Amber Wagner has the most iconic nails on the internet. They are brightly painted, occasionally rhinestoned, and always incredibly, precariously long. Sometimes, the 27-year-old will film videos where the nails are all you see, waving and pointing as her voice off-camera drops line after line of hard-earned life wisdom to her 1.6 million Instagram followers. “If they talkin shit, you got something they don’t equip!” goes one recent video. As @jstlbby, Wagner doles out positive mini-pep talks that go beyond your parents’ Hallmark inspirational quote books. Relatable, honest, and hilarious, Wagner has built a career from believing in every part of herself, and you too.
AMBER WAGNER: This is my third Instagram. My first Instagram was @justlivinbby and after that one it was @amberlivin. I posted videos [and] from those two I made it on Keke Palmer’s TV show. But I was not positive, I was more ratchet and ghetto and negative. I kept getting deleted.
I was going through a dark time, but I had got back in church and I started being more positive. I felt my life shift and once that happened to me, I was like, OK, let me tell other people about this. And that’s what made me start being positive. [Now,] even if I’m at the club until three or four in the morning, I still get up and go to church.
I think now, people want to be more funny than motivational. Which is cool, I don’t see anything wrong with that. But some of these people in the young generation, they need to be guided. I try to switch it up because I don’t want them to get too bored with all the motivation. Because I used to be funny as heck. I just flow off the top of the dome most of the time. I’m speaking from my heart and I’m a regular freaking person out here so I put myself in other people’s shoes and be like, ‘You know what, we can get through this! We can pick ourselves up!’
I pray a lot. When I wake up in the morning, throughout the day, I just pray by myself. That keeps me going. Sometimes I have these daily quotes that I will read or the Bible app will send me a verse every day at the same time, which will keep me going, just keep my spirits up. I get my nails done every week, it’s mandatory. I love getting my nails done. I try not to ever break one. If I do I can’t leave the house.
I’m supposed to be starting a podcast soon, that’s in the works to get my word out more. It’ll just be a 30-minute segment. I’ll speak on current issues, mix a little comedy in there, have couple of special guests every now and again. Giving out daily motivation of the day, word of the day. I was also thinking about throwing an event. I just have to get all my finances, everything together. I want to throw some positive, motivational events and little mixers where people can talk about what they’ve been through and know that they’re not alone.