NYFW: Alumni Emily Nails it At Fashion Week

NYFW: Alumni Emily Nails it At Fashion Week

At the Aveda Institute of Beauty and Wellness Milwaukee and Madison, we pride ourselves on offering exclusive education that will help you become successful in the beauty industry. An alum from the Institute of Beauty and Wellness in Milwaukee was given a life-changing opportunity. During her journey as a nail designer, Emily Castillo was requested to design nails at New York Fashion Week for Milwaukee born designer Elena Velez’s fashion show.

As a former student of the Institute of Beauty and Wellness, we are so excited to highlight Emily’s journey and how she used her education to take her all the way to New York Fashion Week!


Emily graduated from the Manicuring Program at the Institute of Beauty and Wellness Milwaukee in August of 2020 and immediately starting working in a salon shortly after. On a normal Thursday morning, Emily’s life would completely change. During a gel enhancement nail service, she began conversating with Elena Velez about nails, fashion, travel, and more. During this conversation, Elena mentioned to Emily that she was moving to New York to continue her fashion designing career. From there, great conversation, creativity, and dreams were created.

Q: You Handcrafted All of the Nails in Elena’s Fashion Show, How Was That?

“Handcrafting the nails was an experience! I just actually picked off everything that was on my nails! I worked with plaster, hardware, wire, iron shavings which I have never worked with before. So, working with that was so fun—it was like an art project!”

Q: Did You Ever Imagine This Day in Your Life?

“I would have never imagined being here. I’ve visited New York before and thought it was so fun, but I never imagined coming out and working here! It has honestly been such a dream.”

Q: What Were Your Early Aspirations Going into the Manicuring Program at the Institute of Beauty and Wellness?

“When I first started here, I thought I wanted to have my own salon and do all of these crazy nails for people. However, being on the path that I have been on brought me to New York! Working with so many great people, and having that inspiration at work really brought everything together for me and opened up this part of my creativity that I had no idea was there!”

Q: As a Manicuring Student, How Did the Institute of Beauty and Wellness Set You for This Moment?

“Through the program it was really emphasized that you can go in any direction that you want to go in. They never said that there was a ‘right’ way to do things, it was what you felt like you should do. I really appreciated that.”

Q: Coming Back From New York, How Has Your Future Career Path Changed?

“I have so much more opportunity. It has opened up a new door for me creatively that I never thought of going through before. I never imagined doing something like that to that extent. It was something new that I have never done, so opening that up and coming up with something so different and creative is amazing and I am looking forward to my next steps.”

Q: Do You Look at the Nail Industry Differently Now Than You Did Even a Week Ago? If so, how?

“Absolutely. Last week I knew that I was going to be in New York a week later, but I had no idea what to expect. There is just so much more. Going into the fashion world and seeing how things are done, even through hair and makeup, details are everything. Even the tiniest details of the nails—it was a big project that we did. It was through that smallest detail that you are able to recognize everything else from it.”

Q: What Are Your Next Steps or Goals from Here?

“I don’t really know actually. I just want to wait and see what else comes up. I am still working on my nail art and designs, but I am just seeing what else happens!”

Q: What Is Some Advice You Would Give to an Aspiring Nail Designer Looking to Start Their Journey?

“I would tell a new nail designer to just do it! Don’t be afraid of anything. I know that sounds very cliché and everyone says that, but honestly that is what you have to do. You cannot be scared of what is going to happen otherwise it won’t happen. You have to get out there, have that conversation, make that connection, introduce yourself to that one person and have that really positive outlook. That was just a regular day that I had at work, and it turned out to be so much more. So honestly, just go for it!”

At the Institute of Beauty and Wellness we are so beyond proud of Emily for her huge accomplishments! The sky is the limit for her and all the students past enrolled, currently enrolled, and future enrolled. Our focus at the Aveda Institute is getting you prepared to be successful in the beauty industry. Regardless of your program, there is an opportunity out there for you! Apply Today to learn about the future career opportunities that are in store for you.

“It was just a regular day that I had at work, and it turned out to be so much more.”