Though she grew up as an “upper-middle-class kid with [a] half-a-million dollar education,” Nonie revealed she was cut off financially at a young age. “Every penny of my fortune is self-made,” she told The Seattle Times in an interview last month.
After following a boy to London in the ‘90s, Nonie began doing nails to make ends meet. “I didn’t have a visa. I was 22 years old and an illegal alien,” she explained. “I decided to do nails because it was a cash business — I didn’t want to get caught! Resourcefulness is one of my better qualities.”
Nonie got so good at it that she started booking haute couture fashion shows, making valuable contacts along the way. After 10 years as a freelance nail artist, she moved to Seattle to become the founding creative director of butter LONDON.
She spent nearly six years with the company before starting her own cosmetics range for Walgreens called Nonie Creme Colour Prevails. In 2017, she launched her latest venture, BeautyGARDE, a line of makeup, skin, hair, and nail products.