To say that the competition was tough this year would be an understatement. Returning nail art competitor Lexi Martone of Dix Hills, N.Y., won a record-shattering five challenges throughout our weekly Next Top Nail Artist Competition. Danielle Costantino of Cranston, R.I., was also vying for the title, boasting a strong social media following and one weekly win under her belt.
But it was Lavette Cephus, who was ousted in the ninth week of the competition, who took home the title. After being allowed back into the competition for the final challenge, Cephus' Libertine-inspired nail art sets (which included an anagram, melting Rubik's cubes, and LED lights) stunned the judges and fans of the competition alike. At ISSELB 15, the top three completed their final challenge by answering questions Miss America-style in the CND booth. The judges deliberated in what was a tighter-than imagined race and announced the results at Cafe Sevilla in Long Beach, Calif. last night.
Former NAILS Next Top Nail Artist winner Ryoko Garcia was on hand to officially pass the title on. All the contestatnts from the top 24 of this year and last year were brought on stage before the final three braced to learn where they placed. Costantino was named second runner up and Martone was named first runner up. Cephus vowed in her acceptance speech to use the title to help motivate and mentor other nail professionals.
CND's Jan Arnold then led the room in an on-stage champagne toast to the new champion. Cephus will receive a gift basket from CND, $2,000, a spot on the NAILS blog roll, the ability to be a judge in next year's competition, and a trip to New York Fashion Week to work in CND's Design Lab.
NAILS would like to congratulate all of our finalists, and Lavette in particular, on a hard-fought competition. We can't wait to see what the future hold for these three talented top artists.
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