CT nail artist did manicures for Oscar winners Will Smith and Ariana DeBose

New Haven nail artist Temeka Jackson was present in the Oscars via her manicures. Jackson, owner of Custom Nails by Temeka, a luxury press-on nail brand, was in charge of the manicures of Oscar-winning actors Will Smith and Ariana DeBose, according to her Instagram.

Jackson built her nail career in Connecticut, working in several nail salons in New Haven, according to her artist profile at Nail Labo. The manicurist now resides in Los Angeles, owns her own nail salon and press-on brand. Celebrities such as Quinta Brunson and Alicia Keys have worn her designs, according to her Instagram.

On Sunday, two Oscar-winning actors sported Jackson’s work: Ariana DeBose, who won best supporting actress for her role as Anita in “West Side Story,” and Will Smith, who won best actor in a leading role for his portrayal of Richard Williams in “King Richard.”

Ariana DeBose receives the premio a best actriz de reparto por su papel en
Ariana DeBose receives the premio a best actress de reparto por su papel en “West Side Story” en los Oscar el el 27 de marzo de 2022 en el Teatro Dolby en Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Jackson was in charge of Will Smith’s manicure for the awards show, where he was nominated for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the dad of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams. Smith won his first Oscar for the role.

“CONGRATULATIONS @willsmith it is an honor to work with you!!,” Jackson wrote in Instagram along with a photo of Smith on the red carpet.

Smith also brought the spotlight on himself for the now infamous moment when he slapped Chris Rock on stage after the comedian made a joke that referenced Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s, alopecia. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences condemned Smith’s actions and has launched an inquiry, according to the Associated Press.

Will Smith appears to slap Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theater on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, Calif.  While Smith's slap would likely be considered a misdemeanor, current and former prosecutors said would be folly to take the case to court.

Will Smith appears to slap Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theater on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, Calif. While Smith’s slap would likely be considered a misdemeanor, current and former prosecutors said would be folly to take the case to court.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Recently, Smith helped a Connecticut family to recreate a scene from his movie “Independence” to raise money for Feeding America. He also appeared in a Disney+ show with a Weston mountaineer. Rock is scheduled to make a stop at Mohegan Sun during his tour “Ego Death World Tour 2022” on Friday, June 2.

Jackson’s designs have also been featured in music videos like “Yummy” by Justin Bieber and “Closer” by Saweetie. Her nail design of the tequila brand Herradura has been highlighted at Hype Beast, and her work has appeared in Essense and Rolling Stone.

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