Transforming the world’s most famous doll (now an iconic movie star) into stunning nail art creations has resulted in a Walsall College student making it through to the final of this year’s WorldSkills UK nail technician competition.
Ellie-Mae Bracknell captured Barbie’s signature look and accessories in five different ways over three hours. Her standout creations of a blond bouffant hairstyle, ponytail and platform shoe in silhouette and a pink corvette led to her achieving the highest score in the West Midlands competition heats. She will compete in the national finals in Manchester next month.
“I’m really proud of my success so far and can’t wait for the competition finals,” said Ellie-Mae, a Level 3 beauty student.
For the regional heats, competitors were tasked with paying tribute to a specific decade of history. Ellie-Mae chose the 1950s, using Barbie as her inspiration for bringing the period’s distinct characteristics to life.
Ellie-Mae continued: “To me, the 1950’s were when young girls could really start thinking more openly about their identities and the women they could grow up to become.
“Barbie is so inspirational. Now she also represents diversity in terms of encouraging people to accept what makes us all different. She was the ultimate choice for me on how to bring this decade to life and show women and girls in the present and future.”
The WorldSkills UK competition focuses on the roles and skills of a nail technician, bringing in creative tasks which reflect current trends within the nail industry.
The competition focuses on the role and tasks of a nail technician carrying out a range of services within a salon environment, which reflect both current and traditional standards as well as industry requirements. This may include nail care, nail technology and nail art. Competitors are also tested on health and safety, exceptional client care and communication skills.
Finalists from this year’s national finals could be invited to join the WorldSkills UK International Development Programme for the WorldSkills Competition in 2026.