If you bring her a picture of your favourite Andy Warhol silkscreen or just bedazzle her with a glimpse of your new favourite semi-precious stone, renowned nail artist Elyse Connery can make your favourite things come to life on the tips of your fingers. As an esthetician at The Ten Spot Roncesvalles, one of Toronto’s most beloved manicure hubs, Connery flexes her creative muscles on the regular for her more adventurous clients. And her creativity doesn’t end there. At night, Connery goes by the name Bunny Angora as she takes the stage with the iconic Toronto burlesque troupe, The Harlettes. We caught up with Connery to find out her favourite nail trends and polishes, what’s in her beauty bag, and what it’s like changing personas for her stage job.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
First and foremost, at my day job I am an esthetician with a great group of ladies at The Ten Spot Roncesvalles. By night, I am a burlesque dancer with another great group of ladies, The Harlettes. For fun, I love traveling and and spending time with my loved ones and family.
As a nail artist, what have been some of the most innovative things you’ve painted on customers’ nails?
I love it when clients come to me with inspiration instead of a set they want to replicate – that way I’m really free to be creative and show my style. Recently a client came to me with photos of precious stones and rocks that really spoke to her and let me run free creating nails to replicate the colours and patterns of the stones. I have to say, I thought that was pretty innovative and a nice change. Also, I have a regular client who is really into pop art. We recently did a Keith Haring set and, before that, Roy Lichtenstein. That’s the kind of stuff that really gets me charged and excited. Now that you’ve gotten me started, I could go on forever about how innovative some of my clients are!
Do you have favourite brands of nail polish and if so why?
I get asked this a lot, and no, I’m more of a colour girl. My favourtie colours vary from brand to brand. Right now I’m all about the darks and neons. I love OPI Life Gave Me Lemons, OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest, Covergirl Outlast in Wine Stain #275 (may I add this is a great, easy-to-apply dark dark red if you have trouble with these colours streaking), Essie Sittin’ Pretty… and I’ll stop there because, again, I’ll go on for days!
What are your favourite nail trends of the moment?
A lot of my inspiration and favourite nail trends come from the burlesque community. My favourite nail trend right now are half-moon sets. I have been working on reinventing them by incorporating different shapes, sparkles, or interesting colour combinations. But, of course, I love the traditional nude half-moon with a deep red. (See: Dita Von Teese’s nails.)
What do you think some of the next big nail trends will be?
I am seeing a return to old traditions and I love it. (Thank you, Mad Men!) I’m obsessed with the return to the 50s and 60s nail style: very oval and long enough to be sexy, but not so long that you can’t function. Not to mention, a lot of the time this shape lends itself better to allowing your nails to grow without the corners catching on things. This paired with a Betty Draper-esque powder pink – stunning.
You’re also a member of the burlesque troupe. Tell us more and do you have a stage persona?
Yes, I am! I have been a member of the iconic Toronto burlesque troupe, The Harlettes, for four years. We are known for our amazing sense of humour and our hilarious and tailored group acts. I’ve traveled throughout Canada performing in festivals and have co-produced (with the Harlettes) our signature shows, and we are headed to New York this fall for the prestigious New York Burlesque Festival. My stage persona is Bunny Angora.
Where and when do you perform and what can we expect from a show?
The Harlettes produce our signature shows twice a year, one of which being our annual Burlesque Oscars show, held every year on the Sunday of the Oscars at Revival. In the meantime, we perform solos in venues across the city and in as many festivals as we can. You can expect to laugh a lot and to see some incredibly diverse and beautiful performances.
What’s always in your beauty bag?
First of all, I try not to suggest cleansers and moisturizers because those are specific to my skincare needs. So the following are products that I think are great for everyone that I use every day…
– Korres Milk Protein Wipes
– Thayers Rose Petal Toner
– Dr. Jart+ BB Cream
– Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer
– Bare Minerals Original SPF Foundation Powder
– Benefit Feelin’ Dandy Lip & Cheek Kit
– Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Just when I thought all the hard questions were over… I am such a food nerd that this is nearly impossible to answer. So I’ll just say that I had two of the best meals of my life in the last month so I’ll just mention them both. First was Langdon Hall. Langdon Hall’s dining room is absolutely stunning. It is set in a colonial country house in Cambridge on top of a hill with orchards and gardens surrounding it. All the the food is local, if not grown on the premises. Incredible, delicate, in-season, perfection. I can’t say enough. The Smoked Pecan Butter Cream Panna Cotta is a must. The other magical dinner I had was on Momofuku Daishō‘s patio for Summerlicious. David Chang is my hero. Just go eat there and have the roasted rice cakes.
Let’s get social. How do we stay up to date with you?
I am not the best with this social media stuff. I’m on Instagram, and on Facebook you can find The Harlettes and Bunny Angora. The Harlettes also have Twitter.