Nail Art

7 iconic on-screen nail looks

7 iconic on-screen nail looks

Think Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl without that classic winged eyeliner, or Johnny Depp as Edward Scissor Hands without the wild jet-black hair and pale, scarred complexion.

Make-up and hair dramatically help build out a character’s persona and we believe that it’s the same for nails.

Here are 7 iconic nail looks from TV and film:

Morticia Addams

The Addams Family

Morbidly funny, gothic comedy-horror The Addam’s Family was rebooted in 1991 by Barry Sonnenfield and quickly became a cult classic. It starred Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd and a young Christina Ricci as Wednesday.

Played by Huston, Morticia Addams’s whole femme fatale, witchy aesthetic is still iconic and influential to this day – complete with her signature smokey eye, form-fitting black gowns, long black center-parted hair and red lips. However, the look would not be complete without her blood-red talons.

Despite being wonderfully weird with a penchant for the monstrous, the family is incredibly loving towards each other (except for feuding siblings Wednesday and Pugsley) with Gomez and Morticia Addam’s being utterly obsessed with one another.

Morticia’s gothy glam is offset with an heir of pure romance that comes from the accents of red and details like her tentacled fishtail dress.

With the family set to return to our screens on Netflix with Wednesday Addams taking the lead in an 8 part series Wednesday, directed by Tim Burton – “AddamsCore” is a trend that we think will take off in fashion, beauty and interior design this winter. The new series will launch on November 23 and will star Jenna Ortega as Wednesday, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia and will see Christina Ricci return as a new character.

This spooky season, we are getting flashbacks to Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s showstopping 2018 Halloween costume when the couple dressed up as Morticia and Gomez Addams complete with “Thing” – the family’s pet severed hand.

Elle Woods

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde! Arguably one of the greatest chick flicks of all time. It’s a hot pink riot full of unlikely friendships, classic movie montages and revenge. Plus, it stars the one and only Jennifer Coolidge as a scatty buxom nail tech with a heart of gold – Paulette Bonafonté Parcelle.

Elle Woods, played by a young Reece Witherspoon sports an immaculate french mani throughout the movie – the stand-out nail trend of the Y2K bimbo era. Both the Y2K and the bimbo aesthetic have seen a resurgence in popularity in 2022 with fashionistas unashamedly sporting their love of pink or wearing it ironically.

Legally Blonde, literally had everyone wanting to be a lawyer with a pink fluffy pen and served as a great reminder to go out there, and prove people wrong.

Aside from Elle’s classic manicure, Paulette reminds us that chrome nail art existed before Hailey Bieber with a perfect pink chrome set.

Mia Wallace

Pulp fiction

People went so wild for Uma Thurman’s nail color in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction – Chanel’s Le Vernis Longwear Nail Polish “Rouge Noir”- that the polish subsequently sold out everywhere following the movie’s release. Thankfully the color has long since been restocked.

Mia Wallace was Thurman’s breakthrough role and earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The character quickly became a cultural icon.

Wallace was modeled after actress Anna Karina, a prominent figure of the French New and Wave Jean-Luc Godard’s muse. For Mia’s look in the film, costume designer Betsy Heimann based it on Reservoir Dogs with a feminine twist and was inspired by silent film stars and the concept of the femme fatale. Her blunt black bob and red lips pair flawlessly with her Chanel-manicured hands always complete with a cigarette.

Wallace’s dark, French femme aesthetic has inspired since the movie was released in 1994 and is another character we see paid homage to on Halloween.

Maddie

Euphoria

The frenzy of Euphoria is a recent example of how much a TV show can influence style and beauty at an extreme scale. The graphic eyeliner trend that has had the beauty industry in a chokehold over the past few years is thanks almost entirely to the teen drama.

Natalie Minerva is the nail artist behind all of Euphoria’s fabulous nail looks. Our favorite and the ones that social media lost their minds over the most were the black and white curved set from the house party in season 2.

Bold square and an abstract alternative to the classic French, this set was so perfect for the character’s Y2K Selena-esque baddie aesthetic. The internet lost its mind over the scene where Maddie is banging on the door while Nathan and Cassie were getting busy in the bathroom – not only for the high anxiety of it all, but also for the nails that complimented Maddie’s cut-out dress expertly. That look had brands scrambling to bring out their own versions.

The nails were so simple but so impactful that they were replicated every which way by the online nail community worldwide.

We couldn’t leave out the set from the hot tub scene that wouldn’t have hit the same without the clicking of the nails to punctuate Maddie’s obscene language.

Effie Trinket

The Hunger Games

Effie Trinket is a firm fan-favorite from The Hunger Games franchise, actualized by actress Elizabeth Banks. Effie is famous for her pink hair-do and bright, bold elaborate fashion sense that proceeds to level up throughout the trilogy.

Over the three films, we see Effie’s character arc from a grotesque picture of governmental wealth and power as the stuck-up escort for the District 12 tributes, to a somewhat softer fashionista who displays respect and even friendship to Katniss Everdene.

Effie’s many grandiose outfits are always accentuated with an equally garish set of nails. Sometimes the character’s nails were so long that they caused Banks trouble doing anything on set.

“I had, like, ladies in waiting that would [come to the bathroom with me]. … I would stop drinking water I felt so bad,” she told Ellen Degeneres on The Ellen Show speaking of her “huge, bejewelled nails from the sequel Catching Fire. “They’re really cool, but completely impractical,” she added.

Likely the most memorable of Trinket’s many nail looks is the frosted pink set from the first movie – Trinket’s first scene that sees her in a dusty pink suit maliciously calling out the names of the tributes.

Selina Kyle

Catwoman

Ertha Kitt, Halle Berry, Zoe Kravitz – the devilishly seductive character of Catwoman has been played by many beautiful Black women. But Kravitz’s nails in 2022’s The Batman elevated the character of Selina Kyle to new levels of fierceness.

It’s hard to imagine that the dangerously sharp nude stiletto nails we see on Krazitz in the movie weren’t originally planned.

According to an interview with Buzzfeed, Kravitz came up with the idea for Catwoman’s extremely long nails: “We shot two months before quarantine and everything shut down, so in that time, I started to grow my nails out because we couldn’t get manicures .”

“I had this idea to take it further” she said. “I called Matt [Matt Reeves, the movie’s director] and was like, I have this idea, we should do crazy, bitchy, wonderful scary nails that looked like claws. No nail polish on them, so they looked more like claws, and we were able to incorporate it last minute.”

They didn’t come without their challenges though -” learning how to shoot a gun without breaking a nail was a new skill I developed,” she joked.

Connie

Big Mouth

Connie, voiced by Maya Rudoph is a fan-favorite character from the ludicrously silly but painfully relatable series Big Mouth about a bunch of pubescent kids and their raging immortalized hormones. Connie is a super emotional, sassy “hormone monster” to smart, depressed teen Jessie and late bloomer Nick. In 2021, Rudolph won an Emmy for outstanding character voice-over for the performance.

In the earlier series of Big MouthConnie’s claws were bare but in the later seasons, they are painted a wicked red that fits her perfectly.

It was actually Connie’s new claws that got us thinking about the importance of nails and nail art on screen. They add so much to the overall look and feel of the character – so much so that the animators of Big Mouth revised their original design.

Can you name any more on-screen characters with iconic nail looks? Who did we miss?