• Rita Remark

    Shaping Her Career

    Portrait of Rita Remark.
    Rita Remark
    Nail Technician Certificate and Esthetician and Medical Spa Therapist Certificate* Graduate
    *formerly Advanced Esthetics Certificate

    George Brown helps develop the skills of a trendsetting Canadian nail artist

    What do Serena Williams, Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner have in common? They all have had their nails painted by George Brown College’s School of Makeup and Esthetics graduate Rita Remark – one of Canada’s most fashion-forward nail artists.

    “I have so many moments when I want to pinch myself,” notes Rita. In addition to being Essie Canada’s lead nail artist since 2012 and the iconic nail polish brand’s first-ever global lead educator since 2015, she is also an on-set manicurist for advertising, fashion, music and film. “Like at the Alexander Wang show during New York Fashion Week, first I’m there with him and his team, designing nails, and then I’m backstage polishing Kendall Jenner’s nails before the show. And I’m like, ‘Who am I? How did this happen?’ Of course, I know how it happened and the path it took to get here, but those moments are incredible.”

    Rita’s educational path started with enrolling in a university-level new media program, but she soon realized she preferred to pursue her love of all things beauty and work with people rather than computers. With thoughts of becoming a makeup artist, she attended makeup school but quickly lost interest in the profession. She decided to become an esthetician instead and turned to George Brown in 2008, completing both our Nail Technician Certificate and an advanced esthetics certificate.

    “Ironically, I had no opinions on taking the manicure class,” she says of a required course that was part of her certificate experience. “It sounds corny, but within the second week of taking that course, I was like, ‘Okay, that’s it! Done! This is all I want to do.’ It came as a complete shock. I never thought I would like it that much.”

    “George Brown helped me to channel my creativity into a craft that I never thought would have been possible for myself. It took my abilities and helped me to direct them.”

    George Brown offered Rita the right combination of environment, hands-on experience, teachers and products. She was also able to take advantage of the school’s flexible course schedules, which allowed her to work and go to classes at the same time.

    While Rita was attending her part-time courses, the nail industry, where nail artists are now a staple at photo shoots and fashion shows, was just taking off. Once she expressed her ideal career direction to her teachers, they helped her to focus on specific topics, offered personalized advice and encouraged her to pursue activities that would ensure she was confident, professional and industry-ready.

    “George Brown helped me to channel my creativity into a craft that I never thought would be possible for myself,” says Rita, who still uses some of the tools that came in her certificate program student kit and employs techniques she learned at the college for executing an immaculate manicure. “It took my abilities and helped me to direct them. My nail art was self-taught. Everything else is George Brown.”

    Despite her quick rise through the nail world, which began with a stint at a top Toronto nail salon, Rita points out that the industry is not all glitz and glamour. That’s especially true, she says, when she is hunched under a table at Toronto Fashion Week to paint a model’s nails while being covered in hairspray and with show producers yelling that it’s almost show time. During those moments, says Rita, she is taken back to George Brown.

    “My teacher would insist we would do drills of fast, flawless nail applications. I thought that was really strange, but it’s that day in class that I think about when I’m backstage at Fashion Week doing a nail application in 10 minutes,” she remembers.

    In between designing and painting celebrity nails and educating consumers and industry professionals about the Essie brand, Rita is also a guest teacher at George Brown.

    “It’s a full-circle moment,” she says. “And it’s been helpful for me because I’ve hired some of the George Brown students who I have taught. You know talent and passion when you see it. It has enabled me to pay it forward in a way.”