By Patty Fantasia
Photo credit: Patty Fantasia

The reality show “Nail Files”, featuring the owner of The Painted Nail Salon Katie Cazorla, became the highest rated show in the history of the TV Guide Network on Tuesday, June 21st when it debuted before 1.1 million viewers during its premiere episode and it literally started out because of this young woman’s dream.  Katie shared this info while greeting fans and giving manicures inside of a mobile van while excitedly promoting her new series at Town Square in Las Vegas on Friday, June 24th.


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Despite the heat, Katie looked cool and comfortable as she talked about her journey that began two and a half years when she woke up from a dream in which she was the owner of a nail bar and decided that was the direction she wanted her life to go in.  A stand up comic for over 10 years before that, the petite blonde always loved doing nails, but didn’t like the type of quickie salons offering little service and glamour found in strip malls.  She meticulously designed what her shop would look like sketching ideas for the interior that included a cool reception area and developed her own unique concept and brand for her salon.   Next, she began researching aspects of the business and enrolled in classes to become a manicurist.  “I’m normally very patient when it comes to where I want to get,” she said.  Before completing the program, however, Katie found her dream location on Ventura Boulevard in the Sherman Oaks area near Studio City and decided to switch gears and taking a leap of faith decided to drop out of school and launch her business.

Cazorla had been saving money for years and had a budget of $20,000 with which to transform this location into her dream salon.  She began fixing it up, painting walls and doing a lot of the work herself.  This included bringing in chairs from home, which it took the better part of a year to replace.  She was determined to create a salon that was a fun place for people from all walks of life to patronize whether they were celebrities, working women or stay at home moms.  At this point her focus was on the salon and having a reality television show was the furthest thought in her mind. The turning point came at The Painted Nail’s launch.  “A producer saw me at the grand opening.  He came with one of his neighbors,” she related.  He had a great time and shot a video of her.  “Jersey Shore” producer SallyAnn Salsano also came to the event incognito, preferring to watch Katie and take note of her funny antics, sparkling personality and California Girl good looks, which apparently struck a chord.

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Surprised by “Nail Files” high numbers, the star said she had been hoping that they would attract at least an audience of 200,000.  “Jesus, let people watch this show,” she admitted praying the night before the premiere. When asked why she thought the show resonated with so many viewers she responded, “The way it’s formatted.  Nothing is set up or faked.”  She enjoys the way SallyAnn works explaining, “She just follows you around 24/7.”  Although this was a bit bizarre in the beginning and Cazorla was unaccustomed to having her every move recorded, she adapted easily to getting up, strapping on the equipment and going about her day “It’s like second nature,” she confided very aware and accepting that the cameras have become a permanent fixture in her daily life.

One reason audiences may find Katie so appealing is her down to earth attitude and that the way she sees her show “It’s not just about a nail salon.”  For her it’s a show about someone who is not entitled and has had to work hard for what she has. A native of upstate New York, her father is a Superintendent of Public Works in a town called Elmira Heights and her mother is a teacher so as she said jokingly she has no producer parents, no sex tape and no trust fund.  “It’s a struggle.  I know what it takes,” she said referring to realizing her dream.

Katie is a smart, savvy business woman with a vision who has worked hard and learned from her mistakes. In fact, she’d like to write a pamphlet about what it takes realistically in order to open a business since she feels the materials available are inadequate.  “I read every book in California, but it did not prepare me,” she related believing that part of the problem is that the info out there doesn’t cover real life situations such as what to do if a customer wants to sue you or if an employee quits and then goes to unemployment and claims to have been fired.  “There should be a manuscript or some kind of a pamphlet to let you know what you’re going to encounter,” she said.

Eight episodes of “Nail Files” have been filmed for Season 1 and so far only the first one has aired, so it’s still too soon to know whether or not the show will be renewed.  “I think you have to wait to see how episode 3 goes,” she said before adding with a smile, “The good news is they didn’t pull the plug.”

From the looks of things they won’t be and we’ll be seeing more of Katie and the crazy circle of people surrounding her on the show including her fiancé, Grammy award winning music producer Walter Afansleff.  Katie is content to live one day at a time whether or not the cameras continue rolling.  She is comfortable with herself and loves what she’s doing at her salon.  “Nail Files” is an unexpected stroke of luck that she really wasn’t looking for or as she said, “When you want to get a reality show, that’s when you’ll never get one.”