Glamazon: Katie Cazorla nails it

Katie Cazorla bounces into theStarbucks at the intersection of Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway before a drop of caffeine has even reached her lips. Wearing an orange-and-pink-striped dress and 5-inch Christian Louboutin heels, the dynamic blonde instantly becomes the center of attention in the room, which at this hour is mostly populated by men. Cazorla (pictured above) and herSherman Oaks,California-based nail salon, the Painted Nail, are the inspiration behind Nail Files, a reality series that debuts Tuesday on TV Guide Network.

Meeting with press all over America to promote the show, the former standup comedian has no trouble cracking jokes during her stop in Fort Lauderdale. The 33-year-old insists her favorite color is “glitter” and she is so enamored with her 1980s childhood she says she still digs Rainbow Brite and can sing every word to the “Get in Shape Girl” advertising jingle.

“We call our girls 'nail therapists.' That's what we are,” Cazorla says with a laugh. “If you're having problems in your life, go get a $20 manicure and have a free glass of wine at our bar. When I'm there, it's a fuckin' party. But since I've been on the road promoting the show, it's probably likeBarnes and Noble in there right now.”

Cazorla is fun to be around simply because she's so real. While celebrities such as Brooke Burke, Kimora Lee Simmons and Vanessa Hudgens come into her salon to get their famous fingers prettied up, Cazorla is never too starstruck to offer an honest opinion. For example, the pointed-nail trend Fergie was sporting in March is now surfacing on the fingers of women in Miami Beach. I hate the freakishly sharp look and couldn't resist asking Cazorla her thoughts on the trend. “In L.A, they call those stiletto nails,” Cazorla says. “I think it looks like a coke spoon nail.”

Her candidness is a refreshing break from my encounters with other celebrity beauty-industry workers. “I love doing nails. I always loved faking that I owned a nail salon. But I never thought I'd do it,” Cazorla says. “I always thought doing hair and makeup was glamorous. Then, I moved out to L.A. and did standup for 10 years and thought, 'I'm over this.' I need to find a real career.”

Cazorla attended nail school inLos Angeles'Koreatown neighborhood and is allowed to polish and inspect nails. But because she never graduated, she can't cut, clip or file with metal. “Midway through it, I found a location I wanted to open the Painted Nail at,” she recalls. “I had a dream and woke up and sketched the whole nail salon out with a marker. It was 5 a.m., and I drew the whole thing. I wanted it to have a bar and a lobby and big, white chairs — like a girly paradise.”

With a budget of $20,000, the Painted Nail became a reality. “People love my salon because we're different,” Cazorla says. “The concept is more about fun and girls and chatting and having a good time. It's not about wind chimes and a Buddha and a waterfall. It's not a place you have to be quiet in. It's about good times.”

Offering customers sweet services such as ice-cream-sundae and margarita pedicures, the quirky salon became an instant hot spot for celebrities. Cazorla now has her own PETA-approved polish line with colors named after celebrities, including Betty White, and enough drama at her salon to prompt SallyAnn Salsano, the executive producer of Jersey Shore, to produce her reality show.

Jersey Shore's creative development team actually came in to get a mani-pedi and sneak-spied,” Cazorla says. “They called me and said, 'We want to do a show with you. We think you're the makings of reality TV.' "

While the show will focus on the Painted Nail and chronicle Cazorla's colorful personal life, including her relationship with fiancé Walter Afanasieff, a Grammy-winning producer and songwriter who is 20 years her senior, she vows the audience will never see her get a Brazilian wax on camera or make out with a random person in a hot tub.

“They filmed for 2 1/2 months straight, so I don't really know what's going to end up on TV,” Cazorla says with a giggle. “There were times I was on my computer and they'd be there for two hours filming me. I know they'll only end up using 20 seconds of that, but SallyAnn is a fuckin' genius the way she can craft a show. She can make a show called Weird Randoms atStarbucks, and I would watch that show. People would watch that show.”

While some celebrities stayed away from the Painted Nail while the cameras were rolling, Cazorla isn't worried the series will affect her long-term clientele. “Vanessa Hudgens started a nail trend in L.A. at my salon by having her nails painted all one color and her ring fingers a separate color,” she says. “Then one day, I was losing my fucking mind because LeVar Burton came in. I love anything '80s and in my head, I just wanted to sing him the Reading Rainbow theme song. He just wanted a buff. But secretly, I wanted to say, 'Do you want rainbow polish on those?' "

Nail Files airs 10 p.m. Tuesdays on TV Guide Network. Visit Thepaintednail.com.

O'NEALS HEELS
Shaunie O'Neal has much more going for her these days than being the ex-wife of basketball legend Shaq. In the midst of the third season of her drama-fueled VH1 reality show, Basketball Wives, O'Neal is working on new shows to produce, writing a self-help book and giving other women a chance to walk in her shoes. She was supposed to launch a shoe line later this month atMacy's in Aventura, but it will now debut inLos Angeles instead. O'Neal, who admitted to City Link last month in a phone interview that she's “a little obsessed with shoes,” owns hundreds of stylish stilettos by Louboutin, Brian Atwood, Yves Saint Laurent, Guiseppe Zannotti and Jimmy Choo.

“If the shoe is hot, I'm going for it,” O'Neal says. “I love YSL because they're fabulous and comfortable at the same time. It's about what looks fabulous on your feet. That's more my shopping tactic, not so much the name. I love shoes that make me feel sexy and tall.”

O'Neal collaborated with trendy shoe brand Chinese Laundry while designing her collection. “They actually taught me how to design a shoe from scratch working with heels and materials to straps and accessories,” she says. “They brought me to their warehouse, sat me down, and we worked over the past few months. They taught me A to Z on what goes into making a shoe. They let me design a collection of shoes and then said we should put it out in stores and see how it goes. The collection will be out atMacy's stores soon.”

While the average price of a pair of shoes in O'Neal's closet is $600, she wanted her shoe line to be high in style while costing, “in the low hundreds or less,” she says. “I tried to incorporate what a high-end shoe looks like without that price. I want it to look fabulous and [to] look like an $800 to $1,200 shoe, but have the price be much less.”

Contact Joanie Cox at jcox@citylinkmagazine.com.