NAILS Next Top Nail Artist is always an emotional experience. For the first pre-challenge of Season 7, Swarovski asked the Top 24 to express their emotions and embrace their power. Contestants could choose any emotion and bring it to life on five nail tips. These tips must not be on an actual hand. Swarovski Crystals must make up at least 50% of the design and there must be some sort of 3-D artowrk built on the design. (Sticking the nails together in a shape does not count as 3-D artwork). See all 24 entries below. 

1. Adrianna Mondelli (@adriannasdesignstudio​)

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The emotion I chose is insecurity. I chose this because it is one emotion that does not discriminate. It doesn’t care how old you are, how young, how tall or short, how big or small. Insecurity doesn’t care how “beautiful” someone is.  In fact, sometimes it’s some of the most beautiful people who can be the most insecure. This is why I chose to use a diamond as the centerpiece for my set. Diamonds are known as one of the most beautiful stones on earth, and I find it a little funny that when a diamond is not perfect they call these specs or imperfections flaws.

Now the thing about insecurity is it is all about perception. For my two nails on either side of my diamond, I did two mirrors. One of them most would consider clean, fancy and beautiful, the other is dreary and damaged. You can see the cracks in the mirror, as well as the dark, dreary motif. Now as you can see if you look at the reflection from the beautiful mirror, the diamond is absolutely perfect. Not a flaw, not an imperfection. If you look at the reflection from the “ugly“ mirror, there is an extremely noticeable flaw, symbolized by the black Swarovski crystal. This is a metaphor inferring that insecurity is nothing more than how one looks at it.

My goal as an artist is to empower every single person who I am fortunate enough to come across. I adore the fact that my clients find trust and openness in our interactions, and I thank God for the opportunity to work to change the views and standards that so many women set for themselves.

Click here to watch her video.

2. Allison Goertzen (@allygnailartistry​)

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Life can get so busy and hectic that we tend to focus on the negative feelings of guilt, fear, shame, and doubt. We all need a reminder to step back and embrace all the abundance we have in our life right NOW. The benefits of making gratitude a daily practice are astronomical! In fact there is a ton of science to back it up. 

It is said that practicing daily gratitude:
• improves physical health
• improves psychological health
• enhances empathy and reduces aggression
• helps people sleep better
• improves self-esteem
• increases mental strength
• and opens the door to more relationships

My nail design taps into this exact concept by focusing on the daily practice. That is why the main element of my design is the gratitude journal. This is where you spend five minutes every day writing down things that you are grateful for. Since it is such an impactful tool, I wanted it to be front and center.

All the other elements in my design work together to symbolize different things I am personally thankful and grateful for. Because I didn’t want to be too literal, I tried to find things in nature that represent the things I am grateful for. So in the end, when everything comes together it gives an enchanted forest ambiance. 

I absolutely love how the Swarovski crystals add so much shine and dimension to this set. My favorite part is the hands holding the Heart Cut Pendant that I found in Michaels. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would work PERFECTLY!  

Click here to watch her video.

3. Anna Thomas (@therealnailaddict)

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My emotions are usually torn between my dark ugly  past and my bright colourful  future. I experience so many different emotions with mental health, so to choose one wouldn't be accurate for me so I represented my past with my path and dark bare branches and my future with bright blossoming sparkly features. I used tin foil to make my tree base and branches and some of the roots then coated with different  coloured acrylics. I then sculpted petals on backing paper for handmade flowers and made the plaques with the hanging words in the same way. I then placed a bead of acrylic on the back over the chain to hold in place. To signify my hope for the future on the roots I wrote the words “family,” “faith,” and “nail family” because they are what keeps me grounded.

Click here to watch her video. 

4. April Lang (@april.lang.nails)

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I believe a person never knows what life will throw at them on any one day. Emotions can be dependent on these different situations. Because of this, I choose to find joy each day. My design showcases a few of these different situations where I look for joy. The girl in the design stands for all women who face a variety of emotions in their daily lives. The gift box represents my belief that each new day is a gift. I can’t wait to see what’s inside each day, so I placed a rose in this gift box. The rose represents serenity and peace. The lemons represent disappointment. Everyone knows the old saying about taking lemons and making lemonade. I decided to take these lemons and make cocktails! The Band Aid stands for the hurt and sorrow everyone feels in life. The heart element takes this hurt and heals it with love and comfort. The final design element is the saying “Have Fun Laugh A Lot”. This is personal to me because my mother would always tell me this when I would leave the house. It was her way of reminding me to find the joy in life. No matter what emotions happen each day, I take her advice and look for joy. I hope you will do the same!

Click here to watch her video.

5. Becca Compton (@knitfinknails)

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After receiving the theme and seeing the included crystals, I knew that I wanted to include the ocean in my entry. As a young child, my family took a trip to the Chesapeake Bay. I remember going out into the water, walking through the sand doing my best to avoid the sharp shells. I was wearing a floaty ring, and all too soon we ventured out to where I could no longer touch the sand and bobbed with the waves. I didn't want to go out into deeper water, but not being able to leave me behind, my sister continued to pull me further and further. I was incredibly distraught until we returned to the shallows. Two years ago, I visited the ocean for the first time in my adult life. I gazed out at the endless water, and was filled with such a sense of wonder and connection. It completely redeemed my earlier experience.

The emotion I choose to depict is “pressured.”  A small figure is curled inside a protective shell sitting in the depths of the ocean, under the most extreme of literal pressures. I wanted to take advantage of the UV reactive crystals in the Swarovski emotion collection, and have them appear as the bio-luminescent lights that many deep sea creatures possess. I molded a clear hollow jellyfish with flowing tendrils, and sculpted an angler fish armed with crystal teeth. I love angler fish and view them as a symbol of feminine strength. The many toothed fish with a light up dangling lure are all female. The males of the species are tiny in comparison, and spend their lives searching for a female, attaching to them essentially a parasite.

For my entry I used an additional AB clear Swarovski Crystal pack in graduated sizes. I added them to the forward portion of the angler fish, and I also used an additional purple crystal from a combo pack for its eye.

Click here to watch her video.

6. Bojana Radojicic (@bojana.radojicic​)

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For the first pre-challenge, Swarovski encourages us to express our emotions and embrace their power, because NAILS Next Top Nail Artist is always an emotional experience. The emotion I chose is excitement. Every time I wait for an email from Beth I feel that emotion, because we never know what to expect. It's just like when you want to open a present, you never know what's inside the box. So you see why I chose to make a 3-D box covered with Swarovski Crystalpixie. Inside the box I placed five tips with silhouettes, which represent that feeling of excitement. And I couldn't finish my work without Beth's Livesay’s portrait, because she is responsible for that feeling.

Click here to watch her video.

7. Brittney Byrd (@Brittneys_nailz​)

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The emotion that I chose is “Overjoyed.” When I first found out that I was chosen to be in the Top 24, I felt so many different emotions, and I honestly couldn't believe it. When it came down to choosing the emotion that I wanted to use, one of the first words that popped into my head was overjoyed. So I Googled it, just to see what pictures would come up, for a little inspiration. The very first thing that popped up was Stevie Wonder, who happens to be my favorite recording artist.The picture was Stevie's album cover from when he released "Overjoyed" as a single in 1985. So I felt as if this theme was perfect for me because I could express my emotion, plus incorporate my favorite artist and my love for his music. So first I began to build his body frame, using wire and masking tape. Then I formed his body and clothing with acrylic. After that, I painted five nails blue and added white clouds, to look like the sky from the album cover. Next I cut an area from a lightbulb box to create a platform for Stevie to stand on. I coated it with white acrylic and attached it to the five nails. Then I created three leaves that I sculpted from acrylic, and attached them to the bottom corner of the platform. Next I created a transparent form out of IBD builder gel, so that I could paint the word “overjoyed.” I attached Stevie Wonder to the platform and created a heart popping out if his chest to show that he was overjoyed, or that his heart was so full of joy that it was beating out of his chest (which is also a personal reference to myself as to how I felt, being chosen for the competition.) To create the heart, I used red acrylic by Valentino Beauty Pure, and covered it with red crystals. I then attached the heart to a spring that I had gotten from an ink pen. After all of my items were attached, I enhanced my creation with the Swarovski Crystals that were provided to me, as well as a few of my own Swarovski Crystals, and a few jewels from Daoder Nail Jewels.

Click here to watch her video.


8. Carrie-Leigh Allen (@carrieartistic​)

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I chose Fear as my emotion as I wanted my nail art to reflect how I felt inside before doing anything worthwhile in my life. Fear can be debilitating, with anxiety being at an all-time high and so many people are affected day to day by this awful condition. I opted to do my background in the same colours as the mental health campaigns that do their best to bring awareness and help people, they also happen to be the same colours as the crystal electric collection, with which I created a colour fade effect above the eye. For the scary hand, I used Black AB Swarovski from my own collection and crystal Pixie AB for the wisps of smoke. I chose to do a scared little girl in a tear to symbolise the fear I feel inside, she was created with wire and acrylic, then hand painted. I made the tear with clear hard gel and decorated with Crystalpixie AB. I also made the polish bottle from hard gel, decorating with gel-polish, Swarovski Electric blue and crystal baguettes. The acrylic brush was made from hard gel, acrylic and Polygel. I filled the clear part with pointed back clear and AB crystals. The brush and bottle represent my career and are a symbol of the good things I have achieved after fighting my fears. The Ascension lily is a symbol of Ascension Island, where I currently live. This was created with coloured acrylic and hand painted details. It was very scary leaving behind everything I know to go and live somewhere so remote and far away from home, but it’s an amazing place and I’m very happy to be here. However, due to this remote location I didn’t receive my sponsor package in time for the first challenge, I already had some Swarovski to hand and also bought some of the Power of Emotion collection as a precaution.

Click here to watch her video.

9. Christy Homolya (@thelittlenailhome​)

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When I saw the theme for the first pre-challenge, I knew this would be a really colorful design. I read the Swarovski booklet and was inspired by “the joy of expression” and “the excitement of creating.” When it comes to nail art, I’m always excited, especially when the client says, “You can do whatever you want.” For the dark sky and stars I used Swarovski Crystalpixie Cute Mood Petite and Crystal Silver.

The other part of my work representing me. My favorite arts are the hand painted art and the 3D art, so I wanted to show them on my work. When I start to thinking of a design, I feel happy. This inner joy is filling my everyday and feeds my passion. I put the little puzzles together to get the bigger picture.

This little story is a piece of me and my colorful brain, showing how I think when I create. With my nail art brush in my hand I can make the world a better, colorful place. 

Swarovski crystals I used:

- all colors from the electric collection (white, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, green)

- crystal AB heart

- crystal baguette

- ocean, sunshine, lavender delight

- crystal cream pearl

- crystal AB spike

- different crystal clear shapes

- Pixies in color cute mood, fruity orange

Click here to watch her video. 

10. Cynika Murphy (@cynful_nails​)

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Since I am at a tug-of-war between calmness and eagerness, I chose ambivalence because I was best able to represent the complexity of contradictory emotions. With this being my first competition, I am not sure what to expect or what is expected of me, so I can only try my best to be as creative as possible and make sure that I follow all of the directions presented to me. That is a big part of what keeps me calm. On the other hand, I have this fearlessly eager side of me that is anticipating the next challenges, constantly researching critiques from previous seasons and secretly stalking my competitors (but I’m sure that many of them are also doing the same thing). I chose to do a pair of conjoined mermaids to represent the duality of being pulled into different directions, yet both bound to the same source. This was my first time doing 3-D faces and although it was a very risky time to make this move- I’m glad I did.

Click here to watch her video.

11. Giselle Caballero (@egobeautyca​)

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The idea of embracing our emotions and representing them in the challenge felt right to me. Emotions are so complex and in a way they also interconnect, and it got me thinking... Can one exist without the other? How does one go from grief and sadness to joy and excitement? Emotions are always shifting and overlapping at times, they interconnect but yet can also be appreciated on their own. It’s such a mesmerizing concept that motivated me to represent the dark side, sadness and grief with black and spots of color that work as the layers and depth found on each emotion on this dark side of the spectrum where we can find glints of light, and that’s where the Crystalpixie came in handy. I love how the crystals reflect the light and help create the perfect transition in between the darkness and the lightness of the design.

For the light side of the spectrum, I wanted to represent the joy and happiness with the flowers, leaves and glow in the dark! Because we wouldn’t be able to appreciate light without darkness, the light shines through in the darkness and it is in that darkness that we can spot glints of light so they coexist. In my culture, we as Mexican people celebrate death. We celebrate by honouring the memories of our loved ones who have passed, during this time grief meets joy and suddenly sadness turns into happiness. A legend in Mexico says that the arrival of the Monarch butterflies during the fall announces the return of the souls of our beloved deceased ones. The butterflies make the perfect medium to connect grief and sadness to joy and excitement, as it marks the beginning of our festivities for the Day of the Dead.
 

Click here to watch her video.

12. Haley Van Diest (@fetishnailz​)

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I chose the emotion Calm. I was inspired by Japanese zen gardens, the power of the ocean, and bright beautiful sunsets. I chose to express this with a mural depicting a woman laying on a mossy rock, letting the ocean breeze ruffle her robe and wash all of her stresses away. The scent of the cherry blossoms and the fading warmth of the sunset soothe her soul and bring her calm. I began my design by sketching out my ideas and deciding which way would fit best on tips. After securing my tips together and prepping with a white matte base, I sketched out my design on them. I unfortunately deleted the footage of the beginning of my project. To create my sunset I used my airbrush to ombre the pinks, oranges, purples and blues. The woman is hand painted using gel polish and paint. I painted her hair by using a watercolor technique, starting with a light wash of brown gel polish and a top coat, to get the overall shape I wanted. I then built up the layers of her hair by adding different shades of brown and sectioning out her hair. Finally adding the definition with dark brown. I created the cherry blossom tree by making the form out of tin foil, adding branches as I went until I got the final shape I was happy with. I used acrylic to cover the foil and to build up the base. Once it cured, I buffed it and painted it brown with gel polish, sponging on textures and colors after. The cherry blossom petals are individually sculpted with acrylic. I used pink and white in a two color application. Each petal was then applied one at a time to cover the tree. I also applied single 3-D petals, as well as one stroke petals, on the nail tips to show them blowing off in the breeze. I used Swarovski Crystalpixies in the center of each flower, to create the dark centers. I then applied the blues and purples to make it look like the darkness rolling in after a sunset, against the white of the clouds. The robe on the woman is the heart shaped crystals, I chose them because I felt they fit the feeling of self love and embracing emotion. The right side of the sunset is high lighted with Crystalpixies. I finished my design by applying a matte top coat and attaching the cherry blossom tree to the tips.

Click here to watch her video. 

13. Helen Christopoulos (@black_swan_beauty​)

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Instantly when I read the brief my anxiety went through the roof, so I saw it only fitting to choose ANXIETY as my emotion. For me, when I'm anxious, I feel an intense electric feeling inside my chest that builds up strength as time passes, and when I saw the bright electric coloured Crystals that Swarovski sent us, I knew I just HAD to use that as my colour scheme! The first one that caught my eye was that vivid orange-coloured crystal so I decided to make the base of my colour scheme that, orange. 

For two of my base nails, I wanted to represent them cracking under pressure as my anxiety intensifies, so I did a beautiful ombré with a bright orange and nude coloured acrylic. Once it was finish filed, I used a tapered shape e-file bit to carve out lines to represent cracks and then I initially filled in the cracks with a black gel-polish, but I felt that was too dark for my overall look, so later I changed it to a gold colour and that suited the design better.

For the following two base nails, I wanted to express my persistent repetitive negative thoughts, and what a better way to represent that than with the use of a repetitive pattern like the herringbone pattern. One of the herringbone nails was going to become an aquarium nail, and to do this I used another tip.

The last nail was to represent my tunnel vision, so to achieve that I used that bright electric blue to create diamond "tunnels" down the centre of the nail. I used a colour-blocking technique to achieve precision shapes.

I chose to show that anxiety is a fight or flight response by sculpting little 3-D boxing gloves and wings. I also sculpted flowers around point-back crystals to add to my piece. The flowers represent where I manage to find some serenity - in my peaceful garden. Time is also affected when I'm anxious. It will go either painfully slow or incredibly fast, depending on the trigger of my anxiety. So for this, I sculpted the face of a clock split in two and attached on separate nails. Finally, I sculpted banners and wrote the words "fight or flight" across them, before sticking caviar beads over each letter. I not only used quite a few of the crystals that Swarovski was so kind enough to send us, but I topped off the design with a few of my own. I also made a few clusters out of them and attached to my design. I also added chains to my design to show the complexity of anxiety as an emotion. For the tunnel vision nail, I used wires to surround a "tunnel" (one of the blue diamonds) and extend it forward. To the ends of all the wires,  I attached the bright orange crystals that initially caught my eye when I saw the package Swarovski sent us.

Click here to watch her video.

14. Honey Phan (@hnnailsbyhoney)

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When giving the pre-challenge to express the emotions and embrace its power, I immediately thought about the emotion of loving. The power of emotion is so important that it can transform our life from death to living or vice versa. The most fundamental and powerful emotions to all human is Love, it can be wonderfully warm and amazing feeling when one is loved, and it can absolutely be devastating when one is not .I decided to choose the love of mother to child because I believed that there is nothing in the world that can be compared to the love that the mother has given her child. Under any circumstances it does not change, it is the purest thing and the only true love in the world.

I painted the image of a mother holding her child for the first time, that emotion of love is the most amazing thing in the world. That smile on the mother’s face at the first time seeing her child is unforgettable. She closes her eyes gently to feel that magical loving moment. The mother’s love gives her child their colorful life, that’s why I choose to have colorful flowers in the nail art. They resemble the happy feelings that the emotion of love has given. I created the 3-D flowers using the given Swarovski, each Swarovski is placed on a mold using clear acrylic. Flowers symbolize happiness, beauty, and positive vibes — just like the love of a mother to her child.

Click here to watch her video.

15. Ilona Vasiliauskiene​ (@ilonavas)

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When I got this subject,  I thought about Venetian Carnival Masks. I believe this celebration is really wonderful, because of its idea. Everyone becomes equal here, leaving difficulties and anxieties behind them, they arrive to have fun and relax. This carnivals masks in particular associate with emotions to me. As a nail tech I work a lot, maybe sometimes too much, yet I still must remain positive, energetic and pass on knowledge to my students which will guide them in the future. It does not matter that I am tired or that there are difficulties in my life, I cannot let that affect my work. We choose to focus on a mask at work, because it is very meaningful to me. As a nail tech I give my work all of my energy, and strive to reach the maximum results. I fight myself hundreds of times no matter how hard it gets. This masks emotion relatable to me because of its playfulness. It doesn’t matter how exhausted I get, at work I am always motivated and stubborn. I can set myself goals that are difficult to comprehend, and dive in to reaching it with my head high. First, I formed the tips, and decided their length. Then I covered them with Madam Glam nail polish and repainted them with Viva la manicure top. I glued it down with Viva la manicure clear gel. For the mask I used Mosaic Ice gel. The top part of the mask I formed with Viva la manicure clear Polygel. I formed and buffed the whole mask. Then I created the face using clay. I drew on the lips and eyes with paints. Sometimes I formed with plasticine as well, and the hat I made using Mosaic Ice gel and Viva la Manicure clear Polygel. For the final touch, I encrusted Swarovski.

Click here to watch her video.

16. Jessica Warzyniak (@OohNiceNails​)

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The first thing I felt when reading our first challenge’s guidelines was a huge wave of nervous! The whole day, there was a pit in my stomach and I began to immediately doubt myself and my skills. I read that email over and over, and then suddenly the words "embrace their power " hit me! So here is my nail art expression of being nervous. 

I made a mouth with "word vomit" spilling out. In the spillage, there are nail tips bringing me nervous feelings to life- those are the unpleasant thoughts that began consuming me. My first thought was that I'm not good enough, so I made that into a fabulous textured, chromed, blinged out nail. I next thought that I would be misunderstood. I know that my style isn't always everyone's cup of tea, and that's nerve wracking when competing, so I made a big abstract cluster of crystals on that nail to show that being a bit strange is pretty special and can still be beautiful. The thing that has bothered me the most is that this competition will take my time away from my family. My 4 year old daughter often wants to help me and this time I thought, Yes! I let her paint her own nail, then I hand painted wording on it and added the Swarovski bling. It was so fulfilling to literally be able to ease that nervous concern of less family time by having family time tie into nail art time! I also made the NTNA logo since this is the current reason for my nervousness, and finally a Crystalpixie question mark with crystal spikes on the bottom side of the nail.

These nervous nails are being word vomited out because I realized that there truly is power in really sitting in and letting yourself FEEL what you're feeling. By taking the time to really focus on that nervousness, I was able to pinpoint exactly what was bothering me, and then I could focus on solutions to those concerns via nail art! Thank you Swarovski and Nails Magazine for having us take the time to truly value our emotions, even the ones that might make us feel a bit yucky at first. 

Click here to watch her video.

17. Kadee Brown (@hotpinkzebrapolish)

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For my emotion I decided to focus my design on delight. I am constantly reminding myself to pause and appreciate the simple moments in life and I wanted to represent that in my design. I love bright colorful flowers and created pink, orange, and yellow lilies that are surrounded by sparkly Swarovski crystals in like colors. While each flower is unique, there is repetition throughout the design to convey an easygoing feeling and simplicity. The flowers are various sizes and colors but have the same basic format.  

I sculpted two people, representing my daughter and myself, with peaceful, calm and delighted expressions on their faces. I sculpted their eyes closed to make it look like they are basking in the glow of the bright flowers, enjoying their scent. Both faces have a healthy pink hue in their cheeks and simple makeup looks. I added a touch of shimmer paint to them to add to the glow-y look on their faces and hair. I wanted to create some simple contradiction throughout the design.  One person has dark, curly, unruly hair and the other’s is light colored and styled in a controlled braid. Same with the layout of the flowers. The lily on one nail is centered with all the Swarovski crystals in a symmetrical layout. The other flowers are offset from side to side with the Swarovski crystals in a seemingly random placement. There are simple pleasures in both the chaos and patterns. Different personalities find delight and comfort in each.

The Swarovski crystals I used in this design are 2088 Citrine, 2088 Hyacinth Shimmer, 2088 Rose, 2088 Ruby, 2088 Rose AB, 2088  Crystal AB, 2038 Erinite Shimmer, 4228 Crystal, 2038 Electric White, 2018 Electric Orange, 2019 AB, 1088 Sunshine Delight, 4120 Buttercup and CrystalPixie Fruity Orange.

Click here to watch her video.

18. Kelsey Waldo (@kelseysklaws)

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I chose determination! Having heart and holding true to who you are in the competition is very important. My very first image on a business card was this pose with stiletto nails. No matter what, I never forget where I came from, this is why I wanted to capture the essence of the pose holding a heart. This competition requires you to show your heart and creativity to the world. This season I’m determined to lay it all out there and hopefully have the stars align. I am determined to grab this opportunity and put it all out there for the world to see. 

For this challenge, everything is made out of nail products aside from the nail tips, and Swarovski crystals. Everything is made free form, free hand, no molds. For this piece I used many Swarovski Crystals such as: Lilac DeLite, Ocean DeLite, Sunshine Delite, Aurum, Scarabaeous, Crystal, Aurora Borealis, Electric White, Silver Shade, Volcano, Black Diamond Shimmer, Luminous Green, Paradise Shine, and several Swarovski Crystal Pixies- Ocean’s Dream, Heart’s Desire, Deluxe Rush, Cute Mood, Street Star Bubble, and Sunshine Kiss. 

Since the last season I have been more determined than ever to show my determination and tenacity and here it is! My heart in my hand for all to see. I hope you all like it! 

Click here to watch her video. 

19. Lechele Barnett (@daduchessdondiva​)

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Admiration is something regarded as impressive or worthy of respect, which is why I chose to create a mermaid. My choice was based on a couple of different things, but mainly on the power and respect she commands from the oceans and seas. My first stage was building the background, with the fading concept I used a clear base, a sky blue, a turquoise, and a purple acrylic. My finishing touches include chrome flakes and bubble mylars, capped with a clear acrylic. I chose to keep a matte finish setting my scene. The background was created to express the fantasy of the sea, where many mysteries live but so much is unknown. As we enter one of the focal points of the piece, which is her face I wanted to portray beauty because she is the feminine power of water. The pink hair symbolizes universal love of one self, harmony and inner peace. Finally, we’ve arrived at the most iconic part of the mermaid, her tail.

Her 3-D tail was formed with the end extended from the nail to give the illusion she is floating underwater. I used an assortment of different crystals to lure you into the beautiful world of Swarovski. I wanted the pure power of this element to show and the Swarovski encrusted tail did just that. A scenery for a background begins to emerge as I painted seaweed cascading out from the back of her appendage. Starfish were added with a hint of glitter because they can regrow limbs when they are damaged, that shows power.

Click here to watch her video.

20. Sarah Kay Abbott (@sarahabbott_nailartist​)

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My chosen emotion is fear and I straight away thought of this overpowering shadow of fear that was lurking over me whilst doing my pre challenges in season 6.  Fear is an extremely strong emotion that is felt for many reasons.  I felt this emotion and anxiety and I felt it was a barrier which prevented me from expressing my creative side due to over-analysing everything and judging my own work. 

In order for me to counteract this emotion I found meditation and balancing your chakras could really help, so in my design I wanted to incorporate the solar plexus chakra, known as Manipura Chakra in Sanskrit which is roughly translated to ‘City of Jewels’. It was important for me to incorporated this into my nails as when it becomes out of balance we can experience fear, loss of control and anxiety, all things I felt and wanted to try and correct. This chakra is one that regulates fear, sense of power, as well as gut feelings. Gut feelings are something I always go by, but in Season 6 I did a design and did not submit it, which I regretted. 

This chakra is regarded as one of the most powerful of the chakras and has profound influences on the personal powers we posses as well as it influencing both our personal and professional success. 

In my design you will see yellow citrine Swarovskis. Yellow is the colour used to represent the solar plexus chakra as it symbolises and energy vortex and it’s connection either fire, energy and charge as well as other powerful emotions.  I wanted to use this colour and stone in my design as when you have this powerful and fiery element present within a harmonious balance it can allow us to become much more active, energetic & forthcoming with a cheerful disposition which then allows us to respect not only ourselves but also others.  

The mirror used in my design with ‘Focus on your goals, Not your fears’ is there to show that we need to believe this in order to progress forward. leave fear in the background, after all without fear what may exist in the world. fear will always be there and the best way to overcome your fears is to face them. 

Click here to watch her video.

21. Sparkels Brown (@SparkelsLuxuryNails​)

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The definition of serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Serenity is an emotion that sits near to my heart. To me life without serenity is something I couldn’t imagine. Serenity feels like a breath of fresh air on a warm spring day in a field to me. It makes me feel as light and as graceful as a bubble floating. This inspired the piece I assembled. I used pastel colors with pops of purples to give the feeling of soothing and beautiful color palettes. Since serenity is simple I chose to use small Swarovski Crystals and bold statement Swarovski Crystals. I did this to not overcrowd the art piece due to the theme I chose, and to give a mix of highlight and bold Swarovski Crystals. I wanted to catch a glimpse of serenity, a still moment. I want you to feel the gentle breeze flowing past as it lifts the bubbles. I want to convey the subtle yet bold beauty of nature and the playfulness of air. I used builder gel and CND acrylic to bring the 3D elements to life. I went for a bold 3D gel lip to make the mouth blowing bubbles and I went for large 3D clear bubbles to give the artwork a sense of weightlessness. I wanted the bubble wand to add a simple 3D accessory that helps the storyline flow and show the stillness of a bubble coming out of the wand. This challenge was a pleasure to do and Swarovski sent use beautiful crystals to use. Over all this challenge gave me serenity because I got to sit in peace doing what I love feeling that the weight of the world was off my shoulders.

Click here to watch her video.

22. Stella Sampson (@nailart.stella​)

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The need for more time, working long hours and generally modern life have brought man to a state of constant anxiety. This in turn creates many problems in life and in work as we can't perform as we normally would either in interpersonal relationships, health disorders, as in my case that of an auto immune disease. That's why I chose in this challenge to depict the anxiety and how much better we feel after managing to deal with it. I wanted to show the same person in a state of anxiousness and peacefulness, I separated the tips in two sections to show these conflicting situations in comic style incorporating the things which represent each situation. The first section shows a girl in a state of anxiety, confusion and insecurity. The bomb ready to explode symbolizes the state of the person under extreme anxiety. The lock symbolizes the dead end our own mind puts us in, where we stop thinking clearly. It's so easy to change our way of thinking, rationalizing our anxiety and making it our ally to make it more creative. The second section shows the same girl free from her anxiety. The battery represents the energy she has. The superman symbol symbolizes the strength, the courage and the faith in herself and her smile shows the optimism with which she deals with life and its problems. Those are two states our own mind puts us in. It's our choice to be free from our anxiety. Don't forget that it takes a positive attitude to achieve positive results!

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23. Trina Wright (@OohSnaap​)

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The set represents the joy that we feel when we allow our creative juices to flow! Orange is the color of joy, happiness, creativity and success which fell right in line with my favorite Swarovski crystal from this collection; electric orange.

The color electric orange was the motivating factor to this piece. In prepping for the design, the background consists of a vertical ombre of neon colors across the five nail tips and topped with a velvety matte finish. As the set was assembled a glitter placement technique was done with iridescent glitter around the design for a little extra sparkle.

Across the tops of the nails you’ll find the bold word “Juicy” which was made with bright orange gel, jewelry gel and then inlaid completely with Swarovski crystals using the glitter placement technique. Inside the lettering there are various AB crystals, flat back pearls, Starry Night crystal pixies and little accents of the “The Power of Emotion” collection’s electric orange, electric blue and AB heart flat back crystals.

Emphasizing the orange juiciness of the set are acrylic 2D orange pieces made of different orange colored acrylics mixed with clear acrylic for that sheer fruity fresh look. Each orange piece was textured while the acrylic was curing for a more realistic fruit look. The orange pieces were flocked around the rind areas with orange acrylic for a zesty texture in contrast to the wet fruity inside look.

The 3D piece is a “creative juice” aquarium tumbler that was built out of jewelry, builder and no shine topcoat gels around an acrylic brush holder and clear acrylic for sealing/detail purposes. The tumbler was filled with the remainder starry nights crystal pixies, caviar beads, fine glitter, fimo orange slices and teeny dash of orange food coloring in water. A straw was built from acrylic and placed under and above the sealing top piece so that you can see the straw through the drink. The ice cubes topping the drink were made from polygel. To bling it all together, fishing wire was adhered to 2 teardrop Swarovski crystals and fastened to 2 orange pieces for a juicy drip look.

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24. Tynetta Wright (@stingbeautystudio​)

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I chose to depict the emotion ‘Laugh now, cry later’. When I found out that I made the Top 24 I was overwhelmed with emotions. I am very grateful, happy, and excited to be a part of this year’s competition. One emotion that stuck out to me when we got the theme for the pre-challenge was happiness. I was filled with joy to be recognized as the artist that I know I can be! With happiness comes uncontrollable smiling and laughter. This is the reason I chose to center my piece around the big smile. However, all competitions come with a mix of emotions. Of course initially you are happy, but once I started thinking about what I would do I became a little bit stressed out. I was worried that my idea wouldn’t fork out or that maybe something wouldn’t go exactly as planned. All competitions come with excitement and joy to be competing, but they also come with some stress and worrying. To depict these emotions I decided to add the tears. We were also instructed to add an element of 3D to the piece. Instead of the usual 3D that I’m used to doing I wanted to do something outside of the box. I made the tears 3D but I also made the smiley face 3D by having it literally popping off the background. I also decided to add an element of movement by adding a spring underneath the smiley face. The spring causes the face to shake, which conveys a moment of ‘shaking laughing’. Or as some might say, ‘so happy I could cry’. The spring also helped bring the face forward to show how strongly these emotions were working in me! 

Click here to watch her video.