Tom Bachik looks like a SoCal skater dude, so it's surprising when he shows up and does red-carpet manicures for Anne Hathaway, J.Lo, Victoria Beckham, Zooey Deschanel, and tons of other Hollywood women. He wins nail art competitions. He was Chanel's first celebrity nail artist. He's currently L'Oréal's global spokesperson. And the former graphic designer, who switched to painting nails in the mid-aughts, is a regular on editorial shoots for Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue. He calls himself the Man-icurist.
He also happens to be a dad, to his two college-aged sons and his 14-year-old-daughter, Zoie. It's her small fingers that he uses to test out concepts for all of the above, plus other nail looks that they dream up. He posts all these on his Twitter and Instagram accounts along with pictures of, say, Lopez's delicate hands. It's really the sweetest thing. "I travel a lot, so Zoie will call me while I'm away and we'll make plans to do her nails," he cheerfully says. "It's our time to spend together."
Before he was nail-famous, Bachik, married to wife Liz (another nail art testee), remembers coming home once to a beautiful disaster of nail polish and glitter. "Zoie was about 5 or 6 years old at the time, and she had glued little [fake] nails to a nail file and painted them," he recalls. "That's how I used to practice painting nails, so she had seen me and was just copying what I did; she had even glued on all these little pearls I had just gotten from Japan." Like that lanyard keychain you once made for your own dad, Bachik held onto and still cherishes his daughter's first attempt at nail art. As she's gotten a bit older, he's mostly painting her nails for various teenage events. "It's a collaboration, but she usually lets me do whatever I want," he says. "She won't say she doesn't like it directly, but I'll ask what she thinks of it and she'll just nod and say, 'Uh-huh,' which means that she doesn't love it; she's a polite kid."
Here, Tom breaks down some of their father-daughter moments from Instagram:
"She actually didn't like the purple and yellow combo at first. But the thing is, we got her and her friend tickets to the Justin Bieber concert and I had looked at his website earlier and saw all this Lakers [basketball] stuff all over his fan page. So that's where the yellow and purple come from, so when we finally showed her the tickets and Lakers jerseys to wear to the show, she saw that and then loved it."
"I think that was for her seventh grade winter dance. She had a dark-colored dress with a little pink and lace. So for nails, we both agreed that it should be dark ,so we just went with this purple color."
"I had just gotten Ciate's chalkboard nail kit, so I was just testing them out on Zoie. I'm interested in product development, so I'm always checking out what other people are doing."
While Zoie has no plans yet to follow in her father's footsteps ("It's just something fun for her and her friends to do"), she's just recently realized how cool her dad's job is, or at least that he hangs out with famous people. "They've never really asked about it; I think they just thought I worked in a salon or something, but a couple of years ago they realized who my clients were," says Bachik. "We've seen the Spice Girls concert because of Victoria Beckham, No Doubt because of Gwen Stefani, and we've been backstage with Jen [Lopez] for American Idol," he notes, before adding: "Even the boys think this is cool now."