Meet The World’s Star Nail Artist shortlist: GEMMA DAWSON, UK

By Carter Rogers | 26 April 2023 | Feature, Tech Talk

Wsna 23 Gemma Dawson Qa

Gemma Dawson is a nail pro from Essex, UK, and one of the 21 shortlisted applicants in The World’s Star Nail Artist competition 2023. Get to know her, below…

What’s your background in nails?

I entered the nail industry while on maternity leave with my first baby in 2016. I had always loved being creative, but had put that on the back burner to pursue a career in academics. I was in the final year of my PhD and miserable, so while on maternity leave I took the opportunity to train in nails. I found a love of nail art and became fascinated with the competition circuit. After a few more years and a few more courses, I built up the confidence to submit an entry to Nailympia Online and was firmly bitten with the nail art bug. Nail art has played an incredible role in helping with my anxiety and has become such a true passion for me. 

What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

I have had such an exciting time in my nail career so far, and being shortlisted is definitely one of my highlights. I would say also placing first in my division for Nailympia London was a total ‘pinch-me’ moment. 

What are your career goals and aspirations?

Long-term, I would really like to become an educator. I used to do this in my former career and loved it. I would also really like to carry on competing and seeing how far I can push my creativity. 

ET nails by Gemma Dawson

What kind of nail artist are you?

My signature style is detailed flat art, particularly character art, although over the past year, I have found such a love for 3-D. I really enjoy showing a relationship across my nails, whether by painting characters interacting with each other, or using 3D elements to travel my design across the nails. I have a very particular love for the pop art style, so that is always one of my favourites. I like to work with a combination of mediums depending on the type of effect I’m trying to create.

What do you love about working in the nail industry?

I love how welcoming and cohesive the nail industry can be. When I came into the industry it was a massive career change for me, and I was worried that I would struggle to connect with other techs. However, through social media, I have made some really lovely friends and have better connections than I ever had in my previous career. I have felt nothing but uplifting, support from my peers, and it’s really lovely when you can have a creative meeting of the minds with other artists. I also love how different everyone’s style is and that there is room for everyone. 

Pop art nails by Gemma Dawson

How did you feel to be shortlisted in The World’s Star Nail Artist competition? 

I am delighted to be shortlisted, as I had decided to enter even though normally my imposter syndrome would have stopped me. It really helped me to realise that there is no harm in trying, even when you don’t think you have much of a chance.

How did you find the preliminary challenge – to create metaverse-inspired pastel nails with sharp edges and iridescence?

Although the brief was a tricky one, I really enjoyed challenging myself. It isn’t necessarily a style that I would usually show on my page so it isn’t something that I would normally have had the opportunity to create. However, I really enjoyed making my set, I actually think they might be one of my favourites that I’ve ever created. as it was a preliminary challenge, I do feel like I possibly played it a little bit safer than I would have usually so I’m hoping that if I get another opportunity to take part in another challenge I can really push those boundaries.

What is this competition doing for your profile and skillset?

I feel like I am pushing my creativity by considering different themes and briefs that I wouldn’t usually think of or choose myself. I have found over time that my nail art has got a little tunnel visioned, so I’ve been working hard to try and broaden the nails that I create. I feel like this competition is really going to help me do that more and hopefully enable me to be able to show more of my own original work. As much as I love my characters and painting Disney/cartoon work, my real passion lies with creating my own individual designs, and I think this competition will really help with my confidence in that area.

If you could create artistic nails for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what design would you create? 

I would love to do nails for someone like Lady Gaga, as she really pushes the boundaries with her fashion. I feel like she would completely embrace some of my eccentric, oversized, 3-D creations. I would have loved to make her some 3D meat nails for her iconic meat dress or create an XXL fantasy shape for one of her futuristic looks. 

What would it mean to you to win this competition?

Winning this competition would be incredible, I feel like it would be the ultimate proof that taking the risk to chase your dreams is so worth it and that as long as you keep trying you can achieve your goals. 

Follow Gemma Dawson:

Facebook: Gemma_dawson_nailartist

Instagram: Gemma_dawson_nailartist

TikTok: Gemma_dawson_nailartist