As in past years, veteran competitors John Hauk, Salina Rush, and Lorena Marquez, all familiar with the winner’s circle, set the pace for the competition.
Marquez Keeps It Up: There is a lot to be said about tenacity, and Lorena Marquez (above, left), owner of At Your Fingertips in Watsonville, Calif., could write a book on the subject. A diligent competitor, Marquez has placed solidly on the Top 25 list for six years, and has made it to the top three for the past two years. Determined to reach her goal of being the number-one competitor, Marquez plans on competing next year as well.
And while she may not have reached her goal of being number one just yet, Marquez has learned a valuable lesson in her years of competing — how to save money. Just last year “I spent $15,000 competing, this year I lowered that amount to about $3,000,” says Marquez. Her secret:“Going to local competitions and making all of my competitions count — even if I don’t get first place in every event.”
Out With a Bang: Showing that he still has what it takes, one of the most recognizable faces in the nail industry, Tom Holcomb, took to the stage one last time at the 2002 Nail Olympics and took home more than just glory. With medals around his neck and much adoration from the international crowd, Holcomb was named the overall winner of the Division III category. The globetrotting dynamo has no plans for competing in the foreseeable future, but we will surely see his protégés continue to appear on the Top 25 list for years to come.
International Flare: The first of two international competitors to make it to the top 10, Karin Strom of Gothenburg, Sweden, rounds out the top five. Her appearance on the Top 25 list is a testament to the importance of SuperPoints events as all of her points were earned at a single SuperPoints event — the Nail Olympics. This is Strom’s first time on the list, so keep an eye out for her in the future.
Steady As She Goes: Rita Horvath of American Beauty Center in Boca Raton, Fla., has competed for six years and first made an appearance on the Top 25 list in 1998. Always a consistent competitor, Horvath enjoys the sculpting competitions and counts the Premiere show in Orlando, Fla., among her favorite events.
For the Love of the Game: Ask Laura Scott of Don Allens Salon in Santa Clarita, Calif., her favorite competition or show, and she will answer the Nail Olympics. And the Nail Olympics like her too — in 2001 Scott took home Top of All World, and in 2002 she got two first-place wins in the mixed media nail art and airbrush competitions.
Creative Drive: We at NAILS knew that Ellen Torchia of North Bend, Wash., is special — after all, we asked her to be our featured artist for Nail Art Studio in October 2002.What we didn’t know is that Torchia is an exceptionally strong competitor. In 2002 Torchia placed in mixed media nail art, airbrush, and wraps competitions. Not a bad start to a competition career!
Artistry in the UK: The second international competitor to make it into the top 10, Jacqui Jefferd of Hampshire, UK, is a nail art junkie. A member of Team Creative, Jefferd’s specialty is “out of this world” fashion nails. A salon owner and Creative’s 1996 Educator of the Year, Jefferd’s gets her nail art fix as a member of the UK artistic team “The Untouchables.”
Amy Cooper-Becker of West Allis, Wis., has been competing for 11 years and is a fixture on the Top 25 list. “I have fun no matter what event I’m competing in,” she says.
Renee Turnball of the Virgin Islands is the picture of shock after winning first place in a Division I acrylic competition her first competition ever.
Akiko Akui (right, with NAILS editor Hannah Lee) an international competitor and owner of Oriental Nail Co. Ltd. in Tokyo, is a celebrated nail artist and competition judge in Japan.
Diana Tingle (holding baby)of Oviedo, Fla., has been a nail tech for 23 years and an active competitor since 1985.“Competition has always been the best way for me to learn new things, sharpen my skills, and is the key to keeping excitement in my career,” she says.“ Now a dedicated mentor as well, Tingle hopes to open a nail school in the future.