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Who Will Win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Season 6?

After six months of competing, Ashton Harlan, Carly Snyr, and Nixxi Rose will battle it out in one final challenge. The winner will be crowned NAILS Next Top Nail Artist at Premiere Orlando, during the NTNA Social. 

Back in October, Season 6 kicked off with two pre-challenges from Swarovski. Twenty-four semifinalists competed in two pre-challenge rounds, resulting in the Season 6 Top 12. Regular play began in January 2019 with contestants participating in back-to-back weekly challenges from sponsors En Vogue, EzFlow, Gel II, KUPA, LeChat, Mia Secret, NSI, Orly, Tammy Taylor, and Wildflowers. After 10 rounds of weekly competitions, Ashton Harlan and Carly Snyr remained. Nixxi Rose won the final CND Last Chance Design Lab challenge to earn her spot in the Top 3. All three contestants will be flown to Premiere Orlando where they will show off one final set of nails. The winner will be announced on Saturday, June 1, at the NTNA Social. The winner of Season 6 will score a cash prize, trip to New York Fashion Week, a NAILS cover, the title of guest editor, and a crystal trophy from Swarovski. Get to know the Top 3 and learn about their journey to Orlando.

Ashton Harlan
Scratch Nail Spa, Las Vegas
@misashton
After coming in fourth in Season 5, Las Vegas’s Ashton Harlan was in it to win it this year. She boasts three wins in Season 6, including the first weekly challenge from Orly, Mia Secret’s challenge, and NSI’s, for which her Mardi Gras nail art appeared in the company’s print ad.

How does it feel to make the Top 3?
I feel so unbelievably honored that I’ve made it this far. NTNA has pretty much been my whole life for the last two years. I’m a little sad to know that it’s coming to an end, but I also couldn’t be happier to have made it into the finale. My emotions are all over the place!

What’s been your favorite part of NTNA so far? Favorite challenge?
I’ve loved building friendships with the other competitors. I also really enjoyed working with all of the different sponsor products, and introducing them to my clients. My favorite challenge was creating Mardi Gras nails for week 6 with NSI.

What do you think is the greatest strength of each of your two final competitors?
Carly’s greatest strengths are her entertaining videos and her designs are always fresh and innovative. Nixxi’s greatest strengths are her acrylic color blocking and her 3-D pieces are phenomenal. Both of these ladies are inspiring!

What’s your advice to future competitors?
If you’re considering applying, just do it! I think putting yourself out there is the hardest part. Also, be willing to accept constructive criticism as it really is for your benefit. Accepting what the judges have to say will push you to expand your artistic abilities. It’s like nail boot camp, and if you apply yourself, you will come out stronger in the end.

Finish this sentence: “If I win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist…”
I will definitely use this platform to teach nail art, but I’d also like to focus on areas within our industry that I feel aren’t talked about enough. Such as, finding a salon that works for you rather than finding a salon to work for; how to be an entrepreneur and create opportunities for yourself, etc. The opportunities within our industry are endless, and I’d like to do everything I can to help other nail artists reach their full potential.

Carly Snyr
Dye Salon, Hamtramck, Mich.
@c.a.r.mani
Carly Snyr’s creative use of video and clarity when it comes to teaching on camera have earned her major acclaim this season. She had auditioned in prior years, never breaking out of the semifinals — until now. Season 6 has been Snyr’s year, with the all-important Wildflowers win that secured her spot in the Top 3. Additionally, she was in the top for five of the 10 weekly challenges.

How does it feel to make the Top 3?
It feels unreal to be in the Top 3. My former boss/friend Lavette Cephus was in the same position, and seeing her in it and actually being in it is completely different. I thought just making it into the Top 12 would be enough of an achievement, but once I got there it wasn’t enough. Looking back at the beginning of the competition, I never would’ve thought I would’ve made Top 3, and now that it’s here, I feel like I need to do more, I need to win!

What’s been your favorite part of NTNA so far? Favorite challenge?
My favorite part of NTNA so far has been how much I’ve learned about making video tutorials, and being critiqued every week. I don’t feel like that’s something you come across often in the nail world is getting consistent constructive criticism, which I think is very essential to learning. I think my favorite challenge was Tammy Taylor’s love story, because I got to learn a lot about my grandparents. I got to make a set that will forever commemorate their love and that’s really special.

What do you think is the greatest strength of each of your two final competitors?
Nixxi definitely brings her shoe background to the nail world. She’s really good with 3-D and you can tell she looks at it from the perspective of someone who has used a different medium. She’s really smart in that respect. Ashton’s niche is consistency, you can always expect that whatever Ashton turns in is going to be very neat and clean.

What’s your advice to future competitors?
To just do it! Don’t listen or be discouraged by hearing that the competition is hard, because it is. But it’s worth it, rewarding you with an amazing portfolio, and it pushes you to do things you most likely would not have tried on your own. So never get discouraged, sometimes your ideas are the best when you’re in the moment.

Finish this sentence: “If I win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist…”
I want to continue learning. I want to take everything that I’ve learned from my mentors and nail friends and keep passing it on and educate others, letting them learn from my experiences and my failures. I don’t want to keep secrets, I just want to share everything I know. I have this newfound knowledge and drive to do nails with really bad allergic reactions to nail products. It has been hard for me to find other nail techs with the same problem. I have learned a lot about safety and allergies since I’ve developed this issue and I would like to be able to share my story with others who might have the same problem and network with companies and other techs to possibly problem solve some of these contact caused ailments.

Nixxi Rose
Southampton, England
@nails.by.nixxi.rose
Nixxi Rose is the first U.K. competitor to reach the Top 3. Although she had only been doing nails for a year when she entered the competition, she is an all-around artist with experience in shoemaking and jewelry design. She has the most wins of the season, including the final CND Last Chance Challenge win, earning her rightful place in the finals.

How does it feel to make the Top 3?
Like a dream come true! I keep expecting to wake up and find I imagined it all. After following the competition for several years (even before I trained as a nail technician) it feels so surreal to see my name and picture on NTNA social media posts and on the recap show. Almost three months later I still shriek with excitement every time my face pops up! Never in a million years did I think I would get as far as I have and I am loving every second.

What’s been your favorite part of NTNA so far? Favorite challenge?
It is so hard to pick a favorite part because it has been an absolute whirlwind of fun, excitement, and creativity from day one. But one thing I really am going to miss is the buzz of excitement every Friday when the week’s winner is announced and the next brief is revealed, so I guess that would be my favorite part. I loved having a brand new challenge to sink my teeth into. My favorite challenge was the Kupa Triptych carving challenge, closely followed by the Gel II volcano challenge. With some challenges I changed my idea multiple times before I settled on a design and in some cases, started my whole project again just two or three days before the deadline. With these two challenges in particular I had a strong idea from day one and everything seemed to run smoothly. Plus, I won both challenges!

What do you think is the greatest strength of each of your two final competitors?
Ashton is so polished she is like a Disney princess. I’m sure she has had her moments, but from an outsider’s point of view, she has always seemed so enviably calm and collected. Her social media presence is something I aspire to. She is totally on the ball in regards to updating her followers regularly and has the perfect blend of kindness and professionalism. She is always the first to congratulate the other competitors on their achievements and her attention to detail is second to none. Carly is literally the cutest little bean ever and her videos crack me up! I would love to spend a day inside her brain! With each challenge throughout the competition I have looked forward to seeing her entry because you never know what she is going to do next. She always keeps it fresh and exciting and like Ashton, she has been super kind, friendly, and professional throughout the competition. I wouldn’t be surprised if all NTNA fans have just fallen in love with her.

What’s your advice to future competitors?
Put your mental and physical health first. I was working on clients all day, my challenges all night, and surviving on 4-6 hours sleep. Halfway through the competition I hit a wall and got very run down and sick and it almost sent me packing. I made the decision to cut down on my workload and felt much better. If your clients are worth having they will understand and they will wait for you. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and you owe it to yourself to give it your all!

Finish this sentence: “If I win NAILS Next Top Nail Artist...”
I will be absolutely gobsmacked! But once I have stopped ugly-crying I will wear the title with pride and make sure I fulfill the role to the best of my ability. I have lots of exciting ideas for the future once the competition comes to an end, so this space is just the beginning!

Catch up on Season 6 at www.nailsmag.com/nexttopnailartist/2018/.

Join us for the NTNA Social (formerly the Nail Tech Network Orlando Social) to network and see the winner announced LIVE. Tickets are on sale here: www.nailsmag.com/ntnasocial2019.

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