A crowd of 600 nail professionals gathered on the eve of Premiere Orlando to learn who would win the biggest title in the nail industry. Valerie Ducharme was crowned the winner of Season 5 in front of 24 fellow techs from Quebec, international beauty press, competition sponsors, and 20 NTNA alums. Her win earned her the biggest prize package in the competition’s history.
Valerie Ducharme’s passion is for education. She has high hopes of improving the way nails are looked at and taught in Canada, which is part of the reason she opened her academy in the spring. With five of the 10 weekly challenges ending in her favor, she was the clear front-runner going into the multi-part final challenge sponsored by CND.
She, along with first runner-up Halley Fortenberry and second runnerup Hemi Park, created four museum-inspired sets that showed an array of hand painting, sculpting, and mixed-media artwork. In an NTNA first, the Top 3 were then asked to do a Facebook Live broadcast from the NAILS page demoing a technique from their final set. It was during this broadcast that Ducharme gave us a glimpse at her nail gloves that were fit for MoMA. But
the challenges didn’t end there. The Top 3 then had to do their own nails for the show and put them on display in the CND classroom, all while fielding questions from the co-founder and style director — Jan Arnold herself.
Upon accepting her trophy, Ducharme proclaimed that NTNA was “the most wonderful adventure” and urged others to apply for next year. Ducharme’s prize package includes judging the Season 6 competition, a trip to New York Fashion Week with CND, a mention in Modern Salon Magazine, a guest spot in a Wildflowers class, a gift basket from CND, the title of guest editor at NAILS, and $5,000 cash. NAILS, CND, and sponsors Akzentz, Bio Seaweed Gel, EzFlow, Gel II, ibd, KUPA, LeChat, Orly, Swarovski, and Wildflowers congratulate Ducharme on her momentous win.