Last year’s Next Top Nail Artist Final Challenge at America’s Beauty Show brought three women together in competition … and ultimately in deep friendship. Winnie Huang (winner), Celina Ryden (first runner up), Sarah Elmaz (second runner up) arrived from literally around the globe to Chicago in March 2016 to compete in the final stages of the competition. (Winnie is from Canada, Celina hails from Sweden, and Sarah lives in Australia.) Now, one year later, here’s what they have to say about the experience.

NTNA: How’s this year been going for you as one of the top 3 nail artists in the world?

WH: It’s been a whirlwind! I’ve done so many things that are on my nail bucket list and met so many people.

CR: Same for me. My year has included lots and lots of travel (which I love) to the states and Europe, doing classes and workshops.

SE: Since the Finale I’ve had more time to devote to workshops around Australia and internationally. It’s nice to be able to meet people who have my same passion for nails.

NTNA: Who are some of the key people you’ve met as a result of your NTNA involvement?

CR: Sarah and Winnie, hands down.

SE: Meeting Celina and Winnie was the highlight for me. And of course Jan Arnold!

WH: Yes, ditto. These two are my amazing nail BFFs. Also Jan Arnold and the CND family. Oh, and Johnson Hartig of Libertine … so many other artists and pros I’ve looked up to since the beginning of time.

NTNA: Has your business as a nail tech been enhanced by this experience?

CR: Absolutely. I pushed myself farther creatively than I ever had before. I never thought I would make it as far as I did. It was fascinating to see how far you could push your mind and then actually execute the idea.

NTNA: What are a few things you DON’T miss from those intense weekly competitions?

WH: The weekly deadlines, and video editing. Ugh.

SE: Also the nervous waiting on results day!

NTNA: Why do you feel like the three of you bonded so deeply?

SE: No one knows what this is like until you are knee deep into the competition. We were all in the same boat, just trying to get through each week.

WH: Our personalities are similar; we laugh at the same things and we were there for whoever needed support, which made our connection so much deeper. NTNA was an important chapter in our lives. We live so far apart, but the good news is we are meeting up at a nail show in Japan this fall. We are extremely excited to see each other!

CR: I remember saying to myself in week one [of the competition] that if I could dream of being in the Top 3, I would want to be there with Sarah and Winnie. Like Winnie said, I could tell that we were all very much alike.

NTNA: Three words you’d like to say to this year’s Top 3?

CR: “Go! Go! Go!”

SE: “Soak it in!”

WH: Wait, just three words? OK: “Congratulations! Inspire and Enjoy!”

NTNA: Will we see you at ABS this year?

WH: Absolutely!

SE: Not this year, sadly; I have a Get Buffed workshop in Malta; but I’m excited to hear the results.

CR: Yes! Catch me at the Light Elegance booth and doing classes.

For more information about NAILS Next Top Nail Artist, go to

See Parts 1 and 2 of the Top 3’s Final Challenges here:

More details of the NTNA Grand Finale at American’s Beauty Show coming soon!



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