Giselle Cabellero


Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Giselle Cabellero burst onto the NTNA Season 7 scene when she made the Top 12. Throughout the competition she showed massive improvements in her video entries. Her artwork grew too, giving the judges some of their favorite sets of the season including a magnetic adjustable French, monkeys jumping on a bed of nails, and crystal-covered alebrijes. But it was her final CND Last Chance Challenge entry in which she proclaimed all was possible, that she earned her place in the final three. Voting for the final challenge of Season 7 takes place June 8! Read on to learn more about this Top 3 competitor.

Giselle's workspace 

Giselle's workspace

Giselle's nail space 

Giselle's nail space

NAILS: What got you into doing nails?

Giselle Caballero: I’ve always had a thing for finding creative ways to express my artistic side. When I first moved to Canada it was a while before I was allowed to work, so I used to spend most of my days playing with nail products and doing mine and my girlfriends‘ nails at home. Not only it was a way to explore my imaginative side but it also made me feel good doing a little something for others that would brighten up their day every time they saw their nails. We lived on a tight fixed income so I started doing nails part time besides working as a waitress to make a little extra money. Eventually my passion for nails became my full-time job and career.

NAILS: Why did you enter NTNA S. 7?

GC: I had been contemplating the idea of applying for NTNA for a few years already and I always found the excuse to not do it, “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do that type of work,” “I don’t have the time,”my mind kept coming up with reasons not to. One day I started browsing through the previous NTNA season’s gallery and I felt so inspired, everyone’s work was so amazing and everyone was learning and experiencing so much and then it hit me: that could be me and the only thing stopping me from doing it was my own thoughts, nothing else. We set our own barriers and it is only up to us to tear them down. 

NAILS: What has been the thing that's surprised you most about competing?

GC: One of the things I was very surprised by is the amount of products we got from the sponsor packages. Before the competition I assumed we’d be getting some things to work with in the challenges, but the kits definitely surpassed my expectations and I couldn’t be more thankful for the chance to try and work with so many amazing products. I must say though that I was definitely the most surprised by the excitement of the competition, submitting your work after having put so much effort and thought into it and then having to wait for the critiques to come back gives you such a rush, it’s addictive and nerve-racking, a roller coaster of emotions and I didn’t expect my clients, friends and family to get so equally involved. I had people texting me right after the results were posted to give me their input and encouragement, which is pretty heartwarming. 

NAILS:  Do you have a favorite NTNA challenge?

GC: Every NTNA challenge holds a very special place in my heart, I enjoyed and learned so much with each and everyone of them, even my last chance entries, and that is so priceless to me. If I had to pick one I would probably be stuck between Week 5: Once Upon a Time and Week 7: The Big Apple, I loved making a nursery rhyme come to life and getting the chance to create a more playful set plus everyone’s work was so whimsical and beautiful. As for the Big Apple, I adore everything New York and working on the challenge was a wonderful opportunity for me to show my admiration for some of the amazing things the city has to offer, I look forward to the day I get to visit the city and see it all live.

NAILS: What's been the most valuable thing you've learned so far, being in the competition?

GC: I have now come to realize that by pushing myself to perform at a higher level, I have been able to grow and learned to respond to adversity in a positive way rather than defeating and sheltering myself. I believe I have learned to set my fear aside and push myself out of my comfort zone while taking risks, which is something I have struggled with and that has prevented me from achieving my goals in the past. This quote resonated with me: “Being comfortable isn't the way to learn to expand your abilities.”

NAILS: What do you want to be known for within the nail industry?

GC: When I started my journey in the nail world I found it to be lonely and uncertain at times, soon I realized that this career really is about trial and error and about testing our patience and to keep trying. Sometimes we could use an encouraging message from our fellow nail techs. Thankfully along the way I found some individuals who were willing to help and share their knowledge with me and that definitely made it a much more fulfilling path to go through. I would really like to honor that and continue to share my journey and everything I’ve learned. I would like for others to relate and get confidence from that to move forward. During my journey in NTNA, I was able to improve my work, refine my style, and open my mind to new concepts. I confirmed once again that there’s no reason to give up when things get hard, there’s always room for improvement, we can figure it out, create and accomplish together, there’s room for everyone and I truly want us all to make it. 


NAILS: How would you describe your nail art style?

GC: I’ve always loved anything bling but I don’t think I had actually understood what style really meant for me until now. Today I would describe my style as dynamic and more drawn to the possibilities that “the abstract” offers. I’m not particularly set on one technique or trend, and why do so? There’s so much to explore, and to try, that I think it’d be too confining to stick to one way of doing things. I must say I believe our style evolves and it is forever changing so most likely (and I sure hope so) as I continue to learn and practice, my style will also continue to evolve. 

NAILS: What about your own nails -- how do you like to wear them?

GC: I am  not a “one size fits all” kind of person, some days I love wearing long fancy and blinged out nails and others I do like keeping my nails natural and short and everything else in between. After all, this amazing nail world of ours allows us to change our nails as much as we like, to suit our mood and vibes as we please, to boost our ego and self-esteem and to allow us to transform into whatever or whomever we’re feeling like today. And well, isn’t  that the whole point of nail enhancements? 

NAILS: How  long have you been closed down due to COVID? What have you been doing to pass the time?

GC: Sadly with everything that is going on in the world and to do my part to help get the situation under control, I officially closed my studio mid-March, it really hasn’t been easy but I know that it is for the greater good and hopefully soon enough we’ll be out of the danger zone. On the happier side, I am trying to handle my daughters distance learning the best I can and trying to spend as much quality time with her and my husband as possible, taking it day by day and making the best of the situation, perhaps it was what we needed, a forced pause in our lives to put things into perspective. As for the business side, I have even been able to dedicate more of my time to focus on the NTNA competition (which was much needed). I’ve had time to practice techniques I never seem to have time for, I’m working on updating my student and class materials, revamping my website and clients forms, better organizing my studio and getting everything ready for reopening. It feels like I’m getting ready for the opening of a new studio and that’s very exciting! 


NAILS: What are you most looking forward to when things get back to "normal?"

GC: I’m very much looking forward to people! Yes, I just miss people so much, I miss hugs, hand shakes, face to face conversations. I miss my family, friends, and of course my clients and students who sometimes act as my extended family and friends. Really for me I think one of the hardest parts of the whole virus situation, besides the financial stress, is most definitely the social distancing. 

NAILS: What do you bring to the finale that's unique? 

GC: In my case I believe I am able to show diversity and progression, certainly a lot of my inspiration comes from other forms of visual art that I combine with my own vision and I like to think of nails as a medium to create art and that I create thinking outside the box. I like my designs to evoke emotions, to represent a state of mind, experiences and concepts that touch and identify with the spectator and I have discovered that this is in fact my ultimate goal. I have come to learn from my own process that the end product of my work will be very much influenced by my current environment and most importantly my emotional state, making my style very dynamic. Looking back at all of our submissions I can see how we all have our own unique components and I love seeing how we all bring something very different to the finale. 

NAILS: What do you think are the strengths of your fellow Top 2 competitors?

GC: Since the beginning of the competition I have admired how Stella’s mind operates, such great mechanical skills and still so delicate and whimsical, her engineering background definitely shows throughout and that is a serious strength of hers. I dream of the day I get to meet her and ask her about her imposible triangles! 

Watching my fellow contestants’ video diaries I cannot applaud enough Ally’s abilities to put together each of her entries. Her bright and bubbly personality shows flawlessly every time and I think we can all take notes from her. I cannot wait to meet her cheerful self in person. 


NAILS: Who are your nail icons? Who would you love to meet or work with within the nail industry?

GC: With so many amazing artists out there, lots of names come to mind: the @uglyduckingnails team of course, they are one of the reasons my career has takes the course it has. For his amazing attention to detail, elegant and flawless work I really admire and hope to one day meet @chaunlegend, also the amazing @vivxue that can pretty much paint anything you can ever think of, @home_of_deva for her whimsical sets and of course I really have to mention, the one and only @helennails_yeg, I have watched her work for a long time and without a doubt she’s one that never fails to impress and amaze me, such a humble spirit, always evolving, growing and sharing her knowledge. 

NAILS: What's your advice/words of wisdom to fellow nail professionals right now?

GC: With the world turned upside down these days I believe it’s fair to feel uncertain and down, we must allow ourselves to feel that way but not for long. Let’s go back to basics and remember the reasons that attracted us to this career in the first place and use that newly found passion to grow, practice, and improve. Social media is playing a huge part of our lives these days so it is the perfect time to immerse ourselves on the digital area, work on your website and social media platforms to revamp your brand, there’s also lots of tutorials out there to help us understand how to navigate through this medium. There’s also tons of education and training been offered online and lots of it is free so there’s no excuse, get at it expand your knowledge, learn new techniques and listen to advice, try new products and every so often do something that gets you out of your comfort zone. Use slow times wisely, it is important to stay busy and set goals that we can work towards. I like to visualize myself achieving a goal and then plan the steps I need to take to make it happen. Keep in mind some steps may take more time and effort but stay focused on the end result, and keep at it. The road to success is different for each one of us and it can mean many different things for everyone, in my experience it’s best to work on improving ourselves rather than comparing yourself to others, this industry can be at times tough and lonely but never be afraid to reach out and don’t give up. 

NAILS: What are your favorite nail products?

GC: I’ve always loved working with gel and acrylic but I think at the moment I have a few other favorites. I loved working with UD Velveteen Acrygel and super pigmented art gels and gel polishes during NTNA and I became a fan, so easy to apply and perfect consistency for intricate designs. I also love matte top coats and the En Vogue’s “lac it! I’m A Matte” has become a new favorite of mine, it cures without dispersion layer and to a smooth matte finish. 


@nailsmagazine #NTNA7 is about to get started soon so I wanted to share with you all my last submission, we were asked to express what we felt when we found out that we had made it to the top 12, and well I felt shocked and full of doubts but the better half of me was so overjoyed and happy to express my creativity and get my imagination flowing! I’m so thankful to have made it into the #ntnatop12 it’s such a surreal feeling and couldn’t be more excited. Follow my journey #ntnagiselle and stay tuned for next challenge! 💗 #kelowna #celebritynails #kelownanailart #vegasnails #editorialnails #kelownanailsbygiselle #egobeauty #nailsmagazine #kelownagelnails #nailtech #nailart #nailartist #uñasdegel #uñasmexico #kelownanails #kelownanailtech #perfectnails #uglyducklingnails #nailpro #kelownasalon #nails #nailswag #nailspro #clawgasmic #vancouvernails #ylwnails

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See Giselle's NTNA journey here.

Join Giselle on Facebook LIVE May 20 at 12 pm PST for a preview of her final challenge!

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