Meet Emani Sosa: Nailpro 30 Under 30 Winner for 2023

Emani Sosa (@__thenailchemist__) is a 27-year-old nail tech at The Nail Chemist in San Leandro, CA.
Emani Sosa (@__thenailchemist__) is a 27-year-old nail tech at The Nail Chemist in San Leandro, CA.
Courtesy of Emani Sosa

We are spotlighting the winners of Nailpro’s 30 Under 30 competition for 2023, featuring 30 nail artists under 30 years of age.

Get to know Emani Sosa (@__thenailchemist__). She is a 27-year-old nail tech at The Nail Chemist in San Leandro, CA.


I'm Emani Sosa! I am known as "The Nail Chemist," and on Instagram, my handle is @__thenailchemist__ (with two underscores at both ends). I'm based in the vibrant city of San Leandro, CA!

Being a nail technician allows me to merge my passion for art, beauty and psychology with the opportunity to boost my clients' confidence and self-esteem while being a safe space for my clients. I love creating unique, intricate nail designs that evoke emotion and conversation. My job is creatively fulfilling and a way to connect with people and make them feel their best. Every day in my profession is a chance to learn and refine my skills, keeping me engaged and motivated. 

I was born into a creatively inclined family with a knack for improvisation. I have learned to find inspiration everywhere! I've been inspired by art, nature, elements, symbols, people and everything you can think of! With a background in art, I have trained my eye to see the small details in anything. I am constantly finding inspiration and new ways to bring these ideas to life on nails. My choice of medium has progressed from canvas and chalk to nails and brushes, an evolution of sorts. I love bringing unconventional designs and aspects to life. 

One piece of advice I offer to anyone embarking on a new journey in life is to embrace the fear and do it anyway. Looking back, you'll likely realize that most of the concerns that held you back never materialized. In five years, you'll either reflect with gratitude on the five years of experience you've gained since starting, or you'll grieve the opportunities lost by never taking that initial step. So, don't let fear paralyze you; take that leap and let time reveal the wisdom of your choice. 

My favorite trend has to be "junk nails"! I absolutely adore the extravagant and commanding presence of chauvinistic nails, the ones that have tons of bling and you can truly feel their weight on your hands. These nails remind me of the generations of strong Black women who came before me, sporting long, ornate nails adorned with gold rings on each finger and gold bracelets on both wrists. They evoke a sense of nostalgia, making me feel like the person behind them would affectionately call me "baby" and provide a comforting sense of security. These nails are not just a fashion statement; they carry with them a profound cultural and emotional significance! 

My favorite service to provide is freestyle nails. It's a testament to the strong and trusting relationships I build with my clients. When they entrust me to freestyle, it reflects the deep connection we've formed. They have confidence in my ability to grasp their preferences and translate them into a stunning, personalized design that perfectly complements their aesthetic. This level of creative freedom and trust between me and my clients is what makes freestyle nails incredibly fulfilling and rewarding! 

My proudest moment came when I won the nail competition to graduate from nail school. Achieving this honor was particularly meaningful because I had devoted countless hours to my craft while simultaneously pursuing my bachelor's degree and working full-time, all amid the challenges posed by a global pandemic. This experience served as a powerful reminder of my unwavering determination and self-discipline. It taught me that even in moments of exhaustion and diminished motivation, I had the resilience to persevere and achieve my goals. 

What I adore about the nail community and industry is the boundless world of creative expression it opens up. It's a realm where art meets self-care, and every nail becomes a canvas for unique designs. The sense of camaraderie and support among fellow nail enthusiasts is heartwarming, fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment. I'm continually inspired by the evolving trends, techniques and products, which keep me on my toes and excited to learn. The ability to transform and enhance someone's self-esteem through the art of nail care gives me a sense of closeness and fulfillment. Additionally, the nail industry offers the opportunity for entrepreneurial spirit to thrive, allowing individuals to build their own businesses while celebrating diversity and cultural influences. It's a dynamic and vibrant world where creativity knows no bounds, and I couldn't be happier to be a part of it. 

My top goal as a nail technician is to create a harmonious blend of my passions: nails, art and psychology. I aim to provide a unique and transformative experience for my clients, where each nail design not only reflects their personal style but also resonates with their emotions and psychology. My goal is to foster a space where clients feel comfortable, heard and understood, as I believe that the act of self-expression through nail art can be a powerful form of self-care. I aspire to continuously refine my skills, incorporating psychological elements into my nail art to not only make people look beautiful but also to feel a deep connection between their inner selves and the art on their nails. Ultimately, my mission is to empower and uplift my clients through the art of nail care, combining my love of nails, artistic expression and psychology to create a truly holistic and transformative experience.

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