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Meet Duriya Caldwell of The Black Pearl Nail Academy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Duriya Caldwell.

Hi Duriya, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My name is Duriya A. Caldwell and I have 30+ years of experience as a manicurist with 20+ years licensed. I hold a master’s degree in Business Management and serve as an active licensed Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT). I have had a passion and complete love for manicuring and all things nails since I was 10 years old.

I was blessed to have been paired with a licensed nail tech at an early age who enjoyed helping me hone my skills and grow my talents. While I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree at Lane College, I attended Trezevant Vocational Center in Memphis to obtain my manicurist license and earned it in 2001. I have worked in salons of all types that cater to full services and/or specialize only in nails. I took a sabbatical from the industry for about three years. I felt as if I had burned out, but I never allowed my license to lapse. I began to see so many neophyte manicurists making simple, but grave mistakes with their client’s natural nail care in an effort to provide a finished look, and this sparked my desire to teach them a better way.

The changing trends in nail care, nail art, and hybrid nails have renewed my passion and made me realize that the foundational care I learned years ago is worth teaching to those that are licensed and actively seeking licensure. I went back to Trezevant to obtain my Instructor’s license and earned it in 2016. In 2018, I opened The Black Pearl Nail Academy (TBPNA), the first full-service specialty manicuring school in Tennessee. TBPNA is a non-profit vocational school that specializes in educating the adult learner in all aspects of the manicuring discipline under cosmetology. We provide traditional licensure, hybrid/online licensure, apprenticeship, traditional instructor, hybrid/online licensure, refresher courses, and one-on-one training.

The goal for TBPNA is to be able to reach those individuals in the tri-state area that are seeking state licensure for the discipline of manicuring. We are working in our purpose to implement programming for:

• Pre-teens that show an early desire in the manicuring discipline,
• Enrolling students at age 16+ before they graduate from high school, and
• Assisting with compressing the recidivist rate by offering this discipline to inmates that are preparing to re-enter society.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
According to Dave Chapelle, being the first African-American to do ANYTHING is never easy and I have to agree. I have a lot of firsts under my belt in the years of my career, however, opening a school in the south that caters to a specific discipline has been extremely taxing. My commercial building was not plumbed correctly and the electrical was wired inefficiently. Code enforcement denied my original opening date.

Students paying out of pocket for tuition becomes an issue and they end up dropping or having to be expelled. I am currently in the process of expanding my location and it has been a labor of love. Dealing with engineers, contractors, and other people that do things I don’t understand.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
The Black Pearl Nail Academy (TBPNA), the first full-service specialty manicuring school in Tennessee. TBPNA is a non-profit vocational school that specializes in educating the adult learner in all aspects of the manicuring discipline under cosmetology.

What makes us different from all of the other specialty schools in the city is that they can only provide Apprenticeship licensure and we can provide so much more. Traditional, hybrid/online, apprenticeship, traditional instructors, hybrid/online instructors one on one and refresher courses.

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
There is a difference that you can see when a person has a passion for what they are doing. I hope that the world sees my purpose and passion in starting the Black Pearl Nail Academy. We have students enrolled from Mississippi and Arkansas and we are helping to license the next wave of nail techs in the city of Memphis. Come support the students work on Wednesday and Thursdays with discounted services booked online and at your leisure at

Those interested in enrolling as a nail tech can apply on our website at City of Memphis residents is eligible for grant funding to pay their tuition once they have enrolled and had their orientation.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: TheBlackPearlNailAcademy
  • Facebook: The Black Pearl Nail Academy

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