I’m so grateful to be selected to compete again! Last year was incredible and helped me really find and embrace my unique style and voice. Someone once told me that we all have a place in this industry, but with many obstacles early on, I felt that my style of nail art was TOO different, that I didn’t belong. From the beginning I was told by many people “put down the brush” and “don’t paint”. Being given the opportunity to compete last year I not only got to show people but also myself what can be achieved with nail products, and that I do have a place in this industry. I am a big advocate of this advice now. I do believe that we all have a place in this industry but it is our unique artistic abilities, passion and styles that make us all unique. I learned so much last year. Coming in 4th place was incredible, but I am aiming much higher! I am back with a vengeance, I am ready to compete and go as far as I possibly can!
Week 8: Swarovski
Merging the archaic and future together is what Swarovski’s 2021 trend report: Futuristic Reflections, does. I was instantly inspired by the look book images and colour palette. The snakeskin, veil and metal jewelry specifically caught my attention. I drew from my Asian aesthetic and merged it with metal features to give it that futuristic feel. To me, the future is metal- cold, hard and lifeless, but when merged with beautiful ancient aspects creates a striking combination. The ancient beauty of the pottery, dragon, jade beads and talisman, blends beautifully with the metal elements, and Swarovski’s new shapes and colours also provides a metal look. Each nail has the ancient beauty merged with a metal element. This set was so much fun to create and also allowed me to send a positive message of love, strength, and hope in these unprecedented times.
Week 7: Gel II
New York City is known worldwide for fashion! Gel ll’s new collection, New York features bold colours with various places to frequent, to see the sights of New York City! I was instantly drawn to the gorgeous slate grey with silver glitter, called Manhattan. Manhattan is known for holding New York Fashion Week. This well known event showcases fashion collections from high profile designers such as Siriano, the Blonds, Libertine, Cavalli, etc. You can also see Jan Arnold at the shows designing the nails. I wanted to capture the essence of New York Fashion Week, so the models change their outfits, the spotlights are shining, a marble runway, there is a couture LED ball gown, and of course, Jan Arnold herself! This is not my typical style and I majorally stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. “You will never be stylish if you don’t take risks”-Rihanna. Let’s hit the runway!
Week 6: ORLY
Since Jeff Pink created the iconic French Manicure, it has been a go-to staple for any classy event or everyday wear. The French Manicure has evolved to incorporate colour and design to show the world what the wearer is all about.
The icon that I chose is Lady Gaga, she is about individuality and encouraging others to express themselves no matter what. It is rare that Lady Gaga rocks a classic French Manicure, her nail colours are typically black, red, and/or gold, so I stuck with this colour palette. Since Lady Gaga is known as “mother monster” the extreme dragon nail shape was perfect! I made this shape a bit more edgy and unique with sharper edges representing Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga always makes a statement with her outfits, so this set incorporates her edgy and sexy style, including corsetry, crystals, glitter, faux leather, dragon eyes, and a little gore. This set has it all, screaming Lady Gaga while showcasing its classic French Manicure roots.
Week 5: Ugly Duckling
Nursery rhymes are known and loved around the world. “This Little Piggy” is one of the very first rhymes we are exposed to. Remember getting your toes pulled? I wanted this set to look like it literally came out of a book, with pop-up images and interactive features to really make it come to life. I wanted to display whimsy with the roses and have pops of shine with the crystals. Hope you all love my set! Fingers crossed that I will see you all next week, and that I don’t go wee wee wee all the way home!
Week 4: Glitz Accessories & Such
Vegas baby! For this challenge I was inspired by architecture, gambling, iconic landmarks and people, and of course, a little magic. This set was originally inspired by Donny Osmond’s costume and performances on the Masked Singer as the Peacock. To me, it all screamed Vegas! This set also contains portrait work of Ben Franklin, Elvis, and Donny Osmond. I love bling and eye catching sets so this challenge was SO much fun!
Week 3: LeChat
I felt that doing extreme 3D would have been predictable coming from me, so I wanted to push myself by channelling my inner engineer. Each nail has to be spaced evenly apart and incorporate the design of each layer. It may look easy, but it definitely was a feat!
I was highly inspired by Elaine Watson’s comment about me being an onion with layers, and felt presenting this piece in layers would be ideal to showcase my superpower. Obviously I speak English, and you all know I can speak Mandarin, but I can actually speak three more languages, not fluently, but a fair amount. By building a Matryoshka Nesting Doll, this would allow for the layers and languages to be revealed. This design was to be done on five nail tips and not attached together, it technically still is, just in a rather unconventional way! The nails are the base of the Matryoshkas!
We were to show three nail art techniques, I showed: 1. Sculpting and carving with acrylic, 2. Painting with acrylic powder and gel paint, 3. Sugaring with acrylic and glitter.
I also made sure that my overall design did not exceed more than 25% of other products. The majority is made up of Gelee 3 in 1 Powders in various usages. I hope you all like my onion Matryoshka dolls which represent my superpower of five languages.
Products used: Gelee 3 in 1- Clear, Sleek White, Cherry Berry, Bonfire Night, Sunny Days, Bare Skin, Blue Crush, Palm Leaf, Laser Beam, and Purple Rain.
Week 2: En Vogue
The zodiac is said to influence our daily lives. I love the zodiac and read my horoscope weekly. For this design, I wanted to showcase four traits, three good, and one bad for each of the zodiacs, and show them in a symbolic and striking manner.
Aquarians are intelligent so I chose the symbol of the owl. For humanitarian, a skull with chains, because sometimes a humanitarian can feel suffocated with other people’s problems. Although water is a strong symbol for Aquarius, it is actually an air sign. The waves and water represent how erratic and unpredictable the ocean can be, just like an Aquarian. The unique filigree and floating chains represent creativity, because Aquarians love to get crazy and creative, at least this one does!
For Aries, I got my best friend to choose four characteristics of herself and her sign. I chose to show fearless through the symbol of a tiger. Being aggressive/strong can be seen as a negative attribute so I wanted to showcase it in a positive way through warrior symbols, the feathers and ram skull. Aries is a fire symbol but also represents their feisty attitudes. Aries are also hardworking, the gold leaves are a symbol of hard work. Similar to the humanitarian, a hard worker can feel constrained with the chains of the daily grind. The thumbs tie all the elements together and showcase the constellations, and give a cool, abstract, galactic feel with the rings.
Blush Modeling Resin, Clear Smooth, Sculpt, Ultra White Fill, Shine, Lac it! I’m a Matte, Simply-White, Black, Blue Suede Shoes, Mermaid, Sunkissed, Flashback, Penny Lane, 360 Hot, Buttercup, Lac it!- Tropicana, Cocoa Bean, Sahara, Macchiato Me, Roxanne, Paprika, Impresso Expresso, Fuzzy Peach, Screw It, Neon Orange, Stiletto Red, Mauvelous, 50 Shades of Red, Crimson, Tiffany Blue, Robin’s Egg, and Silver Spider Gel.
Week 1: CND
The 18th century was about wanting to escape industrialism and go back to nature, but by doing so, the Romantic artists and poets were able to discuss some controversial issues. I chose to depict one of my favourite Rococo-style paintings by Jean Honoré Fragonard, called “The Swing”. This painting shows a woman being pushed on a swing by her husband while her lover hiding among the bushes gazed up to her. This painting brings into light the hot button topic of adultery from a woman. In 18th century this was never discussed and rarely heard of, and if a woman was discovered cheating she would be beheaded. A man having an affair was common and nothing would happen, but when a woman engaged in adultery it was scandalous! A more modern artist, Yinka Shonibare in 2001 created a piece of art called “The Swing (after Fragonard)” which depicts the true macabre behind Fragonard’s painting. The gate is not only something you would see in 18th century gardens but it is also symbolic for concealing the truth. The dove in the gate design is not only representative of John Keat’s poem, “The Dove” but also makes me think of a metaphorical way to potentially describe one reason why people cheat, they feel constrained and tied down. Was this what drove the woman on the swing into the Baron’s arms? This piece was so much fun to create and I hope you all like my secret garden!
Products used: Brisa Pure Pink, Brisa Gloss, Retention + Liquid and Powder in Clear and Pure White, Lady Lily, Kiss From a Rose, Carnation Bliss, Magical Topiary, Soft Peony, Flowerbed Folly, Aqua-Intance, Blue Eyeshadow, Cuppa Joe, Creekside, Fedora, Palm Deco, Radiant Chill, Black Pool, Jellied, Shellac Matte Top Coat, and Shellac DuraForce Top Coat.