We spoke with Liliya Leheta from Mississauga, Ont., who took home the Canadian Nail Artist of the Year award at the 32nd annual Contessa Awards.
Congratulations on your nail artist award! How does it feel to win your first Contessa?
This was actually my fourth attempt. Honestly, I was disappointed and upset in the past—not that I didn’t win, but I knew that I needed to work harder on myself. It took four to five years to do something different and to actually win. It shows that hard work really pays off. You just have to push yourself and try something completely different.
Your collection was so awesome and so unique! Can you tell me a bit more about it and some of the techniques you used?
I wanted to create super-sharp objects like cubes and triangles and other 3D shapes made out of acrylic. It was not just tail techniques but also engineering. A collection gets a sense of sleekness when you choose black and white. I added a pop of colour to each set to offset the futuristic look of it.
I wanted to do something different. I want people to look at nail art from a completely different angle.
How did you come up with these looks? Where do you get your inspiration from?
My passion is jewellery. When I look at jewellery, I see nail designs in everything. I wanted to create something that would look different and open up people’s eyes to art on every different angle. This collection was 4D and geometrical. I wanted to show people there are no boundaries or limits when it comes to nail art.
Does your collection have a name?
Why did you choose to enter into Contessas this year?
After three “fails,” I just wanted to show something different. The Contessas are the most prestigious awards. I wanted to bring something new out to the crowds.
I worked the Contessas before, so I knew about it before I started entering!
How has being a CND education ambassador prepared you for competitions like the Contessas? What kinds of important skills has it taught you?
For sure—to come up with something like that, you have to have a creative mind, you have to have skills to be able to work with different products. In those nails there are lots of different techniques. I’ve used hard gels, acrylic and all gel polishes and shellac. To create a masterpiece, you have to able to know those skills. You really have to know how to work with different types of products.
How did it feel to have Jan Arnold from CND be the one to announce this award and your win?
That was something else! She found my email and emailed me directly—it was amazing! She’s actually a huge inspiration and idol of mine. When I became an education ambassador for CND especially. When you look at her, she inspires you. She’s an amazing person and a nail goddess!
What does it mean to you to end off the year with a win like this?
It means that it’s just the start! There will be more. I’m just going to push myself even more. This is just the beginning…
Name/Nom: Liliya Leheta
Category/Catégorie: Canadian Nail Artist | Artiste Beauté des Ongles
Salon: Freelance, Mississauga Ont.
Makeup/Maquillage: Iryna Gromada
Photos: Yulia Trunova