I’m Ready For My Close Up

As a NAILS editor it is my job to learn the ins and outs of the nail industry.

As a NAILS editor it is my job to learn the ins and outs of the nail industry. As a competition model at the 2003 Nail Olympics, I was given the opportunity to view the action up close and personal on my very own fingertips.

“Shows me your hands!” nail tech/Creative educator/competitor Lee-Anne Baker-Smith yelled at me. Anywhere else i might have thought I was being held up. But on the show floor at the Las Vegas Hair & Nail Conference such a demand is par for the course.

“They’re perfect. Be my model for the gel competition,” she said. The last time anyone asked me to model I was a 5-year-old tomboy mortified at the idea of posing in flower girl dresses for a catalog. This was a little different, Baker-Smith would get a model, I would get to see the inner working of a competition. Flattery will get you everywhere.

Once on the competition floor, I was assigned a number and several responsibilities. Baker-Smith instructed me to call the time out for her. The directions couldn’t have been simpler, but sitting amongst a group of amped up competitors, I felt a twinge of stress. The pressure was on and the competition hadn’t even started yet.

Consummate professional, Baker-Smith and fellow competitor Kristina Baune were a whirlwind of activity. I sat back and watched, faithfully calling out the time.

Around me other techs had their own approach. Some were cheerfully chatting with their models, other hunched over the tables with stern concentration, still other appeared to be suffering from quiet desperation. I was sitting pretty in my little chair a warm pad beneath my hands. I was a model, after all.

With a half hour to go Baker-Smith began to polish my nails. Time was called and I took a seat along with the other models, nervously waiting to be judge had a different approach. Some held my hands, turning them this way that. Others murmured and examined individual fingers. One had very cold hands.

We didn’t win, but I certainly felt that I learned a lot from the experience. And while I may not be NAILS cover material, Baune has requested that I be her model for an upcoming competition. I’ll have to check with my agent. 

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