2016 Notable Entry: Yumiko Aoki, Tokyo
2016 Notable Entry: Valerie Ducharme, Laval, Quebec, Canada
2016 Notable Entry: Shelley Kane, Mentor, Ohio
2016 Notable Entry: Saori Nogami, Tokyo
2016 Notable Entry: Reyna Martinez, San Diego
2016 Notable Entry: Reiko Katano, Tokyo
2016 Notable Entry: Raquel Calixto, Sacramento, Calif.
2016 Notable Entry: Melissa Monderie, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2016 Notable Entry: Mana Shimada, Tokyo
2016 Notable Entry: Lenzi Brock, Vancouver, Wash.
2016 Notable Entry: Konstantina Tsihlas, Athens, Greece
2016 Notable Entry: Kasumi Ishii, Tokyo
2016 Notable Entry: Kaitlin Jeanette Smith, Garrettsville, Ohio
2016 Notable Entry: Debbie Brew, Mentor, Ohio
2016 Notable Entry: Celine Cumming, Middletown, Del.
2016 Notable Entry: Brandy Sucher, Tempe, Ariz.
NAILS January 2016 Cover by Anastasia Luksha, Moscow
1st Runner Up: Lisa Nguyen, Philadelphia
2nd Runner Up: Cortney Clark, Mentor, Ohio
3rd Runner Up: Yuuki Kumagai, Tokyo
2016 Finalist: Ashley Gregory, Chicago
2016 Finalist: Toody Tolley, Johnson City, Tenn.
2016 Finalist: Kimberly Harr, Everett, Pa.
2016 Finalist: KaSundra Anderson, Conyers, Ga.
2016 Finalist: Phoebe Dingman, San Jose, Calif.
2016 Finalist: Sayaka Momose, Tokyo
2016 Finalist: Kumiko Takahashi, Tokyo
2016 Finalist: Sayaka Tamura, Tokyo
Meet the Winner
The story of Cover Tech Anastasia Luksha’s start in the nail business is a familiar one: She was looking for a job to provide her with independence while she pursued a college degree. “I was studying programming at the university and decided I didn’t want to wait six years until graduation to earn an income,” she says. “After researching cosmetology, I chose to get involved in the nail industry, thinking I could easily combine it with my university studies. Eleven years later, I’m still doing nails and I still feel like there is so much to learn.” Luksha says her nail career really took off in 2007, three years after her initial decision, when she began competing. “Nail competitions helped me to improve my skills, learn about discipline, and set goals and achieve them,” she says.
Today Luksha is the proud owner of Nail Couture, a nail product distributor. “We provide trainings for nail technicians in Russia and internationally. Since 2013, we’ve also been conducting online trainings all over the world,” she says.
As for the winning image, Luksha’s intention was to play with contrast by combining black and white, and to create a design that would be striking even when viewed from a distance of several feet. “I like doing small-scale, miniature designs too, but for the cover I wanted something less complicated, but eye-catching at the same time,” she says. “As the focus was on the nails, we decided not to add anything that would be a distraction.” The nails themselves are sculptured acrylics. “I used forms, but in order to create really long nails, I had to stick two forms together,” she notes. “The black and white circles are made of acrylic as well, and I outlined them with a little acrylic paint.”
The project was a team effort among friends. “The model is one of my first students. The makeup artist is also someone I met when she attended my training, and the photographer is her husband.”