The application for the fifth season of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist is now live. I have had the pleasure of working on NTNA for the last four years, and in so doing, have come across some common questions. I thought I would address them here, in case you were wondering.
1. Who exactly is qualified to compete?
You must be 1) a licensed nail professional 2) not employed by a manufacturer 3) not actively seeking NTNA sponsorships.
Independent educators CAN apply.
If you have held a position with a manufacturer in the past, but don’t currently hold one, that’s OK too.
2. Is NTNA a popularity contest?
No. NAILS is looking for the “next” great nail artist to represent our industry. We don’t ask how many followers you have on social media and we don’t take that number into account. To keep an even playing field we do weigh public voting at only 10% of a contestant’s overall score. Judging makes up the other 90% so that it’s not all about the popular vote.
3. What rules have changed between last year and this year?
We are making a MAJOR change in that we are asking our challenge sponsors to send products for their weekly challenge in advance to contestants. This means nail artists will have product to use from that sponsor and won’t have to dip into their own supply, saving contestants a ton of money.
We will also have a past champion review the rules for each of the weekly challenges before they are assigned. This will keep challenges clear, specific, and leave less room for confusion.
4. Do I have to know how to edit and shoot video?
Very few contestants go into the contest with this knowledge, but almost all of them come out with impressive skills. Most learn the hard way and have to teach themselves. Learning this skill set is a valuable one, and NAILS does offer resources that can help, such as articles and instructional videos. We recommend you begin filming challenges early so that if you encounter technical problems you can ask us for help/advice.
Here are some references that are helpful:
5. Do I need to buy a lot of stuff to take photos or make videos for this competition?
No. There are lots of DIY ideas for rigging a stand to film. Your smartphone can take hi-res pictures, upload photos, and record. You can always go above and beyond by acquiring fancy equipment, but you don’t have to and we don’t expect you to.
6. What should I expect from the contest?
NTNA is great in that it becomes a platform on which you can showcase your talent and personality. Your work, name, and social profiles will be shared across all of NAILS platforms and those of our sponsors.
The contest is very time-consuming though. Currently, contestants are given 10 days to turn around a challenge (this includes nail art and a tutorial). You may lose sleep, have to reschedule clients, or even scrap a few ideas before settling on one. It’s all a part of the pressure that comes with a digital nail contest done in real-time.
I ask that you prepare to compete for an entire year, as pre-challenges, weekly challenges, and a multi-part final challenge can all add up to almost that much time (with breaks in between).
7. What if I am not active on every social network?
You don’t have to be, but to compete, you will at least need to create a YouTube channel (you’ll need this for applying too) and a Nail Art Gallery account. Pinterest is also a common one we ask to have made since it’s a good place to showcase inspiration.
8. How Does Scoring Work?
NTNA is not scored like a traditional nail competition. It is broken down into the following categories and a perfect score of 10 can be awarded in each category: Final Nail Design, Quality of Demo, Technique, Challenge Guidelines, and Professionalism. Every week, judges from NAILS Magazine, a weekly guest judge representing our sponsor, the current NTNA champion, and CND head judge Jan Arnold submit their scores. These numbers are recorded and weighted at 90% then added to the weighted popular vote, which accounts for 10%.
9. Does my application automatically save?
No, unfortunately, it does not. I recommend having everything ready to go before sitting down and filling it out, so that it’s an easy and quick process. If you continue to have problems with your application going through, email me the items requested on the application: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What did I miss? Comment below or email me your NTNA application questions and I will answer them here. Deadline to apply for Season 5 is May 1, 2017!