“My name is Ryoko (Ree-yoh-ko) and I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and am now living in the United States because my husband is in the United States Air Force. I’ve been doing nails for nine years. I love doing nails more than anything. I’m dedicated to creating whatever my clients want. I always set out to achieve whatever I put my mind to 100%. I’m very passionate and it shows in the work I do. I remain humble because there’s no limit to learn something new. I’ve also been competing in nail competitions for the last five years. I like competing because I know the more you challenge yourself, the more you learn.”
Final Challenge Part 2
When I think about who I am, the first thing that crosses my mind is where I’m from and, of course, my parents. I’m an only child and my mother is still living in Tokyo, which is 5,000 miles away. I lost my father when I was 7 years old. Since then he is always with me and I always wanted to make my parents proud. So they are big part of me.
I’m also married and my husband is in the USAF active duty and he’s wonderful. I have a boxer dog and she’s my baby. As a nail artist I love doing sculptured nails and stiletto style and I love black and gold so I decided to use those colors as a base.
Final Challenge Part 1
Southern California is a culturally diverse and well-known area worldwide. Many tourists travel there for its fine year-round weather along the coast, open dramatic spaces, beaches, and numerous amusement parks. Southern California is a major economic center for the state of California and the United States. I decided to draw Disneyland, LA Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant, a map of Southern California, surfing, In-n-Out burger sign, and of course Hollywood glitz. I also like watching reality shows and Kim Kardashian is always in the tabloids.
Week 10: OPI Products
Mariah Carey is pure glamour. She’s the one and only diva. She’s all about style, beauty, and talent. She loves the bling. I decided to do a water marble technique using gold, light pink, and pearl white to make a glamorous, shiny, and mature look. I added her initial, “bling-ed” microphone, and of course her symbol — a butterfly.
Week 9: CND
This was such a fun project. Looking at designers’ inspiration boards and trends for next season makes me so excited! I love doing nails more than anything, but I love fashion too. I was actually in the fashion industry in Tokyo before I switched to being a nail tech. When I heard about this challenge I was so excited. The Blonds caught my eye. There are so many inspirations from them. I’m obsessed with the Blonds collection! They are really bold and colorful so I decided to create very bold and unique designs.
I think these would be great accessories for the collection!
Week 8: Misa Cosmetics
I chose Misa’s Femme Fatale polish. A femme fatale is a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. The first image that crossed my mind was Medusa. She is seductive and dangerous. I thought that’s exactly what she is. I searched Greek mythology and read Medusa and Athena’s story. Medusa was originally a ravishingly beautiful maiden, but when she was caught being raped by the Lord of the Sea Poseidon in Athena’s temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa’s beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone.
So I hand-painted her face and snakes in her hair in the middle of the right hand and Medusa’s victim on the other hand with a Greek head mask and owl. In Greek mythology, a little owl traditionally represents or accompanies Athena. I hand-painted snake skin with a red color base on the rest of the fingers. I decided to use red as base because it’s the “femme fatale” color from Misa’s polish.
Week 7: It’s So Easy
This week’s challenge is to create a Halloween design with only three strokes. It was a challenge to me since I’m very picky about detail. Trying to create something spooky yet fun with only three strokes had me thinking and trying many different options. I decided to go with a skull. I started with the outline/ shadow background. Keeping the brush thick and filled with paint while not smothering the design was difficult.
Week 6: Orly
Editor’s Note: Make sure to click on the second photo below to view Ryoko’s vision of her day to night French nail design!
The nails should still be a versatile look that can go from day to evening and casual to formal. It should be a simple design while also looking elegant, classy, and feminine. You can’t beat the classy look that goes with everything.
The first thing that crossed my mind was lace. It’s very elegant. Just lace was boring so I re-arranged it a little bit and added a paisley-type pattern. I didn’t want to go too far for this French twist challenge so I kept it simple and feminine that goes with everything. I made a white ombre style with gel-polish first then I applied the design with paint.
Week 5: NSI
I needed to research a lot for this theme. There’s so many things that I could do. What was the most popular trend in the ’50s? Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, diners, jukebox…but I wanted to do something outside of the box, so I decided to do the TV show I Love Lucy.
I Love Lucy was the most watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings. I Love Lucy is still syndicated in dozens of languages across the world, even my mom was watching the show in Japan back in ’50s.
I sculpted round-shaped nails with acrylics. I drew her face and the television with acrylic paint. The TV show’s title is 3-D made out of acrylics. Then I added some polka dots on the tips because she used to wear polka dots and it was a huge trend back in ’50s.
Week 4: INM
Click here to watch Ryoko’s video about her inspiration and process for creating this design.
Week 3: Gel II
Tokyo is such a big city. Over 13 million people are living their busy life. I grew up with my mother, who is a professional Kimono (Japanese traditional dress) maker. She makes all her Kimonos by hand. There was always all kind of Japanese silk in her room. When I think about my hometown, the first thing I picture is the traditional side. I love my city! Tokyo is such a large and modern city but it still keeps its traditional look. I handpainted all designs with acrylic paint.
Week 2: Entity Beauty
When I heard the theme immediately the fortune teller crossed my mind. I think our biggest mystery in our life is the future… We never know what will come in front of us. I wanted to make the design pop so I used dark blue and purple glitter for the base. The fortune teller, crystal ball, tarot cards, and all 3-D decorations are sculpted out of acrylic and gel. Also I put some jewelry on the tip for fun.
Week 1: Dashing Diva
I decided to pick Art Nouveau as inspiration because I’ve never done the theme before. There are so many pretty patterns, rich decor, vintage, and classy images in art nouveau. I also searched the trends for next year and found that the ’90s are coming back. So I wanted my design to be classy and rich just like we had in the ’90s. These designs are difficult to paint and time-consuming for the clients, but if you have awesome appliqués like these then the look becomes very convenient!