Full Name: Winnie Huang
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Salon: The RAWR Shop
Preferred Nail Art Medium: All
Favorite Nail Trend: 3-D and obnoxious everything!

My world is made of rainbow unicorns, kitties, and a lavish amount of glitter. I’m a firm believer of the power of pizza. I am easy going, fun, and perhaps the most random person you will ever meet. It took me a while to find myself, but I am happy to say that I’m finally doing what I’m truly passionate about! I have been a nail technician for coming up on two years now, and I am loving every minute of it. I look forward to the years to come, and I’m definitely ready to learn more and soak up all the awesomeness! This is my second go at NAILS Next Top Nail Artist and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to compete amongst these amazing artists. I am all about sharing the love, making friends, and most importantly having fun! Let’s get this party started!

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Final Challenge: CND

Beauty Changes Lives Part 2

Click on the image above to enlarge and see all five sets.


Set 1: What’s beautiful to you?


I believe that true beauty comes from within. What we do with our appearances would enhance or portray how we feel on the inside. As long as you feel beautiful, that’s all that matters. On this set, I wanted to put an emphasis on what’s really important to me — inner beauty. To do so, I included a real heart, and a fist to symbolize strength and surrounded them with various floral prints. You will find a lot of floral prints in this set, as I think it’s a great way to symbolize “beauty.” In addition, I created two “beauty is skin deep” nails in hope of portraying that underneath it all, we are all beautiful. We live in a society where we’re constantly exposed to so many things, good and bad. At times I would get so overwhelmed that I’d just want to shut down and escape. So to cope, I  look for ways to stay grounded to feed my need for creativity. It wasn’t until my later years that I’ve discovered the beauty of crystals and how influential they are. Using the energetic vibrations of the crystals, one would be able to improve concentration, and just generally be in touch with our spiritual selves. I also think it’s great that we are able to think and feel in colors! So my “beautiful mind” nail portrays just that. On this set you’ll also see a few geometric designs on several nails. Aside from them being visually satisfying, geometric designs symbolize stability and freedom. The combination of different shapes and lines show balance, as well as the complexity of nature and the universe. When used in designs, they are all interconnected, which symbolizes unity!


Set 2: How has beauty changed your life?


The theme for this particular set I went for is “Metamorphosis.” Instead of taking a literal approach, I decided to portray how I have changed as a person. Growing up in an Asian family, I was expected to go to university and get a stable job. Being the creative person I have always been, it was extremely difficult for me to accept that this would be my life. I was very into performing arts in high school. I danced, and sang, and I really wanted to pursue that upon graduation. However I listened to my parents and went to university and got a stable job. I always felt like a part of me was missing. I was trapped and I had nowhere to release my creative energy! Fast forward a few years into my corporate job. Thanks to one of my best friends, I got into blogging about nails and that was when I got a taste of the world of nail art. I knew right then and there that this is a world I’d like to be in. Nervous and not knowing how my parents would react, I very carefully presented this idea to them. Surprisingly, they were extremely supportive and just like that, I enrolled in beauty school. I paid the tuition in full with my own hard earned money throughout the years! I am so happy that I made this jump, and I truly consider it to be a personal proud moment!


Since then, along with my passion for nails, I have also grown. I am no longer afraid to express myself. I definitely feel way more comfortable in my own skin, and I’m always wanting more! So if you look at the progression of this set, starting from the left to right. I have these beautiful crystals I sculpted out of acrylic slowly emerging out of the cocoon-like shells, then you will see full-blown fierce nails with crowns,  shields, and eventually a beautiful butterfly. This last design is to symbolize the things I have learned along the way, and that I am now really in touch with who I am as an artist: awesome!


Set 3: What does the future of beauty look like?


For this fantasy set, I knew that I wanted this piece to be huge. Not only in size, but the impact and the message it sends. Using flowers to carry on the theme throughout this collection, they symbolize the blossoming of creativity and growth here. The beauty industry is not always taken seriously or recognized. But I believe this is all going to change in the near future. With foundations such as Beauty Changes Lives, it reassures the people getting into this career that they’ve made a sound choice! So to  make that come to life, I sculpted a person breaking out of her shell. Climbing up that ladder towards the future of beauty, with the fem-bot reaching out to help her up. This future is a place that celebrates creativity, exudes confidence, and encourage each and everyone to simply just be! Be creative, be happy, and most importantly–be yourself! I took apart multiple electronics to get their boards to create a robotic stand and included a LED projection of an important message because I thought it was suiting. I am so very proud of this fantasy set, and I had a lot of fun creating it!


Set 4: Shout Your Beauty


I would have to say that this set was my most favorite set in this collection! It truly completes me. One of my ultimate goals is to see my work on the runway. I am honored to be named as one of the NextGen artists along with my counterparts Celina and Sarah. We will get to see our work come to life! The theme of this set is FIERCE. I channeled my inner Beyonce during the entire creative process, and I am so in love! Going into it, I knew I wanted a lot of “beyond the nail” action. I took apart jewelry, anything from necklaces to bracelets and earrings to achieve this heavily embellished set. To incorporate my quirkiness into this fierce set as an extra personal touch, I included a pizza and cat to the thumb nails. They are the most adorable! I also sculpted a shield on one of the nails, and made a ring to go with that finger. This set makes me feel strong, and that I can conquer any challenges that come my way. Truly, I can shout my beauty, being the fierce female that I am!


Set 5:  Jan’s Nails


This set was presented to us as a twist! We were asked to create a set that Jan herself would wear to New York Fashion Week. She had sent us an inspiration board to which I picked out a few of them that jumped out to me right away. I call these my “Janspiration” pictures. In the video you will see them popping up time to time to see which design is inspired by which Janspiration! For this set, I know Jan’s typically gone for things that are very fashion-forward and very wearable. To which, I really wanted to push the boundaries of. CND is known for being innovative and high fashion, and I wanted this set to portray just that. So I created a set that is highly sophisticated, with forward-thinking and contemporary designs to reflect Jan’s personality and what CND is known for.


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for one of Winnie’s sets of nails.


Click here to see a video diary Winnie’s final nails.

Final Challenge: CND

Beauty Changes Lives

Tippi Hedren is an icon. Her dedication and love for people and animals, as well as the film “The Birds” really stood out to me. I learned that her relationship with Alfred Hitchcock was not at all glamorous, to the point where it almost ruined her acting career. She took it upon herself to help women in the Vietnamese refugee camp, there were a group of 20 women who were known as the “Original 20.” Being an immigrant from Taiwan, I can definitely relate to the feeling of not knowing what the future holds; that sense of uncertainty is unsettling to say the least. So for Tippi to selflessly reach out and help these women, it must have made a huge impact to each and every one of them. She is truly a role model for all generations.


I went with the bird theme because Tippi mentioned that she adores them. If you look at this set carefully, you will find a total of 20 birds that represent the “Original 20,” flying free, knowing that they have the skills they need for a life-long career. I decided on a fantastical background to create a more cohesive look all across and finish off with two fierce nails. These two nails, placed on the ends of each hand, represent strength and an act of kindness—Tippi dedicated herself to provide help to those in need, making the world a better place. Through the years, Tippi has truly proven herself to be the legendary actress, animal activist, and humanitarian she is today. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge from beginning to end, and it is a privilege to have learned so much about the amazing Tippi Hedren.

Week 10: EzFlow

Easily Enchanted

Fantasy nail art is something I have always wanted to attempt, so I was delighted to find out the details of this week’s challenge! When I hear enchantment, I immediately think of a fairy tale. So I decided to write my own story and make them come alive on these nails.

A village is being terrorized by an evil dragon. It is said that the only way to defeat the evil dragon is to get a whimsy flower from the Keeper of Time and Space. So to take matters into his own hands, the wizard sets out to the forbidden kingdom to seek help. On his way to the kingdom, he came across a fairy. He explained his situation and the fairy felt obligated to help! So she decided to give him a hand by granting him the power of eternal youth using her crystals. She then gave him directions on how to find the Keeper and wished him well. The wizard thanks her for her kind hospitality and went on his way. After days of trekking, he finally found the Keeper. Excitedly, he told the story one more time in hopes that she would offer him the whimsy flower. The Keeper smiled and said “All you need is love,”then she  wrapped herself in vines and vanished. Then it all clicked. All you need is love! So the wizard went back to the village and yelled out “I am here for you dragon!” He then created an orb containing powers from a special part of his heart and sent it toward the beast. When it touched the dragon, he was at peace.  As it turns out, all the dragon really wanted was a friend, and he was just frustrated at the fact that all the gnomes ran away as they saw him. The village invited the dragon to stay and this will go into the story book as they lived happily ever after!


To say that this is my favorite set of nails to date would be an understatement. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the story and the nails as much as I did creating it!


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for Winnie’s nails.

Week 9: INM

Animated Short

This week was challenging to say the least. I have always enjoyed Jimmy the Swan in his animated shorts so I was happy to find out that we had to incorporate movement into this nail design! Since INM’s logo is the swan, I knew right away that the swan needed to be my focal point for this challenge. Black swans in particular, to me, always give off an elegant and mystic vibe, so naturally, I incorporated that theme into the background and its surroundings, using pastel water coloring. Also, let’s not forget the fairy dust — using an iridescent micro glitter, I was able to make everything shimmer and glisten. To make things even more interesting, I made an automata/crank using wires and cut-up straws to simulate the swan swimming in the lake when you crank the handle. Lastly, I decided to have this piece sitting on a base with INM’s famous “Out The Door” top coat printing on it. The spring attached to the back of the wings makes it look like he’s flapping them. For fun, I also added in some lighting — I think I’ll turn this into a night light. Enjoy!


Editor’s Note: Click on the image to make it bigger and see alternate views.


Click here to see a video diary about Winnie’s nails.

Week 8: Gelish

Rocky Horror Halloween

Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year, and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is pretty much a must on this special day! I must have watched this movie a dozen times, and I still don’t really understand the ending … that’s what makes this movie so good and so timeless!  I designed this manicure on tips so that we could preserve and stare at them when Halloween is over. I drew inspiration mostly from the costumes and props in this movie. In my piece you will find Dr. Frank N. Furter’s corset and lab outfit, Magenta and Columbia’s costume, and bits and pieces of the set in the movie. Last but not least, the iconic blood drip fonts and Rocky Horror on the thumbnails. Frank N. Furter’s personality is simply fabulous! So to reflect that, I wanted this set to be outrageously fun, and dare I say … a bit out there. Since my client is used to wearing her nails long we were able to achieve this look, and still have her go about being a social butterfly at a party.


Click here to see a video diary about Winnie’s nails.

Week 7: China Glaze

The Next Picasso

This week, I unleashed my inner Picasso. As it turns out, Picasso and I have more than one thing in common—everything from a love for animals and hats, being left handed, and our birthdays being two days apart! So for this challenge, I decided to celebrate our birthdays, Picasso style. On the nails you will find all the things that I absolutely adore — I personally would consider this the perfect birthday party. Picasso lived a long and interesting life, his style evolved through the years, so I incorporated a combination of different periods that spoke to me the most. Picasso’s personality is distinctively unique, and I wanted to reflect that in this week’s design. Everything in this piece was carefully planned — the color selection, the brush strokes, right down to the placement of my model’s hand(s) — definitely a different way to view the world! I learned a lot about Picasso, thanks to this challenge, and as one of the China Glaze polishes I used said: Keep Calm, Paint On.


Click here to see a video diary about Winnie’s nails.

Week 6: Gel II

Sky's the Limit

When I saw this challenge I knew right away that a typical skyline simply just wouldn’t do. Gel II is known for being innovative and thinking outside of the box, so I wanted to reflect that. It just so happened that this past weekend was the premiere of “The Walking Dead,” and I am a huge fan! So I chose Atlanta, Georgia, and decided to give this skyline a gory spin! Imagine this souvenir globe being purchased and left behind in the post-apocalyptic world, broken by a zombie coming out of the ground with Rick Grimes aiming to serve and protect! That, my friends is my interpretation of this skyline challenge. I think this piece turned out gore-tastically, and I hope you like it!


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for Winnie’s nails.

Week 5: Bio Seaweed Gel

In Unison

Unity: the state of being united or joined as a whole. It didn’t take me long to decide what to do, because it perfectly describes this season’s NAILS NTNA competitors. The group of us have become friends, and I’d like to consider us as one big family working towards the same goal — we encourage each other to push our boundaries, grow and create something beautiful! That, to me, perfectly symbolizes the word “unity.” The nail industry is filled with beautiful people with amazing talents, and I really want that positivity to translate into this piece. I’d also like to believe that there is this mystical creature living in a magical nail land making sure that all nail technicians are getting the love they deserve. Hence this piece, our mystical nail goddess holding the nail elixir with all the top 12 dipping into and contributing to the magic. But really, what is the Nail Elixir made of, you ask? LOVE. The passion that we all share for nails concentrated into this big glowing bottle of magical goodness. This challenge made my heart so happy, especially when the light show happens!


Click here to see a video diary about Winnie’s nails.

Week 4: Orly

L.A. Legend

I love Hollywood! This week was especially challenging because there are so many landmarks to choose from — I had a lot of trouble trying to settle on just one. That being said, singing has and always will be something I’m passionate about. Music plays an important role in any creative process for me; I can’t work without it. So naturally, I gravitated towards Capitol Records. This cylinder building with each story shaped like a vinyl record is iconic and architecturally delicious! For this piece I decided to include the lyrics of a few songs from the artists Capitol Records represent, typography-style in a cloud form, with the Beatles in the background being their groovy selves. Growing up, my dad would always put the Beatles on and we’d have a fabulous time, so I knew I had to get them in there. The other patterns drawn in the background are inspired by their album covers. I then took it one step further by having irregular nail shapes (especially the record-shaped thumb) for this piece to enhance the overall look! All in all, I had a grand time designing this piece, enjoy!


Click here to view a video diary about Winnie’s nails.


Week 3: Entity

Pink & White Couture

Wow, pink and white! I think this was the hardest challenge yet. Haute couture could be interpreted so many different ways that it took a long time for me to decide what to do. To me, haute couture screams high fashion, and extremely detailed embellishing, so that is the route I took. For this design, I decided to base my inspiration on the bead work of a few fashion pieces, creating a unique yet cohesive look across five nails. So while they are all different, they all appear to be from the same “collection.” For this challenge, I took apart a lot of rings, earrings, and necklaces, and used an abundant variety of Swarovski crystals and beads. I am extremely happy with how this turned out. It is one of my ultimate career goals to see my design on a fashion runway, so this challenge allowed me to get a taste of what’s to come in the future. It was fulfilling to say the least. Thank you for the opportunity — I had a blast creating these nails!


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial of Winnie’s pink-and-white look.


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial of Winnie’s haute couture look.


Week 2: Akzentz

All Fun & Games

I was the queen of Operation back in the day! We would all gather at this one girl’s house because she was the only one on the block who had it. Ah, the good old days … I remember watching the Simpsons growing up, it was a daily ritual. So when we were presented with this challenge I was delighted to find out that there is a Simpsons version of this amazing game! In no time, the choice was made. The Simpsons edition was released in 2005, and now I’m going to go buy it and play with it all day because growing up is simply overrated. Although it was challenging, I had so much fun creating this piece! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it.


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial of how Winnie created these nails.

Week 1: Dashing Diva

Pure Diva

“The Little Mermaid” is one of my most favorite movies of all time. Growing up, I was always terrified of Ursula. But when I got older I realized that Ursula could very well be the biggest diva in the movie! So when we were presented with this challenge, the choice was made very quickly. I chose Ursula for her sass, her blunt personality, and her devious ways. I decided to go all out on this piece, because I know she wouldn’t expect anything less. “I want it all,” she says in the movie, and I heard her loud and clear.  She is a woman who knows for certain what she wants. She has a hunger for power and control, and will do whatever it takes to get to the top! So I immediately knew that I need to have her tentacles wrapped around the majority of the nails. By the way, I don’t know how she does it, but she struts like nobody’s business. She also values beauty, and has no problem using others to achieve that — i.e. the red sea creature she used as lipstick — and that is why she is the true diva of the sea! So Ursula, this is for you. Enjoy your nails and go on with your bad self. *floaty strut*


Click here to see Winnie’s Pinterest board.


Click here to see a video tutorial of how Winnie created these nails.