1st Place: Trang Nguyen

After a brief retirement from the competition circuit, former top competitor Trang Nguyen returned to the arena and took the top honors last year. Even though he was busy working on his own product line, Odyssey Nail Systems, Nguyen states that his first love is competing. “It’s really what drives me to be creative and improve my skills.”

Coming on strong, Nguyen has again finished in the top spot for this year’s list. He’s been doing nails for 15 years and entered his first competition 14 years ago. “Today, all of the competitors are at such a high skill level,” he says. “You have to really be at the top of your game in order to win a competition now. It used to be much easier to win.”

2nd Place: John Hauk

Another name we’re all familiar with is this year’s second-place finisher, John Hauk. Like Nguyen he’s been doing nails for 15 years and began competing just about 12 years ago. He first made the Top 25 in 1997 and he’s been in the top five of our list every year since 2001, reaching the top spot in 2002. “Competition means everything to me,” says Hauk. “It’s in my blood. Since I caught the fever I have racked up over 200 trophies worldwide!” That’s a lot of travel for this Ohio-based OPI technical advisor and salon owner. And he has no plans to retire. “I will continue to compete,” says Hauk, who loves the French Twist category the best because of the creativity that is allowed. “The challenge in the arena has become tougher and tougher each year. I feel it’s really changed nail competitions for the better.”

3rd Place: Rachel Mouritsen

Relative newcomer to the competition circuit, Rachel Mouritsen has been doing nails for 12 years, but only competing for the last few years. She placed 12th and 23rd on the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 Top 25 lists respectively. “I’m so proud to have jumped to the third place spot this year,” says Mouritsen, who entered about 16 competitions this year. “I would like to continue to compete but I’ve also been doing a lot of international training this year too. It’s been a little stressful trying to do both.” Mouritsen is an educator for INM so when she’s not on the competition floor, you can often find her at the INM booth or teaching classes.

2006-2007 Top 25 List
1. Trang Nguyen (82)
2. John Hauk (45)
3. Rachel Mouritsen (37)
4. Lynn Lammers (34)
5. Yun Hee Choi (33)
6. Chika Ihara (32); Amy Becker (32)
8. Chie Iwai (29)
9. Tomoko Yamaguchi (28)
10. Yuri Sugita (27)
11. Kyoko Amemiya (26)
12. Eleana Maltsalva (24); Seo Sang-Mi (24); Catherine Wong Li Mei (24)
15. Yumi Yokoyama (20); Yukie Oyagi (20); Rita Horvath (20); Jung Hye Kyoung (20)
19. Patricia Wong (18); Sakura Ohta (18); Ayaka Terasaki (18); Sonoko Hasegawa (18); MaeLing Parrish (18)
24. Traci Dungan (16); Sanae Hanashiro (16); Shizuka Ohshima (16)

KEYWORDS: competitor profiles, Top 25 winners, competition results, compete, annual ranking

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