Special Section: Learning Curve


Jessica Ellison

Jessica Ellison is the kind of teacher who defies the saying “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Ellison is known in the beauty industry as an award-winning nail technician.

As a teacher, she shares her trade secrets and passion with her students at the Yorkville School of Makeup and Esthetics, a division of the Continuing Education program at George Brown College.

As she goes back and forth between the industry and the classroom, she often brings her students along for the experience. Last year, when she competed at the Contessa Awards (the Oscars of the salon industry), several of her students helped with the photo shoot that earned her the 2006 Nail Art Technician of the Year award.

“Winning awards is a great business builder,” she says, which is why she encourages her students to compete.

Although Ellison doesn’t like to name-drop, it is because of her many accolades that she has done work for celebrities such as Erykah Badu and Christina Aguilera.

“Jessica turns an ordinary service such as a manicure into a work of art,” says Sheldon Hargrove, program co-ordinator at the Yorkville School. “She does flawless work.”

Ellison has 13 years of experience in the industry from several salons and also operated her own private nail technology school before joining the Yorkville School shortly after it opened in 2004.

“There comes a point in everyone’s career when you’re exploding with creativity and you can’t relay that onto your clients,” the 31-year-old says. “I’ve always been an encouraging person and I’ve always liked to share secrets — so it was a natural progression into teaching.”

Student Rebecca Kekes says she has learned so much from Ellison even though she just started taking her courses.

“Jessica’s fully educated and trained and she knows so many small details,” says Kekes. “She’s a fantastic instructor.”

With all her experience in the industry, a wall full of awards and an absolute love for her trade, Ellison is not only an accomplished doer but also a great teacher.

She hopes to continue instructing at George Brown’s Yorkville School, which offers courses and certificates in nail technology, esthetics and makeup.

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