There's the dreamers, the hustlers, the lucky ones and then, well, there's Madeline Poole. Some kids grew up aspiring to be the next Anna Wintours of the world and some dreamed of being the next MObama; but for Poole, there was a more—how do we put this?—interesting way of a determining her career path.
"I was living in L.A. hustling to get work in any capacity. I'd been there for about a year and a half working at Ban.do sewing headband samples. I nannied, worked on a food truck, painted houses. Post-college, new city (I moved from Baltimore in 2009), wide open field of confusion ahead of me—I was trying everything. I ended up assisting a prop stylist, Jen Gotch, on a Nordstrom catalogue shoot and that was the first time I saw a manicurist on set. I was just watching her [smiling and scrolling through an iPad] and thinking it looked nice, and I thought I'd be good at it because I'm a freak and can paint really straight lines. During art school, I had worked at a poster restoration shop in Baltimore and we fixed vintage posters with the tiniest brushes. So I went home and tried painting some friends nails (I had only ever painted my own nails a few times in my life). I don't know, maybe a week had passed and I decided it was the answer to all my confusion. It seemed like a career and a passion and a hobby and an art form all at the same time. So I dove in." And, well, the rest (projects with Vogue, Teen Vogue, Cov-alum Reece Hudson, countless campaigns, an editorial with Sky Ferreira and, uh, yours truly) is history.
While you may know Poole better by her social moniker, @MPNails, we know Poole—personally—as that insanely talented nail genius who uses a teeny tiny brush as her magic wand and a single nail bed as her canvas to turn fingertips into minuscule works of museum-worthy art. When nail art became ‘a thing,’ Poole kinda dominated the entire scene by recreating everything from designer decals to famous pop art prints. And aside from being a total magician of sorts when it comes to painting pint-sized Picassos and sh*t on nailbeds, she also has one of the most enviable tomboy-cause-I-actually-took-this-straight-from-my-boyfriend's-closet kind of style.
We caught up with the bi-coastal, bleach blonde babe (blame it on Aura Friedman at Sally Hershberger—who else?) in L.A. at her pinked-out pad in Westlake. After fawning over her Fleur du Mal-inspired nail art situation (miss the full tutorial? Don't worry, we got you), Poole showed us some of her favorite things (read: Supreme sweatshirts, which may/or may not belong to the aforementioned boyfriend, a Band of Outsiders jean jacket, treasures from Mondo Mondo, CHANEL nail files and vintage Tees.) Side note: Poole is pretty much an Olympic gold medalist when it comes to ‘the hunt.’ Her secret sources? Baltimore (represent!), C Madeline's in Miami and Goodwill in L.A. "Be ready to devote your whole day to looking through dusty piles!" she told us.
After rummaging through her closet, Poole opened up the, uh, piece de resistance/her most prized possession: her nail polish kit—a fully-stocked, color-coordinated archive of, like, every nail color in every shade from just about every brand. Just when you think you've seen it all (Hermès hoarders, CHANEL connoisseurs, Louboutin and Louis Vuitton lovers, Céline stockpilers, etc.), we see this. Enter: The holy grail of nail polish that rivals "Sandra's Nails" or whatever that sketchy salon on your street corner is called. Oh, and for the record? Poole's opening her own place to "to hang out, use the internet, see friends, get your nails done, change your shoes, drink tea" and more. It's called Secret Spa and it's coming soon to a street corner near you.