Welcome to summer 2019, where the weather is hot and the trends are even hotter. And who better to be the authority on what's hot in the beauty world than Queer Eye star and hairstylist extraordinaire, who has a firm grasp on all things personal style and authenticity that we can all aspire to — emphasis on personal style. When I ask over the phone about the summer 2019 nail trends Van Ness considers his favorites, he quickly clarifies that he's "not really a trendy nail person." Rather, he uses things like nail colors and nail art as a vessel for personal self-expression.
Of course, nails aren't the only driving force behind Van Ness' authenticity and ability to express himself. If you're familiar with the actor, hairstylist, figure skater, budding gymnast, yoga aficionado, and so on, you know Van Ness uses many things traditionally associated with femininity, like nail art, flowing skirts, heels, and so much more as tools to express his personal style. This all plays perfectly into his most recent partnership with Essie.
Van Ness' partnership with the nail polish brand is meaningful in more ways than just through a love of nail colors, of course. In a recent interview with Out Magazine regarding the partnership, Van Ness came out as non-binary and said that he's game for "any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the [gender] binary."
"I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to," he told the publication. "I always used to think 'Oh, I’m like a gay man,' but I think any way I can let little boys and little girls know that they can express themselves and they can like be — like, making iconic partnerships with brands like Essie no matter now they present is really important and exciting."
It's clear Van Ness was already breaking down the unnecessary stereotypes of the gender binary. And now, with help from Essie, he's doing so even more — and helping everyone else join in. Essie and Van Ness have concocted a signature abstract rainbow nail look using seven different Essie polishes ($9, Essie) that span the colors of the rainbow. The overall design is a semi-marble, semi-mosaic rainbow creation on just a couple nails on each hand. Although Van Ness says he's not necessarily one for nail trends, this abstract creation contains a design and nail colors that Van Ness tells me are some of his faves as of late.
"I'm more of a 'what I'm currently going through' nail person. I like looking fresh. I really like to express it through my nails," he says. "I'm feeling a little neon right now, but also feeling a little mosaic-y, so I'm probably going to do a lot of mixtures and neon colors ... I feel like I've really had an Ariana Grande '7 rings' thing, like, 'I want it, I got it.' I haven't been really holding back on my nail whim."
There are some manicure trends out there, however, that Van Ness simply isn't going to try — and he has some pretty damn good reasons for not doing so.
"I don't do bigger attachments on my nails because I do hair, so I can't, and with figure skating and gymnastics, I can't be tearing off a big long acrylic working on my fitness or working on someone's hair," says Van Ness. "I'm scared of losing a nail, you know what I mean? That's why I don't want to attach something onto it, too, because that's my biggest fear — and I've already ripped them twice."
Yes, you heard that correctly. Van Ness tells me he's experienced what is my and likely everyone's worst nightmare: having a nail ripped off. He says the first incident occurred when he was in ninth grade and was the result of a "a tragic waterfall-rock-finger-smashing accident." (Yikes.) The second incident, he says, involved having one of his big toenails ripped off in a prank gone wrong. "It's all fun and games until someone's big toenail gets ripped off."
Thankfully, Van Ness' self-described "nail trauma" is behind him, and he's now focusing on nailing (pun absolutely intended) down his ~lewk~ for Pride. (ICYMI, World Pride is occurring in New York City this year on Sunday, June 30, 2019.) You can catch Van Ness "[going] for a crop top moment," as per usual, and rocking his "Essie nail polish on [his] pinkies."
This summer, and, well, forever, don't be afraid to take a page out of Van Ness' book and let whatever's "trending" pass you by in favor of a nail look — or any type of look, for that matter —that best represents you and what you're feeling at that moment. Of course, if you, too, are celebrating Pride or you're just really feelin' Van Ness' bright nail colors and mosaic-style designs (honestly, same), you can find a full breakdown of Van Ness' nail look right here. All the Essie colors used — and so many more — are available for purchase right now, so get ready, honey, because you're about to nail it on your next mani.