Madeline Poole, Nail Artist


“I had never painted nails before a year ago—I would do my own, but I wasn’t aware that I was good at it. I was actually a painter; I did miniature painting, and painting restoration. My mom was a muralist and also did furniture painting, so I learned a lot of different techniques growing up and through work, which I could apply to nails. It’s basically the same thing, it’s just a different surface. A lot of nail stylists just paint plain colors, which I enjoy doing, too, but I do designs that I think are my signature looks: an outline, a gradient, and a galaxy. Things that I didn’t quote-unquote invent, but I do them well.

I have all sorts of makeup on—my number one thing is eye shadow: it’s orange and brown mixed together. I’ve always worn brown-y-orange shadow. I could never find the right color, so I just went to MAC one day—they can make you a custom two- or four-palette if you pick the colors you want. I got two shadesOrange and Antiqued, so I could mix them together. I have green eyes, and the orange-brown is, like, the opposite color—I think that’s why it works. Plus my eyes are really squinty, and this is the only thing that makes them look a little bigger. Eyeliner looks crazy on me—it looks like my eyes are closed. [Laughs] So I use a brush and put the shadow all around my eyes, under and over. I go through so much of this stuff. I’ve had a million palettes; I’m always replacing them. But it works on me, so why not?

I like purplish blushes since I have a bit of a red complexion; it kind of tones it down. My favorite one is the highlighting blush by Nars in New Order. I’m not sure if my color theory makes sense but I like the combination of the purplish blush with the orange eye shadow, and my hazel eyes. Then, I’ll use an eyebrow sculptor—Tom Ford, the Espresso color—and some clear mascara on my eyebrows. And sometimes I’ll wear the Nars Bronzer in Laguna—it’s subtle and has a really fine shimmer, not a very obvious one. It's more of a glow than a bronzer. For lips, I usually wear this purple-y YSL lipstick, Exquisite Plum, and I also really like the YSL mascara—the waterproof kind. It stays on, really stays on! And honestly I like their products because of the ornate, borderline-gaudy packaging… it’s fun to put the lipstick on; it makes me feel like my grandma.”

—as told to ITG

Photographed by Emily Weiss in Los Angeles on August 28th 2012. Madeline Poole wears a top by Nasty Gal and pants from “a swap meet in San Francisco.” Her makeup bag “probably came from somewhere similar or somewhere like H&M. I go through those things really fast because I’m messy...”

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN

    Back in the day when we were getting our nail art (unicorns, Mickey, Kermit; etc.) everyone used to think it was all of a sudden...(side eyes, roll eyes)

  • Amalie Espeland

    love this! her outfit is awesome x

  • Genevieve Casey

    She's very pretty!

  • Rob Rumsey

    She is the truth. The work is like 10 little pieces of art you get to walk around with.

  • SE

    That pineapple top! Does anyone know where it's from? Thanks! xo

    • ITGNick

      Nasty Gal!

  • Lauren

    Are those boots Doc Martens? love em

  • Nomadic D.

    Such a fun profile. When you read it she sounds insane, orange eyeshadow and purple blush!?! But then you look at her and she looks absolutely (and very naturally) beautiful. Who knew? Maybe it's time I experimented a little with some stranger shades... Definitely going to check them out.