Claudine Morgan, co-owner of At Your Fingertips LLC in Fayetteville, N.C., did sculptured acrylic nails (polished by nail technician Sonia Glover) on this month's cover model.
What seasoned nail competitor travels around the country with her nail technician mother as her model? Give up? It's Claudine Morgan, co-owner of At Your Fingertips LLC in Fayetteville, N.C., and the #2 Top 25 Competitor of 1996. Morgan has been in the competition arena since age 5, when she started riding in equestrian events. "I compete to learn more, so 1 can get better. I may walk away learning something as little as a new polish technique," says Morgan. "You have to also keep in mind that nail styles are always changing so when you think you're where you want to be as a competitor, a new nail fashion may come along."
Morgan, who has been competing for six years, used to get intimidated very easily by the stiff competition. "I'd be nervous and focus on who was there, not on the nails I was doing," she says. Now Morgan says she needs to work on getting her time down when working on the polished hand. She still strives for perfection even though slight flaws can be covered up with polish. "Sometimes I have to cut corners to make up time, and may leave leftover dust on the hand. I've gotten my share of second places because of dust," she admits.
Morgan's mother Charlotte, the artist in the family, serves as her model because of her really nice nail beds and hands. "One big advantage at nail competitions is having a model that travels with you," she says.
Morgan started getting her nails done at 15, and was the first in her family to become a nail technician (her younger sister also does nails)."My nail technician taught me a lot about how to do nails, but she also warned me about having to deal with difficult clients, so I was hesitant at first," says Morgan, who knew that dealing with the public would be more of a challenge than doing quality nails.
Rest assured, Morgan's good people skills are intact and come in handy as an educator for EZ Flow Nail Products. At many of the schools where she's taught, Morgan has found she knows more about nails than the instructor. "Some students have told me they learned more in four hours from me than they did for weeks in class," she says. Morgan cites the minimal 150 hours required for receiving a nail technician's license in North Carolina as part of the problem. "It limits how much one can teach," she says. For Morgan, educating keeps her on her toes, helps in her competitions, and is valuable practice time. Maybe that's why she'd like to own a nail school someday.