Our latest Nails of New York spotlights beauty publicist Julia Murphree. Known to have at least six polishes in her purse when she's traveling, Julia's nails are always impeccably polished and are a signature detail of her look. Influenced through the years of going to the salon with her mom and with experience in public relations, social media, and digital at both agencies and most recently L'OREAL and Nars, Julia is always at the forefront of the latest nail trends and has a playful way of making her nails seem approachable. Read more to learn about her focus on evolving the beauty industry in the digital age, her translation of New York life into her nails, and the influence her parents had in shaping her love for nails.
In one word how does a manicure make you feel?
First memories of getting your nails done?
My mom has always placed a lot of importance on manicures. When I was a little girl, I'd go with her to the salon and sit while she got her nails done. I was fascinated by how glam the entire process was. I'd beg her to get a fun color, like bright red or fuchsia, but she always went with something more understated, like a sheer pink. That's when I realized how personal nails are. My mom's hands always looked so pretty and feminine, and I remember thinking, when I grow up I want to be the kind of woman who alway has her nails done.
When did you become such a nail girl?
I've always been nail-obsessed. When I was a little girl, my father told me he'd give me $100 if I quite biting my nails. I stopped that day. Then at around five years old, I started going to the nail salon with my mom. In high school, I went through an acrylic nails phase (90s!). In college, I transitioned to natural nails and started getting regular manicures. I got into nail art when I moved to New York and started working in beauty.
How do you pick your design?
So many things inspire me. I love translating a fashion trend into nail art. I've tried everything: gingam, floral, crystal, marble, stars, cutouts, constellations, stripes, mixed prints, minimal lines. The list is endless. Sometimes a color combination really speaks to me, and I"ll play with different shapes and angles. I also love getting festive designs for special occasions.
When do you notice your nails the most?
In the morning when I'm deciding which jewelry to put on. I'm ring-obsessed, and my manicure is the backdrop for my bling.
Polish or gel?
I honestly can't commit to a color or design for too long. I like to change my nails whenever the mood strikes. Plus, I find that if you apply a topcoat to a regular manicure a few times a week, it will last for about ten days. I have nothing against gel but for me it seems unnecessary.
How many polishes do you have in total?
About 300. That's normal, right?
What are your favorites this season?
The Essie summer collection is fantastic. Sweet Souffle (a pearly white) and S'il Vous Play (a pinkish-lavender chrome) are my favorites. Floss Gloss has a great new color called Lipliner (a dusty rose) and one called Night Palm (a deep, leafy green), which is super-glam. Smith and Cult's Plastic Beach is my favorite bright at the moment. It has a serious 80s vibe. I'm also loving unconventional neutrals like dove grey, pale mauve, and millennial pink (yes, it's a neutral now!).
How did you get into beauty PR?
I moved from Boston to New York City immediately after college to pursue a career in fashion. I was fortunate enough to land a job at a prestigious PR agency. They had an opening on the beauty team, and I figured it was a great way to get my foot in the door. I ended up loving everything about the beauty space and never looked back.
What has been the coolest thing you've had the opportunity to do through work?
I was lucky enough to attend the Oscars a few years ago. I've never been fazed by celebrities but to see every A-lister on the red carpet at once was absolutely unreal.
Tell us a little about your new job.
'I've had the opportunity to work on so many amazing brands handling PR, digital, social media, and more. I recently left my corporate position to pursue freelance opportunities. It was a difficult decision, but I'm ready to be challenged in new ways. The beauty industry has changed so much over the past decade, and I plan to evolve with it. I'm excited about the road ahead.
When do you get your best ideas?
Exploring New York City. I walk everywhere and am inspired by the flowers, rivers, sky, and other natural elements of the city. Not to mention the street art, the food. the shops, the galleries, and of course, the people. There's so much visual stimulation, and inspiration is everywhere! It's such a cliché, but whoever said it definitely lived here!