When Brooke Larsen paints nails, she does it right.
What started as a talent for creating interesting patterns has grown into a mini business for Larsen in the past couple of years. With more than 375 bottles of brightly-colored nail polish, her designs are unique and impeccable, making the 17-year-old one of Marshall's best kept beauty secrets.
Brooke Larsen smiles for the camera sporting one of her favorite nail designs. Larsen has been hired for weddings, birthday parties and independent clients.
Although her colorful hobby is completely self-taught, Larsen has been hired for weddings, birthday parties and independent clients.
Larsen describes herself as an inventive child.
"I was always really crafty," she said of her younger years.
It was not until high school that Larsen had her first paying customers, but the origins of her interest in art and design began in middle school.
In 2008, Larsen discovered she had a knack for creating designs and patterns with fabric paint. Soon she would find herself decorating phone covers, iPod cases or any object that needed some spicing up.
In 2009, Larsen tossed the clumsy fabric paint and switched to nail polish because it allowed for more intricate designs. Little did she know, her leisurely activity soon turned into business calls.
Last year, the city of Marshall signed Larsen up to paint nails for the 2011 Sounds of Summer bash at the Marshall Aquatic Center.
"I'll be there again this year. I do nails for the city picnic, too," said Larsen.
Along with the city of Marshall, Larsen stays busy with other customers.
"I have done birthday parties. That's always fun because the young girls are so cute, and they really get excited. I've done one wedding and I'll be doing Deanna Kujala's wedding in the fall," she said.
Larsen is innovative and bold, with nail designs that reflect her personality. Most of the patterns she uses are original, she says.
"I'll mess around with designs and just come up with stuff," she said.
Larsen said she has also used ideas that some of her clients have seen on the Internet.
"If I think it's cool I'll definitely try it," she said.
As a Marshall High School senior, Larsen will continue on to college after graduation.
"Well right now I'm thinking a business degree, but I could possibly go to nail school on the side because it's only an eight-month program," Larsen said. "Having a nail salon would be awesome."
Although she gets hired to paint nails for a wide variety of customers, Larsen remembers what made her develop her hobby in the first place. She believes seeing the end result is always the best part of her hard work.
"It's fun and relaxing. I definitely want to keep doing nails," she said.