We had the good fortune of connecting with Ari Simone and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ari, why did you pursue a creative career?
I love using my imagination. I love expressing myself through my work. Many people only think logically which sometimes can hold you back from your full capacity as an artist or even a business owner. Thinking beyond your visual perception is imperative. Of course you should thing logically also but you have to think about things that aren’t tangible. I love that I’m able to dream big, then dream bigger. That very passion radiates through anything I put my passion and creativity on. I believe that my creativity changes lives. I love knowing that my customers look forward to our time together, we can catch up on their favorite shows, their trip to a convenient store or maybe even childhood trauma they’ve never talked about to anyone else. I’ve seen so many people trust me with information they would never tell a soul, their deepest secrets. Even from their first time meeting me, I’m trusted, because they’ve either seen my art or heard about it from a friend. That means everything to me. My career is sacred. A common ground, a sanctuary; a sacred place, a place that provides Safety or protection. My creativity and imagination has connected me through so many paths. It all started as a kid with a huge imagination and as an adult the gears never stopped grinding.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started my business in high school as a teenager, only fifteen years old. I officially became a nail technician and I took the title. I was different from everyone else at my school and I was the first to do it. I was an only child, I was pretty shy, only had a handful of people I actually named my friends and trusted. Sure I knew everyone but the people I surrounded myself with were the only ones I trusted. I grew up with so much criticism. Everyone always had something to say. There would be girls who talked about me negatively even my own friends or family. It hurt and it made me feel insecure within my work and myself but I didn’t care, I kept going. I had decided to tone out all of the negativity and continued to pursue my dreams because well… I was getting better. I had a friend and I would always practice on her almost every week she had a new set of nails, she was okay with being my guinea pig and I loved it! It was free advertisement. People would come up to me at school all the time bragging on me, the tables started to turn. I was doing my own thing whenever I felt like it, I loved it. The only other thing I stayed committed to was Young Life and P.A.R.K. Fast forward to my adult life those problems seemed to fade just different problems started to appear but I wasn’t insecure about anything anymore, I knew exactly who I was, and I didn’t care about anything. This time those very same people came to support me. They would book appointments with me, even if it was just one time. They had to see what the hype was about! At this point in my life it was very hard to get an appointment with me. I’d be booked for weeks, months at a time. Some came consistently, I mean every two weeks! Life has a way of turning tables and Ioved it! I still love every bit of it. I started to deal with a lot of jealousy from close friends, business partners even family. I didn’t understand, I was the same girl! Or at least I thought I was, but I had grown into a confident, outspoken and radiant young woman. Weird huh. My path was not easy, it was the road less traveled. I had so many chances to quit but I didn’t. I kept going. I also dealt with depression, it was extremely hard to continue with my dreams and my business I worked so hard for. I was at my lowest. Even at my lowest there was a little flame within me and I ran with it, it kept me going. I never let my circumstances stop me. Sometimes I’d get in a hole, but I dug myself out every time. There were times where I would take breaks, I would get a job because I thought it would be “easier” but it was harder and I hated every one, every moment. It was hard convincing myself I had to stay on a clock to zone aisles or scan packs of water on a register. I couldn’t keep any of them longer than a year because I would get bored, I wasn’t expressive in any of those jobs. It was only labor. I wanted to be a creative. I would take off work to do my art So eventually I quit and continued to pursue my dreams. I’m most proud of myself for overcoming my depression and staying committed to Young Life, bringing other adolescents to Christ. I love what I do and I love encouraging others to be themselves because we are all wonderfully and fearfully made in God’s image, we are capable of anything. I’m most excited for the future and who I grow to be. Any advice I’d give to anyone would be to simply keep going. Why give them the satisfaction of seeing you give up? Why give your low self the satisfaction of remaining low or remaining in that low place? Don’t give up. Always give 100% even if you’re only getting 1% back. Keep going. It will be worth it, it will pay off. Give 100% even when no one is watching. Remain loyal and faithful to the process. God has already validated you. What if who you hope to be was always you?

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have to start by doing my best friends nails of course! My best friend would feel totally pampered for at least and hour or two. That’s our time to catch up, sit and talk about what’s going on. I need the tea! I have a gift for her because I know what she likes and she was missed! We’ve done a lot of talking so after, we’re going to get food at one of my favorite spots in the city. For the rest of the day we would chill because I’m a homebody so most likely my best friend would be too! Plus she’s tired from that long flight. We would catch up on The Chi and sip her favorite wine. The next morning we’re taking a flight to another city, I love my city, but don’t get me wrong… I’m bored here! I really want to visit Tulsa, OK to visit Transformation Church! – When we arrive we’re getting massages.

Afterwards it’s time to go ride the dirt bikes and zip line! Time to have some fun until we’re tired. We would take pictures to post or print to show our future kids how we were living. Afterwards we would go hit the town or a concert, doesn’t matter who’s performing let’s go! The next day we visit the service, take flights back to our homes and plan for our next girls weekend.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a special shout-out to God himself. I’m so blessed to have his unconditional love wrapped around me at every moment of my life. I have to thank the best organizations in Little Rock, Arkansas for my upbringing as a Young Adult; Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids and Young Life! These two organizations instilled so much positivity and love inside of me it’s immeasurable. Shoutout to my Mother and my family. I love them so much they give me so much motivation to keep going and to never give up! I’m so thankful for all of you!

Website: https://bit.ly/Arisimone-ClickMe

Instagram: https://instagram.com/slayanailz?utm_medium=copy_link

Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/AriSimone

Image Credits
Cover Photographer: Jackie Ray

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