After coming in ninth place in NTNA Season 6, Stella Sampson came back to compete again in Season 7. Not only has she outpaced her previous standing, but she has the most wins of the season going into the finale. Seven wins for Season 7 seems to be a lucky sign, but when it comes to technique, Sampson has proved it's more than luck, it's engineering that's helped her move into the Top 3. This chemical engineer has succesfully combined her skills for making moveable nail art that's cleanly done and never been seen before. Voting for the final challenge of Season 7 takes place June 8! Read on to learn more about this Top 3 competitor.
NAILS: What got you into doing nails?
Stella Sampson: I’ve had an interest in nails since I was in high school. I was always doing my own nails and I was often complimented on my hands and how nice my nails looked. Finishing high school, I wanted to follow a career in cosmetology but my family and my teachers discouraged me to choose this career and due to my grades, they pressed me to follow chemical engineering instead, even if it wasn’t what I really wanted. After I graduated as chemical engineer, I started working in the cosmetics industry to be as close as possible to what I love. But I realized that it still wasn’t enough for me, so I decided to attend nail school and I instantly fell in love with nail art! I realized that doing nails made me happy, took away my stress and made me want to create even more! At first, it was my hobby but I wanted to improve myself more, I started working with some clients, participating in competitions and without realizing it, my hobby became my second profession!
NAILS: Why did you enter NTNA S. 7? What did you learn from last season? Did it change your strategy?
SS: I decided to enter again as I enjoyed my Season 6 journey. I got the chance through challenges to overcome my limits and create artwork that I never thought I would. NTNA is a unique competition that requires multiple skills, so through the competition I had the chance to improve my video editing and photography skills! I also loved getting to know fellow contestants from around the world, as well as the opportunity to work with products and brands that are not available here in Greece. What I've learned from last season, is to believe more in myself and stop being afraid to take risks. So yes, I'd say it changed my strategy because this time I was willing to take risks, let myself free to create and enjoy all this amazing NTNA journey.
NAILS: What has been the thing that's surprised you most about competing?
SS: When you compete, you have to overcome your fears, yourself, and your strengths in each challenge. What surprised me the most is that through competition, I managed to exceed my limits and discover parts of myself that I didn't even know existed!
NAILS: Do you have a favorite NTNA challenge?
I loved all of them! But if I have to choose one it would be the Nails Are My Super Power (LeChat challenge)! It was the challenge that allowed me to risk the most on my techniques and dare to combine engineering with nail art. Through this challenge, I discovered a new perspective in using nail products to create nail art that I had never tried before and that is why it is my favorite.
NAILS: What's been the most valuable thing you've learned so far, being in the competition?
SS: The most valuable thing I've learned so far in the competition is working efficiently, setting myself free when it comes to creating and trying hard each week to become a better version of Stella.
NAILS: What do you want to be known for within the nail industry?
SS: I want to be known for my clean and detailed work that sometimes can be combined with a little bit of engineering.
NAILS: How would you describe your nail art style?
SS: I would describe my style as clean, detailed and minimalistic.
NAILS: What about your own nails -- how do you like to wear them?
SS: It depends on my mood! You could see me wear everything! But most of the times I prefer wearing them short with geometric nail art.
NAILS: How long have you been closed down due to COVID? What have you been doing to pass the time?
SS: I've stopped working due to COVID for about 1.5 months. To be honest I didn't have the time to realize the whole situation! I thank NTNA challenges for that!
NAILS: What are you most looking forward to when things get back to "normal?"
SS: I'm looking forward to seeing my clients again and spending time with my friends by the sea!
NAILS: What do you bring to the finale that's unique?
SS: I bring a unique combination of a nail artist and an engineer.
NAILS: What do you think are the strengths of your fellow Top 2 competitors?
SS: Both girls are amazing artists and extremely talented. To Ally I admire her video editing skills, her passion and her clean work! To Gisele I admire her positive personality that she always manages to pass to her art, her passion and her way of combining colors!
NAILS: Who are your nail icons? Who would you love to meet or work with within the nail industry?
SS: It is very hard to choose from so many talented nail artists out there! I admire Pisut Masanong, Priscilla Van Uden, Tracey Lee, Valerie Ducharme and I would love to meet and work with all of them if I had the chance!
NAILS: What's your advice/words of wisdom to fellow nail professionals right now?
SS: Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourselves! Never let a failure bring you down and no matter how many times you fall you should never ever give up on your dreams!
NAILS: What are you favorite nail products?
SS: Gel paints and acrylic!
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