The first-ever Next Top Nail Artist had some pretty stiff competition. So we decided to bring the final three competitors to Long Beach to challenge them one last time and crown the ultimate winner.
The Veteran, Ryoko Garcia, Bella Day Spa, Navarre, Fla.
NAILS: How does it feel to make it to the Top 3?
Ryoko: I’m thankful and it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t make it without my family and friends’ support. Also, I was able to discover my weaknesses throughout this competition, which was what I needed.
Ryoko won this three-stoke Halloween-themed challenge.
NAILS: What was your favorite challenge of the first 10?
Ryoko: The Gel II hometown mural challenge was my favorite. I’ve been doing hand-painted nail art competitions for years, so that challenge really played to my strengths. But it was such a challenge for me to create them in only a week. Usually I take more than 60 hours to create this type of art. I had to give up some quality and detail because of the limited time. That tells me that I need to be able to paint faster. That is one of my next personal goals.
Ryoko won this Mariah Carey-themed challenge.
NAILS: What challenge did you find the most difficult?
Ryoko: The OPI polish challenge because nail polish is a simple tool. You can’t do too much detail with it. I was practicing every night trying to figure out what to do.
NAILS: What do you think is the greatest strength of each of your two final competitors?
Ryoko: Buddy has an amazing creative mind that comes up with ideas I could never imagine. Lauren has her own girly style and her work is always clean. Both of them impressed me and blew my mind.
NAILS: What has the experience of being in the Top 12 of NTNA been like?
Ryoko: No life. I was super busy at the salon too, which is great, but there was no time to think about the design or what to do. I had to decide quickly and do it. My brain was full of challenges 24/7. I also found out I’m really indecisive.
Ryoko (center) with team members at Bella Day Spa
NAILS: Who has been your biggest supporter throughout the competition?
Ryoko: I can’t name just one person. My family, friends, team, and hand models have all been so supportive of me the whole time.
NAILS: Do you have any sage words of advice to future NTNA competitors about the competition?
Ryoko: Always be bold, think outside the box. Listen to others’ opinions.
NAILS: Finish this sentence: “If I win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist competition…”
Ryoko: “…my career will be on the next level.”
NAILS: What are you looking forward to the most about being in the final challenge?
Ryoko: This is going to make it or break it; it’s the last opportunity to show my skills. Also, I can’t wait to meet the other competitors.
Ryoko finished in the Top 3 with this Medusa-inspired set of nails.