First off, I’m so excited to be here! When I’m not slingin’ nail art, I’m probably hiking with my cool little family or tending our garden. Either way, if I’m not in the salon, I’m probably outside.
When I am in the salon, I refer to myself as a “nail nerd” because I am obsessed with all things science. Rocks, bugs, human anatomy, and microorganisms really get me going, so whenever possible, I will add some “nerd” element into my nail art!
I love laughing and having fun, but I’m not afraid to be serious and raw, so I try to bring that to my nail art as well. Basically, you can expect to see geeked-out fun nails with a side of genuineness week after week. Buckle up, this is going to be great!
For this challenge, we were asked to make our interpretation of the word “Nailandia” with 10 nail tips using whatever CND products we deemed fit, and, WOW, I had fun making this!
What is Nailandia? To me, it is a place that only nail professionals can go. We truly have such an amazing career. We get to talk to people from all different walks of life, we often get the privilege of making real connections with those people, be it clients, colleagues, distributors– really everyone that the nail world reaches!
Aside from the invaluable human interactions we’re blessed with, we get to have so much fun! Nails and nail art have brought so much joy and peace into my life, I wholeheartedly feel honored to call myself a nail professional. I wanted to honor this beautiful feeling I have for our industry, and so Nailandia was born.
The first thought I had was Peter Pan’s Neverland and his Lost Boys. I imagined an island that only nail professionals can get to. As a nail artist, my head is usually up in the clouds so that’s where I imagine Nailandia would be. Instead of a bunch of ‘lost boys’ visiting, we, nail professionals get to exclusively travel to this amazing island!
Since only nail professionals have the privilege to use CND’s professional product line, I thought it was fitting to make the island represent just that. Nail professionals who go to the mystical cloud island of Nailandia are welcomed by the lush Brisa Botanicals, the Plexigel Palace that sits upon the outskirts of the Vinylux Valley, and the Shellac Cataracts that give way into the serene Liquid and Powder Lagoon. One must obviously get there in their crystallized dream boat- what other way would we travel to such an amazing place?
Each area in Nailandia is made up of the products that they are named after to showcase how diverse the products are and how cohesive they can be when used together.
The Shellac Cataracts are actual functioning waterfalls and the Liquid and Powder Lagoon is a literal lagoon as well, just add water to the upper falls and Nailandia comes to LIFE! When that lucky little nail pro gets on the crystal dream boat, she can literally float around the island!
I love our industry and I love this set! Thank you NAILS and CND teams for this challenge!
For this challenge, we were asked to create a futuristic interpretation of a nail art look from one of CND’s past ad campaigns. I chose the Night Spell collection as my inspiration. The color pallet is cool and sultry with metal colors and purples. The model from my inspiration photo has two huge, AMAZING crystals made from Brisa gel as adornments on the manicure, and that’s where my imagination took over.
The nails were to be wearable, and I noticed while watching CND’s YouTube videos that most of the collections include techniques that are achievable by professionals at all skill levels. For this reason, I decided to use techniques that I feel anyone can do after a few practices.
I layered colors to give dimension to the base of the obsidian inspired nails and then gave it a futuristic shape by adding a completely flat and glass like portion. I also used a sort of marbling technique to give the agate inspired nails their natural look. To keep the manicure futuristic and lavish, real gold flakes were added for dimension.
In the not-so-distant future, I see nail professionals regularly making beautiful custom accessories to match their clients’ manicures. I’ve seen a few rings and even earrings made from nail products, so I thought why not go even further and make a handbag.
Since the crystal adornments in the original photo were my fuel for this look, I decided to make the handbag look like a smoky quartz crystal. I chose this because it disperses fear and lifts negativity, so its wearer will be able to be confident while looking chic.
For the editorial style photo, we have the model holding her custom quartz bag and we can see her crystal collection inside. Her crystal-inspired manicure pair perfectly with her handbag and she’s ready to have a great night!
Click on the nail art image above in order to see additional images from each contestant.
This week’s challenge was out of this world! This celestial themed set is made completely from Brisa gel, Shellac, and Vinylux! Well, I did add in some real space dust in the form of hand crushed meteorites!
Since we are celebrating Solar Oil, I dedicated these nails to the most important Sol I could think of, our sun! She gets her name from the Latin word for Sun, “Solis” and she is literally our means of existence.
The art was to be at the lunula of the nails, and according to a NAILS article by Holly Schippers, “the lunula is a reflection of the matrix so its size is determined by the size of the matrix. As everyone has different sizes and shapes of matrix their lunlas will also vary.” So putting the different sized planets here just made sense!
All eight planets in our solar system orbit our sun (plus sweet little Pluto, who used to be considered a planet!) so that’s where this set got its inspiration. Each planet is made with a base of Brisa sculpting gel and hand painted to look like a mini replica of the actual one. They are made mostly to scale, however the sun would have been as big as my model’s hand if I made that true to size.
While researching all things space, I came across an interesting theory. It’s proven that there are multiple voids in the universe- large areas of space that are mostly empty. The theory says that our galaxy may be in the middle of an absolutely massive void. That means that there could be so, SO much vastness in the cosmos, and we are lucky enough to carve out a nice place in our little galaxy and live as we choose.
I was absolutely humbled to think about how lucky I am to be in existence at this exact place in time and space. I get to have a beautiful family and career and I get to make art for a living. Out of all the time-space opportunities out there, I truly am happy to experience my slice of reality.
This set is based off a bizarre and beautiful look from Gucci’s 2018 fall/winter collection at Paris fashion week. The whole show was set in an operating room style set. The music set the tone with an ethereal/cathedral soundtrack with pops of heart monitor sounds and dial tones.
In the look I chose, the model is holding a 3D printed copy of her own head. That is what initially made me watch the show. It was such a beautiful and strange look, I had to dive in deeper and really look at the whole outfit. The model is wearing a khaki plaid skirt with blue palazzo style pants underneath, chic pastel sneakers, an absolutely gorgeous floral blouse and oversized bangles. Gucci’s designer Alessandro Michele look was influenced by Medieval and Renaissance art with a modern cyborg-esque twist for this collection. I love to mix together patterns and textures in my own style so this eclectically styled piece was the perfect inspiration for me!
I chose to keep the nails a wearable length, as I see the model in the photo (or myself!) wearing these as she’s out for dinner with friends, extra head in tow. They’re constructed with Plexigel to keep the enhancements strong but flexible enough to handle having multiple holes drilled into it and still keep its integrity. This set has plenty of graphic line work to mimic the structured lines in the outfit. There are also soft hand painted flowers mixed with textured embroidered and bold 3D flowers. Pops of tassels add to this eclectically styled set.
Since we were asked to include stitching, beading, or embroidery elements I decided to add all three! The beads are hand made with Brisa Gel and Plexigel, and give the look the same pop that the bangles on the model do. The khaki stitched nails seemingly don’t match but are tied in with their softer colored 3D elements. The embroidered nails are my absolute favorite! It took careful planning on where to place the holes in the nail for the thread to pass through and layers of threading, but the Plexigel nails could handle that beautifully.
Just as Gucci’s look was both futuristic and Renaissance, these nails are the perfect mix of hard and soft with pops of the unexpected.
What is my personal journey?
Well, to get here I have been very, VERY persistent. I emailed NAILS Magazine asking how I could get featured back in 2013 and I was SO EXCITED to have my submission featured! That was the issue that announced Ryoko Garcia as the first winner of NTNA.
I was still a fresh little nail baby, so I had no idea the amazing things that could be done with nail art! I grabbed all the old NAILS issues we had, watched all the YouTube videos, and stalked all of the contestants’ social medias. I was HOOKED! I began practicing nail art every chance I had.
I applied for NTNA that year and didn’t make it. Next year, I made the top 18! The following year, top 18 again! Last year, I made it to the top 9 and I’m here again in the top 15!
Aside from a nail artist, I am so many other things. I actively work with a local charity, I regularly hike and camp. I make jewelry and I have an amazing family. The circus of my life is sometimes tricky to juggle, but, man, is it worth it.
The thrill of competition is definitely a driving factor for me this year. I love to push my boundaries to see where my skill set can take me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve always dreamed of being at fashion week, working on extreme couture photo shoots and music videos, or trying my hand at creative director. To work alongside crazy talented people and make amazing collaborative art. That is my nail dream!!
Nonstop: My work ethic and ambition
Circus: Juggling life/work/NTNA
Dreamer: I know there are great things out there if I work hard for them.