Inside the life of Dee, who has 12-inch-long fingernails

Dee (@goldeelocs10) has been growing her fingernails for over 35 years, and today they measure 12 inches in length. The retired postal service worker has learned how to do all sorts of day-to-day tasks despite her unconventionally long nails, like washing the dishes. But perhaps even more impressive is that she is a certified makeup artist and licensed nail technician.

“I decided to start growing my nails out when I was 27 years old,” says Dee. “My mom had long nails, and I wanted to be just like her. So I finally decided to grow them, and I guess I got carried away.”

Dee’s nails are covered in stunning, elaborate designs, and one of Dee’s pinky nails is actually made of 14 karat gold. “It’s melted down old jewelry that was broken, and I didn’t wanna repair it,” explains Dee. She went to a jeweler “and had them make me a fingernail,” says the makeup artist and nail tech. At 4.5 inches long, the pinky nail is significantly shorter than the rest of her nails. “If I had some more gold to melt down, I guess I’d make it longer, but this is it, and I absolutely love it.”

Dee loves expressing herself with her long nails and the designs she puts on them. She also loves to creatively express herself by doing makeup and nails for others. “I absolutely love the art of doing makeup and nails,” gushes Dee. “I still have fun doing makeup and doing nails ’cause I’m creating, and I love the creative side of myself. Being a makeup artist, I see a face as a blank canvas for me to work on and create and make people beautiful and pretty, and then I like to hear the response of how they absolutely love what I do and appreciate how they look at the end of what I do.”

How Dee responds to criticism about her nails

While Dee’s clients have nothing but appreciation for the work she does, Dee admits that she faces negative criticism all the time because of her long nails. For instance, Dee says that people have purposely placed pens on counters instead of handing them to her because they just want to see how she’ll pick it up. “It’s even worse now on social media,” she adds. 

But Dee knows that facing negativity comes with marching to the beat of one’s own drum. “If you’re going outside of the box, or you’re coloring outside the lines, you’re not playing in the sandbox like everybody else, go for it,” says Dee. “People are going to talk about you whether you’re near-perfect, because there’s no such thing as perfect. People are going to talk about you anyway. Give them something to talk about as a matter of fact. How about that?”

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