TV Guide Network's new original reality series Nail Files isn't about just any Hollywood nail salon — it's about The Painted Nail, where celebrities flock and free booze flows.
On Tuesday's premiere (at 10/9c), owner Katie Cazorla learns of a last-minute opportunity to promote The Painted Nail at the Sundance Film Festival. Earlier this month, we dropped by the salon for a manicure and to learn about the salon's latest offering: exotic dancing. "We now have Burlesque Academy, where you can learn burlesque," Cazorla tells TVGuide.com. "It's cardio with a boa. It's more about being sexy, but it's an hour-and-a-half class and you get free champagne with it."
Nail Files isn't all about the business though. Cazorla, 33, balances the demands of her job with her relationship with fiancé Walter Afanasieff, a Grammy-winning music producer who's 20 years her senior and who knows how to handle her energetic personality.
"I asked Walter, 'What do you take for anxiety?'" Cazorla reveals. "I'm so excited about everything. I feel like I can't even sleep half the time, but I want to be energetic for interviews. He goes, 'No, you don't need pills. Just have a cocktail.' So now I know. I'm allowed to have a Bloody Mary in the afternoon. It works ... I don't want to be a pill-popper."
If Cazorla sounds both quirky and entertaining, then executive producer SallyAnn Salsano has done her job. "You've seen it all as a reality producer, so when you see something that clicks and it works, that's what you have to go with," says Salsano, whose credits include Jersey Shore. "That's what we did. Katie is kooky-crazy and kind of outlandish without trying. In her real life, even if there's a plan, you don't necessarily stick to it."
Salsano and Cazorla sat down together — each with a drink in hand — to tease 10 dirty Nail Files secrets (one for each finger), including what's coming up, dirt on The Painted Nail and their own guilty pleasures.
1. Most clients love the free drinks. Cazorla says wine is the most popular drink, but some clients are a little picky about what they get. "We'll have one customer who completely has a breakdown because they wanted pinot noir and we only have merlot," she says. "We're not serving Chateau Latour, but we're not serving cheap crap either. So I'll spend more money to give customers a good glass of wine for free. We're doing the best we can to give you free stuff and you're going to enjoy your treatment."
2. Katie knows her way around a bar. "I make really good mojitos, beyond-good mojitos," Cazorla says. "I have a mint garden and I have pineapple mint up by my house. So it's pineapple mint in the recipe. It's this really fruity, yummy mint and we smash it up. So it's like having my own special recipe I can make."
3. The show's creator is a reality TV fanatic. Salsano is more than a reality show producer — she's a fan. "I love Mob Wives. I'm watching Sister Wives like nobody's business," she says. "I f---ing love Storage Wars. Storage Wars is so good; it's like Let's Make a Deal for lunatics. It's, like, literally not right. I love Hoarders and Extreme Couponing!" Cazorla watches How It's Made, First 48 and "of course Real Housewives because I'm like: How are grown women acting like this?"
4. Paula Abdul is a client. "Paula Abdul used to go to a different nail salon and she ended up getting a horrendous infection and almost losing her thumb," says Cazorla. "So when she found out about us and started coming here ... We've actually turned her thoughts around about nail salons. So I would say she's our most turned-around awesome customer who has fabulous nails because of it."
5. Debbie Gibson is a client. In the premiere, '80s pop star Debbie Gibson visits The Painted Nail and even suggests the name for a new nail color. Cazorla says it's OK to call her Debbie and not Deborah because "that's how she's known and she's awesome," and adds that other stars who've named polishes include Vanessa Hudgens, Hilary and Haylie Duff, Hayley Williams and Teri Hatcher.
6. Katie has parties for her pets. "Since we don't have kids, we plan events tailored around our pets," says Cazorla, whose dogs are named Pookie and Sugar. "So I was like, 'You know what? I don't think it's fair that everyone gets to have these blowout kid parties and I always have to do them upstairs for everybody.' One of my best friends has a pet and I was like, 'Let's do a dog party.' That's on the show."
7. Katie might be getting married. Apparently, Walter never explicitly asked Katie to marry him. "Guess how we did our engagement? He sent me an e-mail," she reveals. "I still have it ... a picture of the ring with the question, 'Do you like this?' Yeah, we're romantic." As for the possibility of filming their wedding for Nail Files, Cazorla says, "I don't like weddings. They freak me out. They're a lot of money. I can't even handle it. There is no date yet."
8. Katie is always watching. "Lately, I haven't been in the salon a lot because I've been so busy promoting the show," Cazorla says, "but I had these cameras put in everywhere, so I can see them on my iPhone. There's an app for that, believe it or not."
9. She doesn't let just anyone do her nails. "I'm super-particular about my manicures," says Cazorla. "Some of the girls here are learning the way I like to do it so when they have ... picky clients like me, they're the perfect person to do it. I'm the worst client ever." Salsano adds that that's also part of Cazorla's job interview process. "She makes them do her nails because she knows she's a little persnickety."
10. Soused clients spend. There's more to her free-drinks policy than her love of hedonism. It helps business. "I don't have a liquor license," Cazorla admits. "I'm only able to give it to customers because it's free. When you shop at Gucci or Fendi or whatever, they bring out a glass of champagne, I call it 'credit card lube.'"
Nail Files premieres with two back-to-back episodes on Tuesday at 10/9c on TV Guide Network.
Watch our interview with Katie Cazorla: