Congrats to Nicola Sawyer for winning Challenge #8 in NAILS Next Top Nail Artist (NTNA) which was called "The Glo Up." This challenge was posed to the five finalists this way: 

KUPA’s MANIPro Glo Lamp is an example of KUPA’s sleek and stylish approach to innovation. Not only does this lamp cure, it looks good doing so. For this challenge, the Top 5 were asked to pay tribute to the MANIPro Glo by creating a glowing nail design. We want to see nail art that lights up and steals the show. Contestants could achieve their glow up using whatever techniques they’d like, including unconventional items (non-nail items). This design should be done on 10 nail tips (not modeled on hands). The video diary for each should shed some light on their inspiration and show us how these nails look in both light and dark.  

NAILS Next Top Nail Artist: What the Judges Had to Say About This Winning Nail Art
NAILS Next Top Nail Artist: What the Judges Had to Say About This Winning Nail Art

Here is Sawyer's essay and video diary, explaining how she took these challenge guidelines and incorporated them into her winning design: 

"My inspiration this week came from an experience I had whilst living in London in my early 20s. It was an amazing time. Brit Pop, Grunge and not forgetting the Spice Girls. London is a place full of contrasts. I lived down Shaftesbury Ave, next to the theatre, in the staff accommodation that came with the job of Commis Chef at the Cafe Royal. I would finish work after a 15 hour shift and rub shoulders with patrons of the theatre that had spent £100s on a single ticket.

"One such night after work we went ‘clubbing’ and decided to pay a little extra to go into the V.I.P  terrace. It was amazing! Bare brick covered in graffiti art, people from all backgrounds, industrial architecture, an up and coming live band, neon lights, and a smoke machine. In the morning I realised I’d left my jacket there, so popped back later that afternoon. Without the lights, smoke machines, seating and music it became very apparent that this V.I.P lounge was nothing more that the alleyway behind the club! The graffiti no longer looked like a Banksy and the industrial design was just plain industrial. What a difference lighting and atmosphere made. So in my design this week I wanted to create a piece that ‘Glowed Up’, literally. Something that could be seen as drab or just utilitarian, transformed into a work of art, like Kupa have done with their MANIPro Glo Lamp."

What the Judges Had to Say


NAILS Next Top Nail Artist: What the Judges Had to Say About This Winning Nail Art
NAILS Next Top Nail Artist: What the Judges Had to Say About This Winning Nail Art

Each week, industry experts and past NTNA finalists and winners weigh-in on the challenges, and provide insight into their scoring.  Here's what this panel had to say about Sawyer's submission: 

Game master Winnie Huang:
Thank you for taking in judges’ feedback about your video. the quality is MUCH better. THIS….is a MASTERPIECE. I love the story you told at the beginning of the video, that painted an image for us…and I have to say – this is SO WELL EXECUTED. BRAVO NIC! You set the scene so well and was meticulous down to the tiniest detail, I am so impressed. But because I was so invested in your story, I wished you incorporated the jacket you had left at this “VIP” club. The fish and chips were a nice touch, it made me hungry. To push you further, over the top, off the cliff—I would have liked to see better refinement on the newspaper, no small details should go unnoticed. I also wished you incorporated and utilized the lights a bit more. but overall, this. Is. Your BEST WORK YET. Great job.

Season 8 Champion Emily Nash:

Nic, wow. That’s all I can really say. You completely crushed this challenge. I can only imagine what It was like to be in London during that era of grunge and SPICE GIRLS, I would have been in heaven. You took me to that club in your set. Even if it was just the alley way when you went back the next day, while you have your glow elements lit up, I feel like I would be dancing away and not caring if I just paid extra to be in the alley! You crafted every detail in your set so meticulously from the brick, the way you placed your nails backward and forwards to give the metal plank look, the stones on the ground…the pipe! I literally could go on and on. I loved the graffiti and the fish and chip dinner on the ground how cute and detailed. Your lamp post I think stole the whole show. Brilliant use of the CND form to have a metal covering on it. You gave great tips in your video, and your video much better this week! Thank you for taking the time and fixing the sizing format. Great job this week, A+!

Guest Judge Jessica Warzyniak:

You had me at Spice Girls. I wannabe your friend. Ok now for real… YOUR. PIECE. IS. SO. DANG. AWESOME. I loved absolutely every detail. Your point of inspiration, genius. Your write up, genius. The way you cut and alternated the tips, genius. How sweet and funny you are on camera, genius. How realistic every element looks, genius. Your use of fiber optics, genius. Your attention to small details (like rusted out pipes and a light wash of green on the cobblestone ground), genius. Your piece is perfect. PERFECT. I love how it looks great In the bright lighting and FLIPPIN SPECTACULAR in the dark lighting. Seriously, every part of this piece is just awesome. Can I have it? Just kidding…. (Not really). Overall, you knocked this challenge out of the park, bravo!

Head Judge Jan Arnold:

I love your approach to the challenge…so clever to look back on this illusion of a ‘nightclub’ and then to see it by day and become disillusioned.  It’s so true, right? You really brought this contrast forward perfectly.  I really love the textures of the natural finishes. It’s hard to do and you mastered the use of color as to not make mud at the end of the day. Video intro audio is great, but the demo audio is much softer. Your creativity when creating all elements was superbly executed.  Great job!

Producer Beth Livesay:

Immediately I understand your inspiration. I had a similar experience about seeing something in the daylight and it shattering the fantasy – I think we can all relate to this theme. Love the *Binksy reference too. The stone details are stunning! The graffiti has some great NTNA references. The lamp post is so well made! The newspaper is another fun element that you incorporated. In the photo I couldn’t tell what the fish and chips were, so thanks for explaining in the video – another solid detail that makes this scene so realistic and relatable. Week after week you take your life experiences and present them in a fun, nail-fied way. Everything is explained clearly and the video is so crisp. Definitely worth the 15 quid!

Guest Judge Stephanie Loesch:

You showcased a vast amount of techniques and did well to help teach your audience. The cotton ball was ingenious. Try and give any extra tips even if you may think they are too simple because your level of creating realistic art is insane and we want to know ALL the details. This was a such a cool twist on this weeks challenge and I enjoyed watching every minute of it. This could have been a great opportunity to make more impact on the graffiti and have painted a huge nail polish bottle with some glowing pigments or a fire hydrant shaped like a nail product spewing bright colored “water.” Adding extra elements relating back to the nail art world gets positive attention in NTNA every time. Great work Nic I loved this weeks challenge!


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