In the spirit of celebrating our 30th anniversary, I wanted to showcase some of my all-time favorite covers. It wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just 10. Some of them made my list because the shoot was memorable, some because I love the nails, and some because I love the overall feeling of the photo. So, without further ado, here are my top 12 covers (in chronological order).

1. June 1984. It’s a unicorn. Leaping over the earth. You can’t help but love this for the pure kitsch of it all.

2. February 1993. It was quite a coup for the NAILS team to get Florence Griffith-Joyner on the 10th anniversary cover. The nail art-loving Olympian was training for the 1996 Olympics when she posed for her cover shot.

3. October 1999. This embedded feather look created by Tom Bachik holds a special place in my heart because it was the first cover shoot that I ever worked on from concept to completion. I remember being so nervous about whether we got a good shot.

4. April 2002. These rhinestone-encrusted toenails were created by Alisha Rimando-Botero and Tom Holcomb. (Holcomb wasn’t planning on doing nails that day; he was just there to support his friend. But he couldn’t help getting in on the bedazzling.) I loved the look so much I had them recreate it on my toes.

5. March 2004. The monochromatic look of the nails, the cookie, and the logo, combined with natural lighting makes my list simply for the beautiful photo. (Tom Bachik did the nails.)

6. July 2005. This unique photo-within-a-photo look was created using Photoshop. One hand was done by Tom Bachik and one hand was done by Tom Holcomb. Both hands are examples of competition pink-and-whites at their finest.

7. September 2006. Elsbeth Schuetz is on hand to do most of our polish preview shoots. We task her with multiple polish applications and last-second changes. This paper doll-inspired cover was created to look like everything on the page was cut out. It was an interesting departure from our normal look.

8. July 2008. This cover was created by June Sierra using a Light Elegance gel made especially for us. I love the shot, the lighting, and the overall image. It was taken on the beach in front of my house, and this is how I like to wear my own nails.

9. August 2009. Greg Salo sculpted these acrylic rose stiletto nails and they were so awesome they had to be larger than life. 

10. February 2011. When Elaine Watson showed us her idea for this simple gel nail art design, we knew the perfect accessory for the shot would be a Sprinkles cupcake with the signature dot. I love everything about it — the nails, the cupcake, the angle, the colors, the font.

11. June 2012. The color-blocked nails by Holly Schippers really stand out from the all-white background and camera. It’s modern and clean and the nails are the main focus.

12. August 2012. An office fave, this cover almost didn’t happen. Terri Silacci came prepared to do red glitter nails to be paired with cherries. But cherries weren’t in season. So we ended up using lemondrops — and we’re so glad we did.

What are your favorite covers? Check out all of our past covers at and let us know which ones you like best. We’ll showcase our readers’ favorites in a future issue. E-mail your picks to

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