October Student Spotlights: Kylie Rivera, Fausto Lopez Fuentes, and Claire Taylor

October 2023 spotlights include Kylie Rivera, Fausto Lopez Fuentes, and Claire Taylor
October 2023 spotlights include Kylie Rivera, Fausto Lopez Fuentes, and Claire Taylor
Kylie Rivera poses with one of her handmade nail sets
Kylie Rivera: Nail Artist & Entrepreneur

Over the summer, senior Kylie Rivera began her very own business named lovesicknailz, selling handmade press-on nail sets both through Instagram at @lovesicknailz and on Depop. Admitting that she created her business “not really knowing how or where to start,” her constant passion for art, as well as the work of other nail artists, ultimately inspired her to give it a try.

“What really made me gravitate towards nail art in specific was the creative liberty you can have with it,” explains Kylie, “A lot of the time, customers will give me freedom to design and decorate the nails with little inspiration, which makes the process so much more fun for myself.” While she currently only sells hand-crafted press-on nails, she soon plans to enhance her skills by doing physical manicures for her friends and peers. 


Kylie says that art has truly stuck with them throughout her life: “You’ll almost always see me with a sketchbook in my hand…I feel that [art] defines me as a person. I wouldn’t be who I am without it.” 


The time she spends on each set varies—from two hours to as many as 12 hours, depending on the intricacy of the design. Rather than rushing, Kylie chooses to embrace the lengthy process. “It can get frustrating at times,” she admits, “but no matter how long it takes me I put all of my effort into my work…Seeing each set come together makes the long process so worth it.” 

Kylie Rivera poses with one of her handmade nail sets (Kylie Rivera)
One of Kylies nail sets, with a pink Hello Kitty theme
Kylie Rivera: Nail Artist & Entrepreneur

Kylie describes the talented community of nail technicians and artists in her industry as “nothing but welcoming…everyone is always trying to improve.” She has drawn great inspiration from other artists, both their techniques and themes. In the past, Kylie has completed various dynamic, cartoon-themed sets: Hello Kitty, Gloomy Bear, and Invader Zim, to name a few. She enjoys “challenging [herself] with different designs, [feeling that] it helps [her] learn more quickly.”


While aiming to further her business by continuing to make and sell nail sets, Kylie wishes to study cosmetology in college in order to obtain a license for hair, nails, and makeup. She explains how “a lot of other nail artists get hired for different projects like magazines, modeling, photoshoots, etc.”


Buyers interested in Kylie’s sets can DM her through Instagram at @lovesicknailz or by filling out the Google form in her bio, which contains questions about sizing and pricing. 


“Finding a real passion for myself like nail art has been both therapeutic and difficult,” says Kylie, “If you have an interest in something but you feel like you’ll be bad at it at the start, change your way of thinking. Remember that with more practice, your skills will only improve more and more.”

One of Kylie’s nail sets, with a pink Hello Kitty theme (Kylie Rivera)
Fausto Lopez Fuentes, the English-to-Spanish translator for the peer leaders program
Fausto Lopez Fuentes – English-to-Spanish Peer Translator

Fausto Lopez Fuentes is a junior at Bernards High School. He is a native Spanish speaker and has been selected for this feature in light of his exemplary role in aiding the Peer Leaders program. Fausto volunteered to help translate English to Spanish for native Spanish-speakers in peer leader groups. 


As someone who builds a bridge between native Spanish-speakers and native English-speakers at the high school, Fausto shares his experience: “Well, it’s not very easy because sometimes there are things that I can’t understand in my classes, but I do what I can.  Outside of school, it’s a little easier because when I have to talk to my family or friend I do it calmly because I don’t have to speak much in English but rather in Spanish.” 


Outside of school, Fausto can unwind in the comfort of his familiar language spoken by the people he cares about. He is grateful for these moments, as he can socialize in a more relaxed manner by speaking Spanish. During this time outside of school, Fausto works and enjoys visiting family, going shopping, and trying new things.


Back at school, Fausto appreciates the opportunity to translate English and Spanish. He describes it as “ something that makes me happy because as soon as I am helping other people I am also gaining experience.” 


Another reason driving his acts of kindness is his empathy with people who don’t know the language- he shares that when he came to America, he didn’t know the language and continues to learn new words every day. As someone who has been in their shoes, Fausto elaborates that “sometimes I feel bad for the people who don’t know the language. Because they may think that maybe the people who are native here don’t like their help [to translate Spanish into English]. But in my experience, I saw that the people who are natives of this country also make the effort to communicate with us, who do not know the language.”


While he humbly acknowledges that he does not know the English language well, he is delighted to use what he knows to help others who don’t understand any English yet. He hopes that one day he will master English, and recognizes that while it will not be easy, it is not insurmountable either if one puts the work in. 


Fausto is a representative of a model student, as he is both willing and able to help improve the Bernardsville community by enabling and encouraging a more inclusive dialogue and aiding communication between the two languages. 


He is further motivated to study English and master the language after reflecting on his progress, where he can see what he is achieving with all the work and effort he has made. 

Fausto Lopez Fuentes, the English-to-Spanish translator for the peer leaders program (Fausto Lopez Fuentes)
The digital process of editing for one of Claires films
Claire Taylor – Videographer and Filmmaker

Claire Taylor is currently a junior here at BHS and has a passion for videography and filmmaking!

Claire’s passion for film began during quarantine. She started writing music and video scripts during lockdown and grew passionate about the artform, and more  recently, she directed two short films of her own and fell in love with making her own videos! From a young age, she has always loved creative writing and video editing and now those two hobbies have turned into a love for filmmaking and cinematography. 


“I love taking videos of people enjoying life or doing anything,” Claire says. She loves capturing people on camera just living out their lives and enjoying the little things that bring them joy. Claire also states that she loves to apply music to fit the vibe of the video and loves to experiment with new styles of music.


A director and cinematographer that she is currently inspired by are director Christopher Store and Cinematographer Andrew Wehde. These two both work together on a show called The Bear on Hulu. What she loves about this show is how unique the visuals are, and she recommends it to people because it’s one the best shows she has ever watched. 


The digital process of editing for one of Claire’s films (Claire Taylor)
Claire Taylor, filmmaker and photographer, poses with her camera in hand
Claire Taylor – Videographer and Filmmaker

In the future, Claire does wish to continue pursuing her love for filmmaking and hopes one day to make more short films. Claire states, “I would love to try out making short films and videos for people to take messages and advice from in the future.” Claire has created some great videos in the past, but her favorite was from last June about the Canada wildfires that gave the sky a orange tint. 


Creating is so important to Claire because as long as she can remember, her grandpa has always had a camera in his hand documenting his life and as well as her mom’s life. This is what also sparked her interest for video-making because she loves to capture the little things in life just as her grandpa did. Her grandpa owned fascinating cameras from Super 8’s, film cameras, all the way to digital cameras in the early 2000’s. Her grandpa would always document anything that would happen in his life and family life, and now Claire wants to continue his legacy of video making. Claire states that she has such a supportive group of people that encourage and support her in her passion everyday and can’t wait to create more videos! If you want to check out her short films, you can watch them on her Instagram @Claire.Filming!

Claire Taylor, filmmaker and photographer, poses with her camera in hand (Claire Taylor)
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Crimson Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *