Have I mentioned I've never met Lynn Lammers? Not once. I hadn't even corresponded with her via e-mail before signing up for her team. I know who she is and what she looks like, but I know nothing about her personally. Just a tad bit intimidating.
I remember the first time I was inside the competition ring (or is it “rink” — like a roller rink?). I was a model for my good friend Amy Anzlovar who ended up #14 on NAILS’ Top 25 back in, umm — (this is where an editor is handy, maybe she can look it up for me?) 2000, I think. [Editor’s note: You’re absolutely correct — and look at the old photo I unearthed of the two of you.] I met Amy (guess!) on the Beautytech mailing list. We started e-mailing back and forth and she fast became one of my bestest buds. So when she needed a model for a competition in Reno, Nev., I was eager to volunteer.
My hands, btw, are not model-quality. Not to mention I am not the girliest nail tech in the land, and actually I rarely have my own done any more since transitioning from client to tech myself. Sometimes I manage to push back my cuticles, which, left unchecked, resemble something you might find in “Jumanji.” Still, Amy looked over the photos I e-mailed her and agreed to use me as her model.
So I drove to Reno and met up with Amy in person for the first time. She is very tall. That was mostly my initial impression upon seeing her in person for the first time. Other than that, I already knew what I was getting into.
She dragged me out of bed and into the competition bright and early in the morning, fretted over my fingers, frowned a few times, shrugged, and got started as soon as they said "go." I tried to be a good client — keeping my hands relaxed and trying not to watch her or help her. She only snapped at me once, which I thought was pretty good considering she'd already warned me she would not be at her nicest.
When time was called, the hand with the red polish was already asleep from holding it up, away from harm. Now all I had to do was go and sit quietly waiting to be judged, while Amy cleaned up her corner. How could that possibly be stressful?
Yet I was a total wreck. The way I figured was that Amy had already won competitions. Frankly, she could have probably finished far higher than 14th if she'd had time and funds to compete more often. So I felt like if she lost, it would be my fault! The only way she could lose would be because my hands weren't as nice as someone else's model's, right? Or if I messed up that polish. Or if I did something that the judges would consider cheating. Or if I just fainted dead away from being so nervous that they had to call an ambulance and haul me away before I made it to the judges' curtain!
So I made it through the judging process and wandered off to the show floor to buy goodies, met up with Amy later (she participated in a second competition) for lunch, and then returned for the awards ceremony.
The only time I have ever been more nervous was when I went hunting for the Billiwhack Monster! (Not nail-related, but a story worth hearing nonetheless!)
Finally, they got around to Amy's division. They called the third-place winner. Not Amy. They called the second-place winner. Not Amy. Then 1st. AMY! YAY! I didn't totally blow it for her!
The model I am taking to Vegas with me next week is a friend of mine. I've been doing her nails off and on for the last few years and she's really a fabulous client that I almost never have to yell at. Until our last practice set.
The problem is that now that she's starting to understand why competition isn't like doing nails in the salon, she's getting nervous for me. She's watching the clock count down and since I have such a great poker face (she sees every time I'm not happy about something), she sees how disappointed I am with my results, and she wants to help. And helping, of course, is bad.
I told her my story about being Amy's model. I know how she's feeling. All I can do is assure her that it won't be her fault.