For Occidental student Britney Aboagye, nail business only scratches the surface

Face Uncut Britney Aboagye
Courtesy of Britney Aboagye

What was supposed to be a simple nail business had gotten out of hand. Britney Aboagye (senior), began applying acrylics as a favor to a friend; she said her business Baw$e Clawse grew into a multi-appointment, multi-day operation, causing her to scale back.

“Before, I would have like three people coming, four, sometimes five in one day — and that was just too much,” Aboagye said. “[Now] I just do one person on Saturday morning, one person on Friday night.”

Aboagye said the business was born out of the pandemic.

“With the [COVID-19] pandemic, a lot of nail salons closed down, and I get my nails done pretty often,” Aboagye said. “So I learned on my own.”

But for Aboagye, the nail business is only a pinch of her creative work. With more free time after midterms, Aboagye said she hopes to turn her attention to developing her online presence through a new self-made creative platform called Facx Uncut.

“It’s like a big jumble of what I do creatively,” Aboagye said. “[It’s] where I have a talk show, and I just talk about coming-of-age experiences on YouTube. I also curate my own photoshoots and post my pictures there, and then maybe like twice or three times a month, I curate playlists and I also put them there.”

A creative webpage that hosts an eclectic mix of playlists, photo shoots and other projects, Facx Uncut is a way for Aboagye to channel her creative spirit, she said. Aboagye said she sees her artistry as a way of developing her passions into something constructive.

“I can sit with my friends for hours, and we can just talk and talk and talk and talk,” Aboagye said. “Why not take that, film it, upload it to YouTube for views and make money?”

Aboagye’s videos cover a variety of topics, from fat acceptance and body positivity to the struggles of maintaining relationships after graduating. Aboagye said among her other projects, her music playlists of older R&B and neo-soul cuts are a particular highlight.

“I pride myself in having amazing playlists,” Aboagye said. “I’ve been making playlists for a long time, even before iPods. I had a little radio. It was the one that you press the top and a CD opens up. You press the front and a cassette comes out.”

Aarushi Arora (senior), Aboagye’s friend, said via email that she is a particular fan of Aboagye’s music taste.

“You can tell how much thought and detail went into each song and placement of song, and it makes it that much more incredible to listen to,” Arora said.

While the project started as a solo venture, Aboagye said she sees it evolving in the future into a more collaborative space — somewhere artists will be able to meet, share advice and develop their creative projects together.

“It definitely is mine,” Aboagye said. “But I’m looking to make it a place where people can go to the Instagram page and see who I’ve worked with, and work with them as well.”

According to Payton Johnson (junior), a friend of Aboagye’s who has worked with her as a photographer on some of her modeling projects, Aboagye’s art has a self-confidence often absent from the creative scene.

“A lot of people, if they want their picture taken, they don’t know how to pose,” Johnson said. “They just want a picture taken in general, but they don’t know exactly what they want. But for Britney, she knows exactly what she wants: if there’s a project, she knows exactly where she wants to shoot, what outfit she wants to wear. She knows these things.”

Johnson said he has appreciated Aboagye’s willingness to use her business sense to help artists, particularly on the financial side.

“She knows how to represent herself,” Johnson said. “She kind of knows how to help other artists represent themselves. [So] she helps me with my rates. Business things — she can help you with that.”

According to Aboagye, a first-generation immigrant whose family is Ghanaian, her parents were often less open to her creative interests growing up

“They’re very much like, ‘You can’t make a career out of creativity.’ And I’m learning that you can,” Aboagye said. “So I will.”

A sociology major and Black studies minor, Aboagye said her creative side has not always shown in her school work. She said being at Occidental, however, has made her more open to expressing that creativity in other ways.

“I am actually a creative person,” Aboagye said. “I don’t think it was encouraged as much growing up, but being here, and being in college, you learn more about yourself, you learn more about who you are and what you’re about. I realized, I do a lot of creative stuff.”

Arora said that Aboagye’s work ethic is evident in her creations.

“Britney is someone who puts her heart into the art she creates, and you can feel the care in everything she does, whether it’s clothing, nails, playlist or anything else,” Arora said.

This article was edited at 6:59 p.m. April 11 to correct Britney Aboagye’s parents’ country of origin.