Perhaps one of the most overlooked moments of the 2008 presidential race was the endorsement of Barack Obama by Empress Stephanie, one of the nation’s most influential nail polish bloggers.
Stephanie, who volunteered for the campaign near the University of Florida campus, where she is studying law, modestly declines to take credit for this month’s Obama landslide.
“My nail art was actually just a fun way to show solidarity and support for a candidate and a cause that I truly believe in with all my heart,” she says, in an exclusive interview with the Media Lab.
“I think the campaign staff for President Obama was uniquely brilliant in deciding to create a small, recognizable and easily duplicated image as the symbol for the campaign. Not only was it easy to recreate on nails, but all over the city where I live there were makeshift painted or drawn Obama symbols.”
“When I posted my Obama manicure in the nail community, all the McCain supporters lamented that they had no equivalent symbol with which to create nail art,” she adds. “They ended up wearing plain red, which is one of the most common colors for nails. Having red nails is so common that any intended political statement would be muted. I don’t think the same can be said for my manicure.”
Empress Stephanie’s artwork is especially impressive when you consider it takes a surgeon’s hand to paint such tiny details on your own nail. Now, if she were able to duplicate the feat on the larger canvas of her big toe, that would make her Elastigirl.
Erika, a faithful PolishAddict.com reader and sociology student at the University of Illinois-Chicago, tried to give the Republican ticket equal visibility on her nails.
On election night, as the voting results were streaming in, she first painted the Obama hope symbol and then attempted a McCain nail (blue with a yellow line and a white star) next to it so she could “at least appear to be nonpartisan.”
There is unfortunately no photographic record of her gracious gesture.
“It just so happened that my painting skills sucked and he wasn’t included,” Erika says. “In hindsight, I wish I would have practiced and painted my nails prior to election night because I would have included McCain… because he is a respectable guy.”
John McCain did get equal representation at the Before and After Salon in Naples, Florida — but the $25 caricatures were not very flattering.
Salon owner Christianne Lawson told the media that not a single customer has requested Joe Biden-themed nails. No offense to Lawson, but I think this is more of a reflection of shoddy artwork than it is a verdict on Biden’s popularity.
Ladies, through the miracle of Photoshop, you can now imagine how your Biden manicure might look if just a little care went into the graphics!
NUANCES OF LANGUAGE FOOTNOTE: When I see the phrase “Polish Addict,” I immediately think of an Eastern European vodka lover or a Warsaw heroin dealer. Maybe Stephanie’s heroin needle logo further cements that image. However, upon further scrutiny, this nail polish Web site has absolutely no bias against the Poles or any other nationality.
Katia, a nursing assistant from Joplin, Missouri, knew she couldn’t wear an Obama t-shirt to the polls, but she could sneak in a plug on her nails “without being told to go wipe it off.”
I can’t tell who won in Missouri from the dozen or so electoral maps I’ve scrutinized. With all ballots counted, McCain led Obama by a shoestring 49.4 percent to 49.3 percent margin — and some political Web site say the results are a “tie” for the state’s 11 electoral votes.
I didn’t know there was any such thing in politics. Nevertheless, Katia’s hospital co-workers are mostly Republicans and treated her with “disdain” upon seeing her nails. George Bush won the state easily in 2004, maybe because Katia wasn’t flashing any John Kerry on her fingers.
Katia figures she’s retiring the “Hope” nail design, but quickly adds, “I think there will be manicures related to causes of the Obama administration, however.”
Stem cell research? Closing Gitmo? Raising taxes on the rich?
Suggestions for Katia’s next politi-cure, anyone?
Love Barack Obama? Find out how gentle (or not) he was with Baby Dahlia, my daughter who ventured out on the campaign trail to meet all of the candidates before she turned six months old.
Love nail polish? Check out the Soviet stuff favored by Bullwinkle’s archnemesis. Or get philosophical and struggle with the question if your pedicure might be a violation of animal rights.
What’s it like to be lunch? Read the gripping first-person account, “My First Fish Pedicure,” a story that may force you to re-evaluate your relationship with your feet — and the people you love the most.