I had the honor of judging the Master category of a recent Aussie Nail Tips Forum photo contest. The contest tasked nail techs with creating a full set of salon-style French nails with one to two pieces of provided nail art embellishments.
I have to admit that judging the Master category proved harder than I thought it would be. It was the category for nail educators and competition winners (versus the Professional and Novice categories, which were for less experienced techs), and as soon as I saw the caliber of the entries, I thought, “Oh no. These all look so good; there’s no way I’ll be able to decide between them” — which I guess says good things about the contest and perhaps dubious things about my ability to judge these things. But, thankfully, on closer inspection, I was able to see some distinctions between the entrants’ nails and be an educated judge. Just in case, I did ask NAILS associate editor Tim Crowley to take a look at the photos and tell me what he thought: Without his knowing my opinion on the nails, he agreed with the opinion I’d already formed. Whew.
Even though I was only assigned to judge the Master category, I did take a look at the other entries. It was interesting to see the evolution between the different skill levels of nail techs. Most of the novice techs (students and techs with less than 12 months of experience; this category was judged by Jan Hogan of Team Spa and a CND Grand Master) did an admirable job but were plagued with problems like unclear apex (such as the nail looking like a ski jump instead of a natural shape), uneven smile lines, disproportioned pink-to-white ratios, and other newbie mistakes. The Professional entries (those with more than 12 months of experience, judged by Kylie Sulman of Young Nails Australia) had fewer of those technical problems, though I did note some disproportioned pink-to-white ratios, misshapen C-curves, and too-thick nails. The Master category nails were pretty flawless and the kind any client would be happy to wear.
Congratulations to all of the winners! Entrants were asked to submit the photos from different angles, so I’m posting some of these below. Among other prizes, each of these first-place winners received a one-year subscription to NAILS Magazine.
1st Place, Master Category: Allen Rapley, Christchurch, New Zealand
1st Place, Professional Category: Anna-Lise Klok, Springwood, Queensland, Australia
1st Place, Novice Category: Celeste Burke, Mount Warren Park, Queensland, Australia