When the creators of “Jersey Shore” developed a show around Katie Cazorla, they put their fingernail on the pulse of what people want on reality television – an outrageous character, lots of action, and a great manicure. Cazorla stars in “The Nail Files,” a new original reality series debuting on TV Guide Network, Tuesday, June 21, though you can watch the first episode, plus lots of video extras, starting June 14, a week before its television premiere, on xfinityTV.com and XFINITY On Demand.
The show follows Cazorla growing her salon, The Painted Nail, laughing a new line of polishes, dealing with staff problems, and managing her relationship with Walter Afanasieff, a Grammy award-winning music legend who’s written and produced hits for Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion. When we caught up with Cazorla, she had just taken refuge in her office after finishing an interview with Access Hollywood.
Dressed in white tights, a tie-dyed tank top and platform sandals, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Nails” assured her overwhelmed assistant that the elaborate design on her right hand was not a tattoo. “Oh God no, Walter would kill me,” she said. “It’s henna.” She then addressed the day’s latest issue.
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“One of my nail technicians who thought she was going to be the star of the show, came in and was like I don’t want to work here anymore, goodbye and left us with like a full schedule,” explained Cazorla. “Just like that. She’s like I want to open my own salon in Beverly Hills and I’m like I hope she knows what it takes.” Cazorla certainly does – and she spoke to us about that and her new series.
You saw the first episode recently. In it, you go to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. What did you think? It’s crazy. I was like I can’t believe this is my life. I also can’t believe I didn’t at some point put my hands around someone’s neck and just squeeze really hard or. There are also shots of me just slumped over at a bar somewhere. But that’s my life.
What’s one moment from that show that stands out as typical of your craziness? On the first day, we set up a shot where I was going to be flying to Sundance and I was questioning the production company about how this could possibly look realistic. But then as we drove to the airport, the driver went into a diabetic shock. He missed the exits, I thought I was going to miss the plane…it was a big disaster. I guess it set the tone.
How did you get into the nail business? I opened The Painted Nail two years ago. I mainly thought why are nail salons so gross? Why are they so junky and small and smelly and nobody cares to talk to you? I decided that I was going to change it. I wanted something that was looked like a spa but was also fun. Not like wind chimes and a Buddha and like a waterfall. I wanted it to be fabulous, with good music and fun treatments. Most of our people that come in love it and they totally – they totally get it. Who doesn’t want to sit in a big comfy chair, get your feet rubbed and have a free glass of wine?
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What were you doing before you opened the salon? I was a comic for 10 years in LA. I had a show at the Comedy Store. I’d open for some fun people. But it’s hard to make money unless you become gigundo. You don’t really make money being a comic. You do it for the love of the comedy. But that wears thin and then you become one of those bitter jaded comics who uses the F-word every five minutes and talks about your horrible marriage. I didn’t want to be one of those women who just forgets to wear makeup and starts wearing looser and baggier clothes and then all of a sudden one day I wake up with a mullet and I’m wearing a tailored blazer. It’s like I don’t want to be that person. I want to be a fun glamour girl until the day I keel over.
Were there any limits when you were shooting the show? I didn’t want cameras around while I was brushing my teeth. I think it looks disgusting. That was the one stipulation I made. But they shot it anyway.
What was the craziest thing that happened? What didn’t happen? It’s hard to run a business where everyone wants to look beautiful and glamorous and be the top bitch, but have to tell them, no, they can’t be – because I’m the top bitch.
Is there good gossip in your salon? Are you kidding? I call my girls nail therapists.
You’re engaged to Walter, who is quite accomplished. Among his credits, he produced Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” How did he propose to you? He sent me an email with a picture of the ring and asked, “Do you like this?” We’re so 2011 it’s not even funny.
Do you have any tips about nails? Yes. Cuticle oil is your best friend. There’s nothing worse than seeing skin all dry and scagged up.
Anything else? Invest in a pumice stone and get rid of that dry, hard patch on the back of your heel. Don’t let it grow. I notice that on women a lot. They have perfectly manicured and painted toes, but then you see their heel and go what the F? I just want to go rub lotion on those things. People, please keep that patch moisturized.
Why should someone watch your show? I think it’s fun and entertaining, and I also think it’s inspirational. It’s about making a vision I had into a reality, into a success. Much of reality TV is a sleaze fest with bimbo blonds who either don’t know what tuna fish is or get drunk and jump into hot tubs with randoms.
But Katie, you’re blond. I’ll tell you a secret. My roots are dark. This (she gestures to her blond mane) is hair dye. This brain bleeds brunette. So it’s like you know, I love being a blonde. I think it’s fun and I just like the way it looks. But when it comes down to business it is all brunette up there.