I’ve been meaning to blog about this because the Pink Room Cup is such a milestone in my life… but I haven’t had the time to get round to doing it properly. 😦 After the Pink Room Cup on 17 November, all of us at The Nail Artelier attended a nail art workshop by Japanese nailist Eriko Kurosaki on 18 November, and it was straight back to work for us after that. I’m only blogging now because it’s my off day!
As with all stories, perhaps I should start from the beginning…
Why did I take part in the Pink Room Cup?
1. I’m a very pragmatic person. I’ve always wanted to win something at a nail competition because you know, the harsh reality of life is that trophies do matter, especially as competition heats up in the nail industry, because they make your portfolio look impressive. Whether it’s working with customers in the salon or with commercial clients on projects, your portfolio is one of the key considerations that make them choose you. I joined because I hoped to win something – I would have been happy to win just ONE thing, but I have been blessed and ended up with more than I asked for.
2. I’ve never been good with performing under stress. Every time I take some kind of nail exam, my hands betray me. They shake so badly, and I always struggle to complete on time. I wanted to conquer that fear, and grow from the experience of a high-stress environment. I knew taking part in the Pink Room Cup would be a learning experience for me even if I didn’t win anything. I had nothing to lose, so why not?
3. I was excited at the thought of taking part in a team event – the Mixed Media Total Look competition. I had an awesome team at The Nail Artelier, and having worked alongside Jenrine and Eloise for a while, I knew we worked well together and would have fun together at the Pink Room Cup! I also hoped we would win something for the salon, to set ourselves apart from other salons. The crazy mixed media fantasy nails would also be something fun to try, as we would never have the chance to do such nails for our customers.
Unfortunately, the Pink Room Cup turned out to be on 17 November – just two days before I would return from overseas. My fiance and I had purchased our air tickets and accommodation for a two-week holiday to Chicago/New York/Tokyo before knowing the date of the Pink Room Cup, and I guess I should count myself lucky that I at least returned in time to take part. On the downside, it meant that I would have two weeks less to prepare for the competition, and that I would be very rusty when I got back. So, I had to make sure that I got as much practice as I could before I flew off.
After signing up for the Pink Room Cup in early September, I started scheduling practice sessions with my models. Jenrine and I actually work six days a week (12pm to 10pm on weekdays, 11am to 11pm on Saturdays, 12pm to 8pm on Sundays), so we don’t actually have much time outside of working hours to do any practice. We couldn’t take too much time off from work to practice either, because we were running a business and had to make sure that we were making a profit. So, we scheduled practice sessions for ourselves only about once a week (3 hours each time).
I ended up practising for my acrylic extensions 4 times.
I practised for the gel manicure 3 times, mostly due to time management issues as I had to keep revising my art to ensure that I would complete in time.
Technically I had two practice sessions for the gel extensions, but I gave up halfway during the second practice because some of the extensions came off while I was filing (I’d used nail shield so that the extensions would come out easily) and I didn’t have the time or heart to redo them.
Whenever we had last-minute cancellations or rescheduled appointments, we would use the free time to work on our 3D art for the team Mixed Media Total Look.
All these, and many more, were made beforehand. During the competition, we would have 45 minutes to stick fake tips onto our model’s nails, paint on the fake tips, and then attach all the 3D art onto the fake tips. The model would also need to have hair and makeup done, and a wear a costume that would form a “Total Look” with the nails. As you can see, we chose the theme of Alice in Wonderland.
So far, I’ve mentioned only the floor events that would happen on the actual day of the competition. All of us signed up for all three individual events (acrylic extensions, gel manicure and gel extensions) and the team event, meaning that we would end up competing in back-to-back events without any break during the Pink Room Cup.
Apart from that, there were also other competition categories that we could choose to participate in. One type was tips submission, where we could do nail art on fake tips beforehand and submit them in a box on the day of the competition. The other type was photo submission, where we could take a photo of a hand or two hands modelling our work, and submit the photo by 2 November. For tips submission, we could choose any theme we wanted. However, for photo submission, we had to follow the theme “Ten Pink Years”.
My entry for the Cover Photo category:
My entry for the Stone Deco category:
I did not enter the Flat Art and Embossed Art categories due to time constraints and I didn’t want to waste time competing directly with Jenrine, who opted to take part only in the Flat Art category.
As for the tips submission, I opted to enter the Stone Deco and Mixed Media categories – again, due to the same reasons above. To do freehand art properly, I knew I needed a lot more time to do proper research and then execute my ideas. I couldn’t spare that much time. I was fully booked for the period before the competition, and I couldn’t take time off from work to do my tips for the art tips submission competition.
The week before I was to fly off to Chicago, I was already rushing like mad to complete my Stone Deco and Mixed Media tips. I ended up reporting to work a few hours early just so I could have time to work on my tips before starting work. One night, I even stayed overnight in the shop to spend more time on my tips. Jenrine and Eloise did the same too, so you can just imagine how stressed and burnt out we were! I suppose we were really too optimistic by choosing to take part in so many categories when time wasn’t on our side, and we ended up shortchanging ourselves and not being able to spend enough time to do our best. I ended up spending only about 25 hours in total on my 20 tips for the two categories. 😦
I forgot to take pictures of my completed sets before I submitted them, so here are just some pictures of three tips from my mixed media set.
I finished my tips only on the very day that I was going to fly off to Chicago. Yikes! Anyway, I only returned to Singapore on 15 November, and on that very same day, I was back in the salon to do final preparations with my team for our Mixed Media Total Look competition.
The next day, on 16 November, we spent more time assembling our pieces and discussing how we wanted to paint the base of the nail tips for the Mixed Media Total Look competition.
I also spent the day meeting up with my hand models to prep their nails, and spent my remaining time revising my nail art for the individual floor categories because I’d been away for two weeks and I was really rusty. How rusty? Well, let’s just say that my hand was shaking badly when I first picked up my brush and started doing nail art again. I had also strained my wrist and wanted to visit my chiropractor for an adjustment before the competition, but didn’t have any time to. My regular customers who’ve been with me for a while would know that I’ve been battling chronic wrist pain from work, and it’s only in the past half year that I’ve managed to keep it under control by visiting my chiropractor (Matthew Kremer at Balmoral Chiropractic Centre) regularly. Because of this, I really didn’t feel good about the competition and didn’t expect to do well.
That night, I was still running around trying to buy things at the last minute for the competition. For instance, we suddenly remembered that we needed a black hat for our team model, and some poker cards to decorate with. Luckily, I found one in Daiso, and the cards in Cold Storage. I believe we ended up spending less than $6 on our team event, as the hair and makeup were sponsored by 99 Percent Hair Studio, the outfit was put together by our model Valerie, and we only spent money on the hat and cards. Unbelievable.
On the day of the competition, we arrived at 8am and registered. While waiting to enter the competition venue, we started decorating the hat with the cards. Yes, we were that last-minute!
After that, the competition began with the acrylic extensions event. It was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. I ran out of time to do my art properly because the temperature was very low and the acrylic took longer than usual to harden. I also spent more time on filing slowwwly and carefully because my model’s skin was a little thin/sensitive on that day and I didn’t want to lose points by causing any abrasions/bleeding when filing. I only started doing the art with 15 minutes remaining, so I really started to panic and my hand was shaking badly. I was really disappointed with myself, so I totally didn’t expect to win anything for this event.
Next up was the gel manicure event. I had to psych myself to move on and just concentrate because I was still upset at myself for not doing well in the acrylic extensions. Luckily, there were performances going on, such as the pole-dancing rehearsal, so it helped to relax me and I was able to complete the gel manicure event in time.
Then, it was time for the gel extensions. I felt a little better because at least I had completed my gel manicure in time, but I guess I was too relaxed – I ended up making the BIG mistake of painting the extensions the same base colours as my gel manicure! I actually wanted to paint a white base only for the art nails (index and ring), and a pink base for the rest, but I ended up painting pink for the ring and white for everything else. By the time I realised what I had done, I was panicking. I HAD to do my art on a white base. The alternative was to stick to a pink base and change my art. In the end, I decided to just paint a coat of white over the pink and risk that particular nail looking thicker than the rest. By this time, I was just in a “screw it” mood and quite relaxed. No more shaky hands because in my heart, I had given up…
Finally, it was time for the team Mixed Media Total Look event. This was the one event that we actually wanted to win very badly because we loved what we had done so much! We had worked so well together, planning everything, making everything… we each did what we were good at and contributed as best as we could. Even if we didn’t end up winning, I would have been super proud of what we had done together as a team, and happy that we had bonded over our sessions together!
When on stage putting the nails together, we communicated well to each other, keeping each other informed of our progress on various nails at different points in time, speaking up if we needed help, speaking up to offer help, and the teamwork was flowing so well that my heart was bursting with pride and joy.
We are also super grateful to our model Valerie because she really owned the stage and was such a natural at posing! She looked absolutely gorgeous (BIG THANK YOU to 99 Percent Hair Studio for this one too!) and worked the nails!
Grabbed some of the pics off Instagram (#pinkpartybash)!
Finally, it was time for the results…
Having experienced an emotional rollercoaster during the day, when I was upset, then relaxed, then panicking again, then excited and happy, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping to win something, but wasn’t actually sure I would, because I thought I’d screwed up somewhat. So, when I heard the results, I was shocked, overjoyed, and in disbelief.
– 1st place, Acrylic Extensions
– 1st place, Gel Manicure
– 1st place, Gel extensions
– 1st place, Team Mixed Media Total Look
– Best Award, Cover Photo (only one award was given for each category for photo submission, and I did not win for the Stone Deco category)
– 2nd place, Stone Deco Tips
– 3rd place, Mixed Media Tips
– Overall Grand Champion
*I was competing in the Senior group.
GOSH! I feel incredibly blessed that my dreams have come true and were far exceeded! It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet…
In other news… here’s a photo taken with my Principal Rachel the day after! Some of us were asked to bring our trophies to school for photo-taking as we were attending the nail art workshop, so I got to take a proper picture with Rachel! I was too tired and in shock to take photos on the competition day, so no photos with any of the international judges 😦
ZOMG It took me 3 hours just to finish this blog entry, pictures and all. Now it’s off to bed and back to work tomorrow morning…