandalec has been quietly working on her plan to become an editorial/celebrity nail tech for the last 9 years. She won't be able to contain this secret much longer.  I first spotted this rising star when her work was featured on the cover of NAILS magazine. Hometown girl, Julie Kandalec has signed with the prestigous Artists by Timothy Priano Agency as a free lance manicurist and will be leaving salon life behind. Kandalec chose New York for its focus on print work and advertising and will be moving there in October.The last two and a half years she has been busy making a name for herself in the fashion world part time and will soon take the plunge working fulltime.  I had the honor of sitting down with this nail dynamo recently to get the inside scoop.

 Her love of nails started very early in life and her father encouraged her to follow her passion. "  I've always been artsy, I opened a pretend beauty salon in my basement with my cousins when I was ten." Once she started beauty school her so-so academics soared to straight A's and she knew this was the right opportunity.  Entering the work force she landed at Jennifer and Company in Mentor and had no idea her boss, Jennifer Pealer, would soon be a very influential person in her career. Jennifer encourages the staff to participate in photo sessions about once a year in the salon. Kandalec found her calling that very first shoot and started researching what it would take to do magazine work. Needing a portfolio of her work she found a class by Crystal Wright in LA that helps aspiring techs do just that. There was only one problem, Kandalec didn't have the money to invest. Another stylist at the salon encouraged Kandalec to ask Jennifer to pay for the class.  Hesitant Kandalec thought "How can I ask her to pay for something that might end up taking me away from here?", but her determination soon won out. Jennifer was thrilled to help Kandalec with her dream and funded that class in 2001. She has since become her number one mentor. "Jennifer has given all of us so much support, if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here." Kandalec shares. Once at the class in LA she knew she was supposed to pursue this dream it felt so right and she felt so comfortable. Crystal Wright who owns the Crystal Wright Agency in LA has been a tremendous role model for Kandalec as well. Attending her portfolio class in LA was a life changing decision and Wright has been guiding her career since that very first meeting. Meeting the right people is a large part of the battle but it takes good old fashioned hard work to win the war. Kandalec is a tireless worker that feels if something is worth doing it is worth doing right. This incredible work ethic and her passion for her art is the combination that will take her right to the top.

Kandalec will be in New York for Fashion Week September 7-14th. You can see some of her work at