FINAL TOUCHES: Camille Lezama putting the finishing touches on her 3D Christmas nail art.

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Lezama's festive 3D nail art

By Kimoy Leon Sing

I think Meredith Wilson said it best when she wrote the 1951 song, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...."

There is no denying that Christmas is definitely in the air as we hear the sweet sounds of parang music blasting from the boom boxes of vendors' mobile units in Port of Spain; and beautifully decorated department store windows done up with streamers in colours of red, green and gold. As we count down the days to the big day, it is customary to see people celebrate this festive holiday in their own way.

So this year if you are looking for ideas; why not try something sweet and chic for your upcoming Christmas and/or New Year's parties. While it is always fun, as women, to get a new outfit why not let your nails do the talking instead and let them spread some holiday magic of their own. From peppermint candy canes; bright red mistletoe and even Christmas trees strung with hundreds of miniature lights all aglow, Camille Darcia Lezama does not hesitate to bring the joy of Christmas in her own way; 3D.

Lezama, a hard working immigration officer currently based at the Piarco Airport sees dozens of people on a daily basis. Always ready for work; dressed in her uniform; shoes clean and hair simply styled, Lezama takes her work very seriously and admits it can quite physically demanding. Someone who usually shies away from the spotlight, Lezama's nails however always take centre stage. An immigration officer for three and half years, Lezama says she has been in the public service for the past 11 years.

A mother of two small children, Lezama usually don't have much time to spend primping however she has one guilty pleasure; her nails. Recently Express photographer Jermaine Cruickshank who was at the airport happened to see the intricate work done on Lezama nails and inquired who had done it. Lezama said she did.

With Christmas right around the corner, Lezama decided to something festive and feature some of her 3D nail art.

She said, "I do tips, acrylics, ice, gels and 3D nail work with most of my work stemming from acrylics but I don't do airbrush because there are so many other alternatives people can try

"The real reason I got into nails is because it took too much time having to sit and wait to get them done. I started going to a guy in Sangre Grande to do my nails. The thing is; yuh paying yuh money and still had to wait long hours for the service. With a push from my mother, I started doing my nails when I finished school at North Eastern College in Sangre Grande. I took a basic nail course and from there I started doing my own thing; trying to hone my skills," Lezama said.

"One of the things I love most about doing nails is seeing it transform from 'blah' to 'wow'," she added.

Lezama noted with most jobs comes stress and finding ways to cope is very important.

She said, "Sometimes when I feel down I do my nails. For me it is my 'pick-me-up'. It is something I really like and with my job that is physically-demanding it helps me to relax. It is also a good conversation piece. Meeting with dozens of people on a daily basis they see my nails and often inquire who did it so it also helps to 'break the ice' a bit with strangers so it is helpful.

"Some people find it hard to believe that I do my own nails since my both hands are always done. I change the colour and styles quite often since it gets me to explore my creativity. People wonder if I am a right-handed person how do I manoeuvre to do the left hand. I tell them practice, practice and practice. Before it was really difficult but now it is easy. I am not ambidextrous; I can't write with both hands but I can do nails," she said.

"At the moment, nails for me is just a hobby. My clientele consists mostly of friends and family. I try to keep myself abreast of the latest trends by attending various nail shows and signing up online to some of the leading nail and nail care companies in the world such as OPI to try and find out about the latest products and techniques," Lezama said.

Describing herself somewhere between a 'tomboy' and a 'girly-girl' she hopes one day she can do nails full-time.

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