As top competition John Hauk can tell you, finding and keeping a good competition model is no easy task. Unlike many competitors who are happy to pick up a last-minute model on the show floor, Hauk prefers to work with someone whose hands he knows intimately, often a hairdresser or nail tech who is also a client. When selecting the perfect hand, Hauk, a nail technician at Mainstreet Salon & Day Spa in Centerville, Ohio, looks first for “dramatic” nail beds. “They should be twice as long as they are wide,” he says. As for what personal qualities make a good model, Hauk says he looks for someone without baggage—single, outgoing, and likes to travel.
For this month’s cover, we look care of the first part—supplying the model—and left the rest to Hauk. He began by applying his competition-quality tips with pink-and-white acrylic overlay on our model, Chloe Hunter. (Tip and overlay is his favorite competition event. But he also likes to do wraps. “It’s a Midwest thing,” he says. “Barnum offers wraps competitions.”) Then, he buffed her long nails to a high-gloss shine before painting them with one coat of Christian Dior Night Glow Nail Enamel, which is how we achieved the cover look under a black light. While we haven’t seen anything made specifically for this purpose for professionals only, UV-cured top coats have been known to have the same effect under black lights.
Hauk, who has been doing nails for nine years, began competing four years ago because he got bored. “I wanted to do other things,” he says. “I wanted a chance to be creative.” He notes that although 30% of his clients in Ohio are wrap clients, he does just about everything. “I don’t like to stick with just one type. I like to mix it up, try new things.” While his salon has seven other techs, Hauk works in his own studio.
Despite his usual careful planning, he found his current number-one model quite by accident. “I was on a nail cruise and obviously I couldn’t afford to bring a model with me,” says Hauk. “One night several of us went dancing at the ship’s disco and this girl started dancing with us. I looked down and I could tell she had great nail beds. I said, ‘Don’t think I’m a weirdo but I need to see your hands in the light.” (The 29-year-old male says he often finds the women he approaches some what suspicious of his motives.) The woman, Beth Dingeldey, a Michigan travel agent, agreed to help out. Not only did they win the shipboard competition, but many victories since.
Hauk views his models as valuable assets and treats them accordingly, not only covering travel expenses for them and a companion, but treating them to a nice meal at the show. “I gave Beth $100 from my winnings at the Great Lakes Beauty show since she had to miss work. And when I got back home I sent her flowers and a gift certificate,” he says. “After all, I haven’t lost with her yet.”