After dabbling in competitions for years, nail tech Allison Baker started this year out with gusto by keeping her competition schedule full and her product applications perfect. Her hard work paid off — landing her in the #1 spot on this year’s Top 25 list above a group of very talented and competitive nail techs.
5th: Erina Ogawa
Erina Ogawa’s Zombie and Brains fantasy nail art piece with the fully costumed model at IBS Las Vegas.
Erina Ogawa wins the Nailpro Cup at IBS Las Vegas.
Erina Ogawa has been in the U.S. for one year and seven months, living in New York City. It didn’t take long for her to develop an intricate and tasteful nail art style to make her nail work into competition caliber winners.
“When I first started doing nails in the U.S., I never made crazy nail art stuff, like handpainted nail art or 3-D because the clients I worked on in Japan preferred conservative nail styles,” she says. “I wanted to win first place so I knew I had to try it. And I found out I could do it, which really surprised me.
“I was worried though because to make these detailed nail art tips, I needed a long time, like one month or more for some, and I thought I might lose friends because I could never hang out with them and had to work on these designs. But when I won at the shows they would celebrate with me when I got back, and this made me so happy.”
7th: Seo Sang-Mi
Seo Sang-Mi (left) poses with Mi Won Kim, the organizer in chief for Nailympics Asia 2012 and the president of KANK. Here is an example of Seo’s detailed artistry and vivid imagination on this 3-D nail art piece with a mythological theme.
In addition to competing, Seo Sang-Mi currently serves as the director of creative technology for the Korea Association of Nail Knowledge Services (KANK).
In 2011, she won the Winner of Winners for Division 3 (Masters) at the Nailympics USA and London Beauty Expo.
8th: Shannon McCow
McCown had two standout fantasy nail art entries this year, one for the Hot Dog theme at Premiere Orlando (shown left), and the other was When Pig’s Fly at IBS Las Vegas.
Shannon McCown competed in the Acrylic Tip Overlay competition at the 2011 Nailympics.
Shannon McCown is an educator for Nubar and returned to the competition arena this year after a six-year hiatus.
She had her first ever competition back in 2005 at ISSE Long Beach, and placed third in the Division 2 Gel Category at the Nailympics in March 2005.
Next page: Top 25 competitors Viv Simmonds, Trina Ngo, and Ryoko Garcia