Nail Art

Dedicated to the infinite joys of nail art and design: handpaint, airbrush, colored acrylics and gels.

 

NAILS Next Top Nail Artist: Meet the Season Five Contestants

This year, the only online nail art competition for professionals celebrates its fifth anniversary. Beginning January 22, these 12 contestants will battle it out with new rules, new challenges, and new glory prizes.

Five years ago, NAILS teamed up with the industry’s top sponsors to identify up-and-coming influencers in the world of nails. What resulted was a competition that garnered an international following, nail art that raised the bar, and the rise of some of the biggest names in the business.

Season Five of NTNA raises the stakes. These 12 finalists have already survived two pre-challenge rounds sponsored by Swarovski (see the nails from those challenges here and here.) For the first time in the competition’s history, contestants will work with product shipped in advance by that week’s sponsor. Each week a contestant will be eliminated until there are three left standing. The Top 3 will be flown to the biggest nail show in the United States — Premiere Orlando — so the new winner can be crowned.

This year’s sponsors include: Akzentz, American Dawn, Bio Seaweed Gel, CND, EzFlow, Gel II, ibd, KUPA, LeChat, Orly, Swarovski, and Wildflowers. NAILS is especially excited to welcome Wildflowers to the fold, as it is founded by NTNA Season One alum Lauren Wireman, who will serve as a guest judge. Other guest judges for the season include some of the most notable names in nails: Jan Arnold, Elaine Watson, Allie Baker, Jeff Pink, and Season Four champion Tracey Lee.

The winner of Season Five will receive a cash prize, a spot on the NAILS masthead, a NAILS cover, admission to Premiere Orlando, a feature in Modern Salon, a trip to New York Fashion Week, and the possibly of so much more. Which of these 12 contestants will take home the title? It’s anyone’s game, so get familiar with these 12 faces — they may just be the next big thing in the world of nails.

Introducing this year's Top 12:

Ashton Harlan
Scratch Nail Spa, Henderson, Nev. @MisAshton

What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?
I enjoy the written portion of the challenges as much as I do creating the nails themselves. I like to make people double-take on my designs after reading why I did what I did.
Who is your nail icon?
Most of my nail icons have come from this competition. Tracey Lee from last season is definitely one of my favorites. I think she is a genius with her artistic capabilities, and how she can make a set of nails aesthetically pleasing from any angle. 
When you’re not doing nails, you’re …
Either listening to music or binging on shows with my babes and the fur baby. And always looking out for nail inspiration!
Favorite hashtags:
#modernsalon #nailsmagazine #naildesigns #saintbernard

Dana Cecil
Nail Junkie, Dover, Ohio | @dana_nailjunkie

Since this is NTNA’s fifth anniversary, what were you doing five years ago? 
Dreaming of owning my own nail business, which happened soon after! 
You wouldn’t be caught dead without…
My Wildflowers Nail Art Brush Set! 
Do you have a favorite nail creation that you’ve made? 
I love last year’s piece from the Sunset Strip challenge and my squirrel nail from the pre-challenge in Season Four.
Favorite hashtags:
#ntnadana #dananailjunkie #nailsmagazine #bosslady #workhard

Halley Fortenberry
Fort Walton Beach, Fla. | @missexclusivenails

Who is your nail icon?
I’d probably die from excitement if I had the opportunity to take a class from Pisut Masanong. Also, the Top Three from the first time I competed in NTNA are ever so lovely (Winnie Huang, Celina Rydén, and Sarah Elmaz).
What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?
I have a strong eye for proportion and balance. I strive to make my creations cohesive and precise. I have a signature style, yet I’m a very flexible designer.
Do you have a strategy for winning NTNA? How is this year different than the last in terms of your strategy?
This is my second time competing, and my life was a lot more complicated the first time around. I didn’t have much time to dedicate to my artistry last time so I worked on what I could, when I could. This time around, my priorities are different, and I’m able to focus on the task at hand. I second-guessed myself when it came to decision-making the first time; this time I’m going with my initial and most prominent ideas and running with them.
Since this is NTNA’s fifth anniversary, what were you doing five years ago? 
I was working as a housekeeper at a hotel on an island on the Gulf of Mexico, trying my hardest not to break/damage my nails. I was still designing my nails with just nail lacquer at that point.

Hemi Park
Cupertino, Calif. | @sugarplumfairyfingers

Who is your nail icon?
Holly Schippers is someone I look up to and someone I want to become one day. She never stops learning and shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences, and always emphasizes natural nail health and safety. She helps raise our industry standards and inspires new and seasoned nail techs everywhere in the world. To me, Holly is the definition of the nail professional. 
What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?
I am a fast learner and very quick to adapt. I always say I’m a carver, not a sculptor, because I know the strengths in my skills and when to use them in the right places. 
If you make it to the Top 3, you will  ____________ in Orlando. 
Take cat-filtered selfies with everyone.
What were you doing five years ago?
In January 2013, I was still a student in beauty school. 

Jenna Jupin
Odense, Denmark | @jennails.dk

What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?
My Danish accent is for sure unique, and that I style myself to all the nails I’m making for the competition.
Favorite hashtags: 
#jennaNTNA #nailsmagazine #cndworld
Do you have a strategy for winning NTNA?
I will focus all of my energy and time into the competition and I will do what I can to explore and develop my skills, not only in nails but also in other media. 
When you’re not doing nails, you’re …
Exploring culture, nature, gastronomy, and being there for the people I am closest to. 

Jennifer Wirth
The Nail Salon SG, River Road, Wis. | @thenailnana

Who is your nail icon?
Greg Salo. His reverse application technique helped my client list soar.
What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?
I bring three decades of experience. I draw much inspiration from past techniques and translating them into current trends. 
Do you have a favorite nail creation that you’ve made?
My favorite creation is my winning “Gone Fishing” fantasy entry at Nailympia USA 2017. It took me 400 hours and was done in six weeks.
Since this is NTNA’s fifth anniversary, what were you doing five years ago?
I was teaching at a local private nail school, holding advanced classes, and bringing educators from major companies into the school for advanced classes. 

Katie Barnes
Warwick, England | @simplynailsandbeauty

Who is your nail icon?
There are so many nail techs I admire, but if I had to narrow it down, I would choose Tracey Lee for her infectious personality, innovative designs, and attention to detail. I would also choose Kostka Bojana for her incredible structure, extreme shapes and designs, and teaching skills.
What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?
 As well as creating beautiful designs, I am dedicated and passionate about creating the perfect structure and foundation for all nail art to complement.
Do you have a strategy for winning NTNA? How is this year different than the last in terms of your strategy?
I learned a lot from being in the Top 24 last year and took that away and it encouraged me to push myself and my skills further. We never stop learning and this competition is the perfect opportunity to push ourselves beyond what we thought we could achieve and keep perfecting and learning new skills along the way.
What were you doing five years ago?
I was setting up my independent training academy and was busy researching and creating my own course literature and manuals.

Kostadina Tsihlas
Athens, Greece | @ntinatsihlas

You wouldn’t be caught dead without …
Having a super extreme set of nails on my hands.
Favorite hashtags:
#nailsmagazine #nails #nailart
What were you doing five years ago?
I was a student and also participated in my first nail art competition.
When you’re not doing nails, you’re …
Training kids in rhythmic gymnastics. I love when they stare at my nails and say, “When I grow up I will be your client” or “I want to become a nail artist too.” 

Liza Waitzman
Das Nail Haus, San Diego | @dasnailhaus

What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?  
My ridiculousness! I’ve tried editing my personality to reflect a “professional Liza” in the past and that’s just not me. I’m going to be my unique weird self.
Do you have a strategy for winning NTNA? How is this year different than the last in terms of your strategy?
I’m going to keep it real and play off my strengths.
What were you doing five years ago?
Honestly, I was jumping through hoops interviewing for a reality TV show. It wasn’t until after I was dropped from the show that I realized I had missed the application process for this competition. I was thoroughly heartbroken. Ever since then, NTNA has been my dream. Going into my third consecutive year, I’m pretty amped! It’s been a long road!
When you’re not doing nails, you’re …
Doing henna! I have been doing it for almost two years now. I don’t do it too often at work because I’m pretty booked doing nails, but it’s another fun creative outlet outside of my nail art.

Sammi Newell
Scratched Academy, Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada | @sammisparkles

Do you have a strategy for winning NTNA?
My goal is to take each challenge as it comes, give it my absolute all, and laugh as much as possible. Last time I made it to the Top 18. I think my downfall was that I didn’t give the competition enough time for the challenges but that has completely changed!
What were you doing five years ago?
I was living in a little seaside town called Mablethorpe in the UK and had two salons. I was taking a break from doing nails and ran a family restaurant and sports bar on a holiday resort. It was really hard work and I learned all kinds of ways to deal with different types of customers, so it was really beneficial. I did miss doing nails, so it wasn’t long before I was back at the nail desk.
Favorite hashtags:
#TheNailMagician #thisjusthappened
When you’re not doing nails, you’re …
Hanging out and watching movies with my best friend and husband, Guy, and also listening to Ed Sheeran. Everyone says that my husband and Ed look alike. The unfortunate part of that is, my husband is totally tone deaf!

Trish Johnson
Very Polished, Shelby Township, Mich. | @nails_by_trishjohnson

Do you have a favorite nail creation that you’ve made?
I must say, I’m pretty proud of the Eminem mural I created that won the NAILS Mural Contest last year.
If you make it to the Top 3, you will  ____________ in Orlando.
Celebrate my accomplishments and my birthday (June 7) with all my nail friends!
Favorite hashtags:
#ntnaTRISH #customacryliccolors #michigan #detroit
When you’re not doing nails, you’re …
Busy being a mom and wife, going to the gym, and enjoying a nice glass of red wine!

Valerie Ducharme
Laval, Quebec, Canada | @vdnailart

You wouldn’t be caught dead without …
My sketchbook and my pencils for spontaneous inspirations.
What do you bring to the competition that’s unique?
I think I can highlight themes and creations according to sponsors’ specifications. My brushstroke is precise, and I have a good energy and a contagious positivism.
Do you have a strategy for winning NTNA?
This is my first year as Top 12 and my strategy is to continue to be true to my essence. I will work hard to create and not to reproduce what has already been done. My strategy is to always innovate, and go beyond expectations.
What were you doing five years ago?
I was in the process of selling my beauty center (hair, nails, esthetics) to devote myself to my passion. Best decision ever!

Facebook Comments ()

Leave a Comment

Name:
Email:
Comment:
Submit

Comments (0)

Encyclopedia

Continuing education is the practice of pursuing one’s professional education after the required or formal curriculum has been completed;...
Learn More

Featured Products & Promotions   |   Advertisement

Market Research

Market Research How big is the U.S. nail business? $7.3 billion. What's the average service price for a manicure? Dig into our decades' deep research archives.

Industry Statistics for

View All

VietSALON

FREE Subscription

VietSalon is a Vietnamese-language magazine and the sister publication to NAILS. Click the link below to sign up for a FREE one-year subscription.

Get a free preview issue and a Free Gift
Subscribe Today!

Please sign in or register to .    Close
Loading...
 
Subscribe Today
Subscribe Today