Tech Talk: Birmingham drag queen nail stylist, Anthony Lloyd
By Rebecca Hitchon | 07 November 2023 | Feature, Tech Talk
Anthony Lloyd’s nail career wasn’t planned; he originally enrolled on a performing arts course after finishing school. But upon realising the challenges of getting a job in the industry, another profession presented itself…
“During my performing arts training, I assisted the make-up department and loved this so much that I signed up for a beauty therapy course,” Anthony reveals. “Through this, I was educated in all forms of beauty, including manicure and pedicure. I struggled painting nails initially, so before class each morning, my tutor mentored me as I practiced my painting skills, until they improved. One day, she showed a video of the creation of L&P acrylic nails: something I had never seen before. From that moment, I knew that nails was the career path I wanted to embark on.”
Based in Erdington salon, The Sun Lounge, Anthony is also a part-time ward service co-ordinator for a hospital. But nails are his passion and he hopes to run his own salon full-time in future. “My dream salon would have a spooky theme, because Halloween is my favourite day of the year, and I would offer cocktails and PJ days, where clients can visit in their pyjamas,” he smiles. “I have a loyal client base, because I believe I offer something extravagant and unique in terms of design. My favourite nail styles are extra long coffin or stiletto shapes, and I enjoy blinging out nails to make them sparkle.”
Anthony admits that being a male nail tech has sometimes been challenging. “Some women won’t allow men to touch their feet or hands, and it can be overwhelming when I’m not able to relate to female client talk.
“A lot of nail clients expect a well-groomed woman as their tech, whereas I’m a tattooed, colourful man. It can test my limits at times, when I’m turned down from jobs due to the way I look.”
But Anthony finds solace in nails as a form of self-expression, and uses this to support the LGBTQ+ community, which he is part of. “From feedback, clients in the community feel happy and relaxed in my chair, and not penalised for who they are. I won Polishpad’s Battle Of The Nail Techs 2022, and for the final, I created some Cher-inspired nails to fit the theme of ‘superstar’. She is one of my icons and a huge supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I also support the superheroes of the community: draq queens, by creating nails for them. I have designed sets for many Birmingham drag queens, including now global star, Black Peppa, from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. They have worn my nails at London Fashion Week and toured the world wearing them. My nail designs have seen more of the world than me!”
Anthony has exciting plans on the horizon to work with other RuPaul’s Drag Race queens, and hopes more drag queens and celebrities across the world will reach out to him.
From his work, he feels passionate about the nail sector being recognised more. “Nail techs are not always publicly acknowledged for their work, so aren’t seen as important as other industries,” he shares. “We need to ask clients, brands and celebrities to always support, and don’t be afraid to raise your prices.