Meet The World’s Star Nail Artist shortlist: SARAH KAY ABBOTT, UK

By Carter Rogers | 10 May 2023 | Feature, Tech Talk

Wsna Featured Image Sarah Kay Abbott

Sarah Kay Abbott is a nail stylist from Fife, Scotland, 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? When and why did you enter the nail industry?

Originally, I was a doing beauty therapy. I was a single mum of 4 and I wanted to show my kids that it is possible to achieve your dream no matter what your background is; I wanted a better life for us all. However, it wasn’t until the last two years of my training where I was introduced to nails and I loved every minute of it! It made me feel relaxed and excited to see how far I could go. I completed a couple of courses with CND and some more from home so I could still be around my children and continued to build my knowledge; eventually, I managed to travel to Budapest to complete some training. It was difficult due to the language barrier but I succeeded and now I create nail sets ranging from French nails to painting my clients favourite characters on their nails which can be flat or made 3D; personally, I love working with a mixture of mediums.

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

It was my first year entering but I still managed to win a Scratch Star award; I didn’t even think I could be shortlisted so winning definitely blew my mind. The trophy is the best one I have and I hope I can add more to the collection.

What are your career goals and aspirations?

I would like to focus on the teaching side of my business; while I have been successful in having my own courses accredited so that I can teach them, I would like to add to my list of courses I can offer. I also plan on doing more training myself as I feel this is an ever-changing industry and there are always new skills to learn and new products to use and since I favour working in mixed media, I will be starting with formal training in mixed media.

What kind of nail artist are you? What’s your signature style and favoured techniques?

My favourite techniques are hand painted flat art and mixed media art as they offer a world where you can be free in what you create. Freehand art, especially painting characters and celebrities challenge my skills so that I can achieve the best outcome; the same can be said for mixed media work. I haven’t had any formal training apart from a few courses during lockdown so it’s still a learning curve for me but I have created some great pieces including a shop window with lights and even a working waterfall.

What do you love about working in the nail industry?

The nail industry can be so rewarding; I have met many people that feel like family and have learnt so much from others other the years which has not only helped the business side of my work but also the competition side. When I first started my nail journey, I had no idea nail competitions existed; nail art was more lines and simple art at the time for me. But one time, I met another nail tech and as I was showing her some of my old designs, she encouraged me to enter my first competition and I was gobsmacked when I won 1st place with incredible scores! I have the nail industry and a lot of people in it to thank for all the help, support and advice; I wouldn’t be here without them.

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

I am over the moon to be shortlisted as a finalist; it makes me so proud to see my name and face beside that of other nail techs/artists who create incredible art. My children, especially my youngest, get excited as well and tell me how proud they are of me; it makes it all worth it.

How did you find the preliminary challenge?

Hard, very hard. I didn’t think I understood the brief so I tried out what I was thinking, convincing myself it was right but then I got ill so I lost 4-5 days of creating. Once I was better, I started over and created and presented something that wasn’t my best work and when other nail techs/artist’s work was shown, I discovered I was on the right lines with my first design; I scolded myself for that. Always go with your gut.

What is this competition doing for your profile and skillset?

I have really tried to make improvements with my time management and breaking things down into smaller sections so that work can be completed; I definitely found it more difficult towards the end since I was unwell.

This competition is pushing me to use techniques I hadn’t tried before and I think this has done a lot for my problem solving skills in order for me to make a new technique work for me. With this style of competition, there are a lot of areas of techniques that need further research to be done so that you can create pieces that flow with the given brief. This is also important to the improvement of my sketches as it allows my to erase and fix areas that don’t work out by doing this; it prevents so many errors in the practical work.

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

It would have to be either Cardi B or Ru Paul.

For Cardi B, I would go for the maximalist approach with her nails as she’s not scared to try new trends or start her own. I love how her nail artist, Jenny, applies lots of bling; I would do the same but in my own style.

For Ru Paul, I would go with nails that were bold in colour and stood out to make you feel empowered and fierce because after all, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

What would it mean to you to win this competition?

It would be a dream come true! I think someone would have to pinch me and I would be completely lost for words. We all layer focus on the things we want but actually achieving them takes hard work and dedication and by going on to win would show you that your hard work has been worth it; it would be life changing.

Follow Sarah Kay Abbott: 

Facebook: SarahAbbottNailartist

Instagram: sarahk_nailartist

TikTok: sarahk_nailartist