For the Final NAILS NTNA Challenge of Season 7, the Top 3 had to create press-ons for five separate themes. See each theme below as press-on tips and on an actual hand then read the contestant's descriptions.
1. Symbol of Strength
For the first set, I was inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, she was such a strong woman that continued to push trough positively in life and her artwork regardless of the obstacles that she faced. Rather than dwelling on the difficulties she was faced with, Frida pulled herself together and focused on creating her art. Aside from being a known advocate for equal gender rights and feminism, Frida is known to be a strong female figure in Mexican culture, especially for her stand on equality during an era where women didn’t have much of a voice. Frida used her art to cope and express her emotions and this allowed her to deal with the physical pain that she struggled with due to her various health issues. I wanted to represent a little of her struggle. She used leather corsets and boots with straps that would give her stability as her spine and joints were weak. None of this ever stopped her, and instead it became her reason to paint. I admire her courage and she’s a great example to not give up when things get tough and to remain strong when there’s adversity. I often look at her art to remind me that where there’s a will there’s a way.
2. Beauty Changes Lives
For my Beauty Changes Lives set I wanted to create a conceptual design inspired by the amazing collaborative nature of bees. Beauty professionals are like honey bees, they come together to make a difference and create what truly feels like magic. It’s amazing how the work of a committed group of people can make such a difference in the lives of many others and this in return leads to positive and innovative results. I wanted to create a set that would have an avant garde influence and that would scream the honey bee theme. The bee symbolizes community, celebration, brightness and personal power, what goes very much in hand with the ideals of BCL. I was very touched by the testimonies of people that have had the opportunity to be benefited by BCL and certainly non-profits like this are very much needed in today’s world to help make a difference in people’s lives.
3. Dream Client
One of the things I love the most about the beauty industry is the possibility to meet unique individuals that very often are the inspiration of our work. In my case I’ve been fortunate to have amazing clients that have not only allowed me to express myself but also have encouraged me to grow as an artist and professional. My dream client is really any client who’s wanting to use their tiny nail canvases as a medium of self expression. And who could be better to embody the definition of self expression than the one and only RuPaul, he has always been a source of inspiration to me, I love his sense of style, his personality, and his ability to create art in many ways that get to touch all kinds of people. One of the things I admire the most about RuPaul is his stand on gender and race equality and this is a huge part of his platform, so I definitely wanted to represent that. With all the struggles that the world is facing right now, it is important to use our art and our voice to show support for one another. Through pop culture, RuPaul has been able to address issues and topics that have been at times considered taboo while giving a voice to those who needed one and all while in style. Over 1300 Swarovski crystals embellish this set, along with pop art elements to honour my dream client.
4. Porter Pose
Billy porter, actor, singer, writer, activist. I truly admire his outspoken personality, Billy gives a voice to many that need it and to me he not only represents a symbol of strength, but also of courage, his fight for equality, and his passion for embracing who he is and wants to be regardless of what others want is something we can all learn from. I wanted to give Billy a strong design with high impact just like his personality. Keeping the base of the nails dark was key to make the main elements pop, I used gold, royal blue and iridescent purples for a regal look. Billy is an important voice for the black community and he uses his status as a public figure to raise awareness for black lives matter and equal gender rights so I definitely wanted to honour the cause. As a person of color myself I look up to figures like Billy that give us hope. He uses his art and means to speak up and also give a voice to others who need it and that is something I very much believe in.
5. The Janicure
Jan is my idol, I love her caring, adventurous, and innovative personality so it would only be fair to create a set of nails out of the ordinary for such an extraordinary human. I’ve always been a fan of Jan’s style, so diverse, free spirited and so outside the box, always playful and showstopping just like her personality, and to honour that free spirited style I decided to create a Harajuku punk inspired set that would definitely make for a bold look. Both Punk and Japanese Harajuku style are characterized by the way they promote individual freedom and for using bold and unusual elements for a very strong, uncommon look. I was inspired by Vivienne Westwood in the 70s and her strong look creations as well as the modern Japanese Harajuku fashion that mixes common fashion elements and turns them into new and bold looks that cause great impact, dressing to have fun, it’s all about doing what feels good to you.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.