Runner-Up Nail Technician of the Year: Michele Baker

Michele Baker earns the title for runner-up Nail Technician of the Year

Nail Technician: Euro Stylecutters

Location: Lutz, Fla.

Years doing nails: 6

Age: 38

Pro’s Dedication Impresses Clients and Judges

Despite countless wins in just about every nail competition category, Michele Baker isn’t one to rest on her laurels. “Every client who sits at my station gives me an opportunity to improve my skills; whether it’s a new full set or fill, manicure, pedicure, or polish change,” writes Baker in the essay that ultimately earned her a runner-up spot in the Nail Technician of the Year Awards. This despite the fact that Baker’s skills are obviously well honed: She’s been one of the Top 25 competitors for the past three years. Portia Dietrich, owner of Euro Style cutters where Baker is a booth renter, describes this dedication to her work as “almost spiritual.”

<p>Runners up for Nail Technician of the Year Catherine DePoole (right) and Michele Baker (left) flank Nail Technician of the Year Debra Shoaff in the winner's circle.&nbsp;</p>

Impressing the judges was not just the quality of Baker’s work, but its variety. A pro at sculptured nails, Baker also submitted samples of her imaginative fantasy nail art that featured showgirls and marionettes. The judges also praised her detailed sanitation procedures and the engaging promotional materials she creates on her personal computer.

Baker’s eagerness to network and share knowledge with other professionals is also notable. In her essay, Baker wrote about her ongoing relationship with Linda Polov, her first nail instructor at Chamberlain Adult School. What she didn’t mention was that prior to Polov’s retirement, Baker enjoyed returning to the class to offer current students the opportunity to learn from her one-on-one. “I had a blast,” says Baker, “and I want to get back to teaching as soon as I can.” She and Polov still have monthly lunches from which Baker draws ideas and support.

Baker is pleased by the recognition and congratulations she has received from both clients and peers, particularly fellow competitors. The local newspaper is doing a small article on her champion status. “It’s not the publicity I’m after so much as I like people to know that even though we live in a small town, we have nail professionals here,” explains Baker.

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