Close

Nail Design

Announcing the Final Three Next Top Nail Artist Finalists

by Hannah Lee | February 3, 2014
The Top 3 Finalists for NAILS Next Top Nail Artist: Buddy Sims, Ryoko Garcia, and Lauren Wireman

The Top 3 Finalists for NAILS Next Top Nail Artist: Buddy Sims, Ryoko Garcia, and Lauren Wireman

Last September, 12 nail artists set out to see who would have what it takes to become NAILS Next Top Nail Artist. Battling it out on the tiniest of canvasses, these artists created some masterful looks that shocked and delighted the judges week after week. For 10 weeks, we challenged the contestants to use their imagination and their best nail skills to meet our stringent requirements. Sadly, we had to send one contestant “packing up his or her paintbrushes” each week. Saying goodbye to so many great contestants was never easy. (We look forward to seeing more of them in the pages of NAILS in the near future!)

By the end of November, we were left with just three nail artists still standing — Buddy Sims, Lauren Wireman, and Ryoko Garcia. As part of their prize package for making it to the finals, we’re flying them out to the ISSE Long Beach show. They’re busy working on their final challenge over the holidays, and they’ll be bringing their fantasy looks to the show floor where one final round of judging will take place before we crown a winner on Sunday, January 26. Who will it be?

Thank you to Gelish for sponsoring this year’s NAILS Next Top Nail Artist and to all of our weekly sponsors: CND, Dashing Diva, Entity, Gel II, It’s So Easy, INM, Misa, NSI, OPI, and Orly. Without these sponsors, we wouldn’t have been able to make such a successful competition with such a fun prize package!

Want to find out more about our Top 12 and see the 10 weekly challenges? Log on to ntna.nailsmag.com.

Read on to find out a little more about these three talented techs.

[PAGEBREAK]

The Newbie: Harold “Buddy” Sims, Bella Dea Day Spa, Omaha, Neb.

Buddy Sims

Buddy Sims

NAILS: How does it feel to make it to the Top 3? 

Buddy: Being in the Top 3 is almost hard to believe! At the beginning of the competition, I wasn’t sure if there was a light at the end of the tunnel! Nonetheless, we made it! I am so very honored to be here. Being selected with the unique and talented individuals was everything, until my competitive and creative sides took over! I am overjoyed that all my hard work has led me to this point, and I congratulate everyone involved in NTNA, as this has truly been a wonderful experience.


Buddy finished in the Top 3 in this fashion-themed challenge

Buddy finished in the Top 3 in this fashion-themed challenge

NAILS: What was your favorite challenge of the first 10?

Buddy: How could I choose!? I put all my heart and soul into everything I did, but, ­seeing as you are making me choose — I loved the fashion week challenge sponsored by CND the most. I loved the tie-in of runway fashion, The Blonds, and unique materials. These elements in unison helped create some stellar designs.

NAILS: What challenge did you find the most difficult? 

Buddy: The most difficult challenge was the one that landed me in the bottom — Misa’s polish-themed challenge. It was a great challenge, but I was too inside my head. I think I was too literal in my interpretation and should have worked outside the box more. I still stand by the design, which took plenty of time, but I am open enough to accept those constructive criticisms. 

NAILS: What do you think is the greatest strength of each of your two final competitors? 

Buddy: Lauren really seems to be a jack-of-all trades with her own unique approach to ­everything she touches. I loved everything she did; her pieces were beautiful. Her strengths are many, so whatever she does at the finals will be surprising and amazing! Ryoko is very consistent and concise. She also seems to do it all! Every technique was perfectly executed. Her designs for the finals will be flawless and unforgiving, as she has the experience to back it up. 


Buddy's workstation

Buddy's workstation

NAILS: What has the experience of being in the Top 12 of NTNA been like? 

Buddy: Exhausting! LOL! It really has been a lot of hard work and serious dedication, but it was worth every minute. It has been fun getting to know everyone through the challenges. Each challenge was so different that I was able to do and learn many different things. I learned so much and surprised myself a few times!


Buddy Sims with his mentor, salon owner Pam Rowland

Buddy Sims with his mentor, salon owner Pam Rowland

NAILS: Who has been your biggest ­supporter throughout the competition?

Buddy: Though my family and loved ones were always there for me, I can’t ignore the support from my salon owner, Pam Rowland. She gave me carte blanche to do whatever was needed to take it all the way (while helping keeping my sanity)! Pam offered every product available and her words of wisdom kept my feet on the ground. She was the one who gave me the NTNA application! I really do owe her a debt of gratitude as I wouldn’t be here without her. 


Buddy finished in the Top 3 in this swan-themed challenge

Buddy finished in the Top 3 in this swan-themed challenge

NAILS: Do you have any sage words of advice to future NTNA competitors about the competition? 

Buddy: I think the best advice is to be as ­prepared as possible and make sure you  can commit fully to the competition as a whole. This was not for the faint of heart. This ­competition has been the main focus in my life, for all the right reasons. You really have to be open to all the possibilities offered with NTNA.

NAILS: Finish this sentence: “If I win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist competition…” 

Buddy: “… I believe it will show other newer artists/technicians that with the proper tools, education, and commitment, anyone can become NAILS Next Top Nail Artist. I hope these things in conjunction with my talent and personality earn me the title — though I already feel like a winner!”

NAILS:  What are you looking forward to the most about being in the final challenge? 

Buddy: I am looking forward to everything about the experience of the finals.  It will be amazing to get this type of exposure, while finally meeting my competitors and judges. Getting out of Nebraska ­during the winter will be pretty great, too! I just hope my nerves don’t get the best of me…this is ­serious stuff.

Buddy won Week 3: Home Is Where the Heart Is challenge with these nails.

Buddy won Week 3: Home Is Where the Heart Is challenge with these nails.

 [PAGEBREAK]

The Teacher. Lauren Wireman, Wildflowers, Cape Coral, Fla.

Lauren Wireman

Lauren Wireman

NAILS: How does it feel to make it to the Top 3? 

Lauren: I feel excited and a little nervous.


Lauren won this fashion-themed challenge.

Lauren won this fashion-themed challenge.

NAILS: What was your favorite challenge of the first 10?

Lauren: My favorite challenge was the CND challenge. I was in Pittsburgh visiting my family, and my dad was trying really hard to help me. He came downstairs with a memory card and my mom’s X-rays. At first I wasn’t sure but then I decided to go with it — because how often in life do you get to design a set of nails with your dad? It was priceless.

NAILS: What challenge did you find the most difficult? 

Lauren: I found the Gel II hometown mural to be the most difficult because I do not have a lot of experience in mural painting, and ­looking through former mural challenges on the website, it was difficult to figure out what the judges really like when it comes to murals. 


Lauren won this applique challenge.

Lauren won this applique challenge.

NAILS: What do you think is the greatest strength of each of your two final competitors? 

Lauren: The strongest thing about Buddy is that I feel he is completely unpredictable. He’s not afraid to think outside the box and just go with it. When he nails something (no pun intended) it seems to blow everyone else’s entries out of the water. Ryoko has a strong eye for detail, design, and balance. 

NAILS: What has the experience of being in the Top 12 of NTNA been like? 

Lauren: I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. I was constantly praying that I wouldn’t get sick because of all of the hours I was working, in addition to the hours I was spending on the challenges. That was the bad part. The awesome part was when people that you don’t even know pick your design and say how amazing it is. I just wanted to hug ­people through the Internet. My customers were all jazzed up about it too, which was fun!  My family has been going crazy, and I have an entire high school Zumba gym class in ­Georgia making videos for me cheering me on! It’s an emotional roller coaster.


Lauren Wireman (right) with her biggest supporter Melissa McComb

Lauren Wireman (right) with her biggest supporter Melissa McComb

NAILS: Who has been your biggest supporter throughout the competition?

Lauren: Melissa McComb. She has been my #1 non-family member fan since the day I picked up a sable hair brush. I was the nail instructor, and Melissa was a student at the beauty school. 

NAILS: Do you have any sage words of advice to future NTNA competitors about the competition? 

Lauren: Clear your schedule as much as ­possible because you will need plenty of time for the challenges.  Surround yourself with people who have an eye for design, who will give you honest feedback, and have an abundance of acrylic nail and natural nail models lined up. Do anything you can to ­improve your skills, or learn new ones before the competition begins. And lastly, sometimes less is more.


Lauren's workstation

Lauren's workstation

NAILS: Finish this sentence: “If I win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist competition…” 

Lauren: “…I will take a vacation, and raise my prices when I get back.”

NAILS: What are you looking forward to the most about being in the final challenge? 

Lauren: Meeting new people, and teaching other individuals as passionate about nails as I am, and inspiring them, motivating them, sharing secrets and tricks, and sometimes giving them a swift kick in the butt or a pat on the back. Who am I? If I can do this, so can anyone.

Lauren won this '50s-themed challenge.

Lauren won this '50s-themed challenge.

 [PAGEBREAK]

The Veteran, Ryoko Garcia, Bella Day Spa, Navarre, Fla.


Ryoko Garcia

Ryoko Garcia

NAILS: How does it feel to make it to the Top 3? 

Ryoko: I’m thankful and it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t make it without my family and friends’ support. Also, I was able to discover my weaknesses throughout this competition, which was what I needed.

Ryoko won this three-stoke Halloween-themed challenge.

Ryoko won this three-stoke Halloween-themed challenge.

NAILS: What was your favorite challenge of the first 10?

Ryoko: The Gel II hometown mural challenge was my favorite. I’ve been doing hand-­painted nail art competitions for years, so that challenge really played to my strengths. But it was such a challenge for me to create them in only a week. Usually I take more than 60 hours to create this type of art. I had to give up some quality and detail because of the limited time. That tells me that I need to be able to paint faster. That is one of my next personal goals.


Ryoko won this Mariah Carey-themed challenge.

Ryoko won this Mariah Carey-themed challenge.

NAILS: What challenge did you find the most difficult? 

Ryoko: The OPI polish challenge because nail polish is a simple tool. You can’t do too much detail with it. I was practicing every night trying to figure out what to do. 

NAILS: What do you think is the greatest strength of each of your two final competitors? 

Ryoko: Buddy has an amazing creative mind that comes up with ideas I could ­never imagine. Lauren has her own girly style and her work is always clean. Both of them impressed me and blew my mind. 

NAILS: What has the experience of being in the Top 12 of NTNA been like? 

Ryoko: No life. I was super busy at the ­salon too, which is great, but there was no time to think about the design or what to do. I had to decide quickly and do it. My brain was full of challenges 24/7. I also found out I’m really indecisive.


Ryoko (center) with team members at Bella Day Spa

Ryoko (center) with team members at Bella Day Spa

NAILS: Who has been your biggest supporter throughout the competition?

Ryoko: I can’t name just one person. My ­family, friends, team, and hand models have all been so supportive of me the whole time.

NAILS: Do you have any sage words of advice to future NTNA competitors about the competition? 

Ryoko: Always be bold, think outside the box. Listen to others’ opinions.


Ryoko's workstation

Ryoko's workstation

NAILS: Finish this sentence: “If I win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist competition…” 

Ryoko: “…my career will be on the next level.”

NAILS: What are you looking forward to the most about being in the final challenge? 

Ryoko: This is going to make it or break it; it’s the last opportunity to show my skills. Also, I can’t wait to meet the other competitors.

Ryoko finished in the Top 3 with this Medusa-inspired set of nails.

Ryoko finished in the Top 3 with this Medusa-inspired set of nails.

Find out why over 400,000 subscribers love our newsletters

Videos

In our video section, watch salon professionals in action, listen to the advice of salon business experts, and tour inside the world’s top salons.

Mini Masterpiece Nail Art 2019: Urban Drama

Nail Design

Mini Masterpiece Nail Art 2019: Urban Drama

by Katherine Fleming

Congratulations to Jodie Rahaley, who took the top spot in this year’s Mini Masterpiece nail art contest after entering the two previous years. Her detailed, contrasting rendition of “Urban Expressions” by Michael Lang impressed the judges. Other beautiful entries ranged from the ever-popular Vermeer to Dali and Basquiat.

Load More