Pay It Forward: The Top 2 and the Bottom 2



Challenge 8 sponsored by Gelish asked our Top 5 to give back by choosing a charity that is near and dear to their heart. Then we asked them to create a single fantasy nail art tip dedicated to that charity that will raise awareness for their cause. They were allowed to use acrylic, gel, gel-polish, polish, and acrylic paints, but NO other embellishments.


This week’s guest judge was Danny Haile of Gelish. Permanent judges include CND’s Jan Arnold, NAILS Next Top Nail Artist 2014 winner Ryoko Garcia, NAILS editor Hannah Lee, NAILS senior editor Beth Livesay, and the rest of the team at NAILS Magazine.




In no particular order, the top 2 are:


Lavette Cephus: The judges loved your personal story and how you want to give back to a charity that directly affected your life. What a strong statement to make and we loved that you went back to film part of your video. We didn’t even have to read the description to know exactly what the charity is and what it’s all about just from looking at your design. You showed great brush control with precise lines on your road and the houndstooth print on the dress. Your gel sculpted people are also very well-made and we loved watching you create them. The hinge on the door was a smart touch. And we love that we can see your nail tip as a prominent part of your design. There are a few parts where the sound is too soft (and we don’t recommend filming while driving), but this is your best video yet. Congrats on pushing yourself and encouraging others to not give up.


Simone Gilbert: The judges appreciate your passion for this cause. You researched well and really got your message across. Your orangutan is strong and beautifully sculpted. We love the fur texture and enjoyed watching you create that realistic look. Your handpainted details are also top-notch (the leaves on the nail tip, the tree bark, the palm oil seeds, the shading on the orangutan himself). The design might have benefited from a little editing. There’s so much going on that we feel it might have been even stronger if you focused only on the orangutan (and left the bloody feet off…although the judges thought your blood splatter technique was well done). Your video was so informative and very touching, but we think you could have shaved off a little time from the beginning. We would have liked to have seen you make a few more pieces of your design because it’s always so much fun to watch your demonstrations.




The following tech can breathe again. She is in the middle of this week’s pack and are safe. Congratulations to:


Danielle Costantino: The judges appreciate how you represented your hometown branch of a national charity. You accurately represented the Flames of Hope and we can tell at first glance that this is dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Your design is elegant and thoughtful and the nail itself tells a story. Thank you for using the nail tip as an integral part of your design. We love the details of the night sky and water with the torches blazing through them. We like that you sculpted out your city hall, rather than just handpainted it, but we think the detailing could be crisper. We also feel like the design is a little simple overall and we would have liked to have seen you challenge yourself with more detail in your sculpting. The video, while better, is still a bit blurry. We love that you showed us actual pictures of the event because that helped us understand what was being represented on your nail. Your step by step was easy to follow.





Unfortunately, there always has to be a bottom group. The bottom 2, in no particular order, are:


Lauren Boyd: The judges were sincerely touched with your heartbreaking story. Thank you for sharing that with us. This makes a very meaningful design. We think your design had many lovely ideas, but it would have benefited from a little editing. There is so much going on that it’s hard to figure out where to focus. The angel is stunning and it was so great that we got to see how you created that portion of the design. The stone coloring and the sculpted details without handpainting them was a smart idea. The organ donation ribbon is a bit messy and gets hidden under all of your extra elements. Without your beautiful explanation, we wouldn’t know what your charity was at first glance. If this design would have been edited/simplified, we think it would have had a more powerful impact. The video portion was very hard to follow because your music levels went from low to high and we couldn’t always hear what you were saying. We appreciate that you improved your angle and got in closer so we could watch you work. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story.


Lexi Martone: The judges were wowed by your sculpted witch and impeccable technique. The crystal ball is mesmerizing and the dry ice was a nice touch. Going the extra mile by engineering things like a cauldron that actually bubbles is your strength. You add an element of surprise that we always look forward to. There is an impressive amount of imagination and ingenuity in your designs. However with no indication that it’s a charity that benefits animals, the design completely fails to share the message and bring awareness to the organization. It would have been nice if you would have added elements that would make this nail speak for itself. Perhaps incorporating animals into your design would have made sense. It would have been nice to be able to see the actual nail as a part of the design. We also wish that you would step out of your comfort zone (witches, darkness, Halloween) to challenge yourself more. Your video, as always is well-done and we love watching you create your design. We applaud you for paying it forward and making a donation to your charity.