When Darlene Johnston’s name was announced as Canadian Nail Technician of the Year, she felt as if she were about to faint. The owner of Pampered and Polished Salon in Hagersville, Ontario, Johnston said she was shaking badly from nerves and shock. Since winning the award earlier this year at a gala in Toronto for the 2003 Canadian Hairdresser and BeautyBeat & Spa Mirror Awards, she has managed to regain her composure and is basking in the glory of her win. In fact, she’s even become a celebrity of sorts in her town. “I was featured in my local paper and I was flooded with phone calls,” she says. “Everyone seemed to read the article because no matter where I went someone seemed to be talking about me.”
Winning the award is certainly one of the biggest accomplishments in Johnston’s 21-year career. In that time, she’s owned two salons, taught a nail tech course, and worked as an educator. So the decision to enter the awards wasn’t a difficult one, as it gave her a chance to show off her knowledge of the industry and her talent with different nail styles. Johnston submitted three slides of nail styles: one showcasing acrylics with natural tips and red polish, the other two featuring sculpted pink-and-white gels.
Besides obtaining the Nail Technician of the Year title and bragging rights for a whole year, Johnston also received extensive coverage in both sponsoring publications and a plaque. “They took the Nail Technician of the Year award away last year, but after so many people complained they brought back the category,” she says. “As I was giving my acceptance speech I made sure to say I was glad to have the category back where it belongs.” And this year, the Nail Technician of the Year award is right where it belongs: in her hands.