Now in its sixth season, NAILS Magazine’s Next Top Nail Artist is the premiere competition within the professional nail industry. Contestants undergo a rigorous screening process where every brush stroke is scrutinized. After carefully evaluating hundreds of intricate hand-painted looks, sculpted acrylics, brushed on gels, and an array of mixed-media, 12 contestants remain standing.
Who will be NAILS Next Top Nail Artist?
Each week starting January 22, 2019, we’ll give the remaining finalists a new challenge to showcase their skills in a variety of ways. They’ll be creating awe-inspiring nail art looks based on a series of themed challenges created by the editors at NAILS and each of our weekly sponsors. In addition to creating their nail art masterpieces, the competitors will be shooting step-by-step tutorials, video demos, and sharing their entries via social media.
Every Friday one contestant will be eliminated. Every Monday, we’ll post the next challenge on our site. The judges — AND YOU — will have three days to vote for your favorite contestants. Make sure your Next Top Nail Artist doesn’t get eliminated. Vote and spread the word to your friends.
The final three contestants will be flown to Premiere Orlando 2019 for the official crowning of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Season 6. In addition, they’ll also receive cash and product prizes, the opportunity to work for a major nail manufacturer, and with the NAILS editorial team.
For Season 6, we are introducing a brand new game taking place between the final weekly challenge and the finale in Orlando. Gel II and NAILS invite YOU to vote for your favorite overall contestant. The winner of this popular vote will also be announced in Orlando and will receive a prize from Gel II!
Head Judge: Jan Nordstrom Arnold, CND (@janarnoldcnd)
CND co-founder and style director Jan Arnold has made it her mission to accelerate the nail industry while keeping a focus on both the professional nail artists and the clients they so carefully service. CND was founded in 1979 by Dr. Stuart Nordstrom (Jan’s father), a practicing dentist. Thirty nine years later, Jan stands at the forefront as the global leader in professional nail care while delivering a fashion-forward approach to beauty. Jan has helped take the brand to one of the most sought-after beauty companies for next-level runway nails, working with fashion shows worldwide from Libertine and The Blonds, to Ryan Lo and Gareth Pugh. Jan has kept CND true to its heritage, with a commitment to the nail professional community.
Head Judge: Beth Livesay, NAILS Magazine (@nailsmagazine)
Executive editor Beth Livesay has worked in art-related publishing for 10 years, with experience in both newsstand and B2B magazines. Her work as an editor has been acknowledged by The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, The Storque (the official blog of Etsy), Hello Giggles, and The Huffington Post. Her daily life is consumed by nail art, as she oversees NAILS print publication, www.nailsmag.com, and social media for NAILS Magazine. She won the MAGGIE Award for Best Use of Social Media in trade and consumer publishing in 2016. In addition to NTNA, she has served as a judge for NAHA, the Contessa Awards, and NAILS in-house contests.
Head Judge: Yuiko Sugino, NAILS Magazine
Currently overseeing artistic direction for NAILS and sister magazine VietSALON, Yuiko Sugino has a range of visual experience from graphic design to illustration to museum exhibit production. Her six years with NAILS Magazine has greatly enhanced her appreciation of nail art, and she is constantly fascinated to see masterpieces come to life on such small canvases. She is always on the hunt for the most current trends, finding much inspiration from all things colorful, patterned, and textured.
Weekly Judge: Valerie Ducharme, NAILS Next Top Nail Artist
Season 5 Winner (@vdnailart)
Valerie Ducharme is the winner of Season 5 of NTNA and current guest editor of NAILS Magazine. Her originality and innovation during the season made her a standout competitor. She has created nails for New York Fashion Week and the August 2018 cover of NAILS. She opened her academy in Quebec, Canada, in January 2018 where she shares her passion of teaching nail artistry.
Pre-Challenge Guest Judge: Gina Silvestro, Swarovski (@gelessentialz)
Gina is a highly respected, award-winning nail technician and has been active in the beauty industry for over 27 years. She frequently contributes to trade publications such as NAILS and Nailpro. Gina is a mentor, adviser, and role model in the nail industry, constantly teaching and troubleshooting with nail technicians across the globe. She handles a wide array of mediums with Akzentz gel with Swarovski crystals as her main focus. Gifted with the ability to conform and adapt with the beauty industry without losing individuality, Gina strives to continually stay on the cusp of trends and share and instill innovative techniques among peers.
Week 1 Guest Judge: Shanee Pink, Orly (@orly)
With a background in music, film production, and graphic design, Shanee Pink has an arsenal of experience that has all prepared her for her role as Creative Director at ORLY. During the 10 years she was writing, producing, and performing her own original music, she was also taking on projects at her family owned business rebranding the company that her mother, Orly, and father, Jeff Pink, founded over 40 years ago. Today she is there under the official job title of Creative Director connecting the brand with the fashion and music scenes she was part of as an artist living in NYC and LA, and introducing ORLY to a new audience.
Week 2 Guest Judge: Blanca Martinez, Mia Secret (@miasecret)
Blanca Martinez is a senior master international nail technician. Her specialties include educating and supervising of the technical area, which is why she has judged several international competitions in different categories. Blanca has 12 years of experience teaching workshops and seminars in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Belize, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, the United States, and Spain.
Week 3 Guest Judge: Anastasiia Morozova, LeChat (@anastasiia.nails.lechat)
Anastasiia Morozova is LeChat’s lead international educator, master nail artist, and celebrity manicurist. As a veteran nail competitor from Ukraine, Anastasiia has competed in over 50 competitions all over the world in Dubai, Taiwan, the United States, and more. The vast collection of trophies she’s won over the years for her hand-painted gel art, fine line designs, and impeccable attention to detail demonstrate her extensive knowledge of the art of nail design. Her work has been published in NAILS, NailPro, Scratch and several trade publications worldwide. Anastasiia’s art has graced the covers of Scratch Middle East and Russia’s Nailure. She draws her inspiration from high-fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana and creates fashion accessories with acrylic and gel products. Her favorite LeChat products are the art brushes, Mirano chrome pigment, holographic Spectra gels and the duo-metallic Metallux gels.
Week 4 Guest Judge: Tammy Taylor, Tammy Taylor Nails (@tammytaylornails)
Tammy opened her first salon in 1981 at only 18 years old with a $400 budget. In 1983 she created her own professional nail product line. She then began offering seminars and workshops; teaching nail technicians, salon owners, beauty school instructors, and students how to do nails and build their business. Tammy has contributed profitability to the nail industry by creating and developing innovative solutions and systems for nail technicians all over the world. She developed the 12 Step System for Pink and White Sculptured Nails and wrote and published The Complete Guide to Manicuring and Advanced Nail Technology used in beauty schools in preparation for State Board Examinations. Taking full advantage of the digital age, she was also the first in the industry to offer a nail blog and how-to videos posted on YouTube. Tammy has been the recipient of numerous awards, one of which is the prestigious Remarkable Women Lifetime Achievement Award by NAWBO (Nation Association of Women Business Owners), one of the largest women’s business organizations in the world. Tammy Taylor: professional speaker, innovator, entrepreneur, and mentor to hundreds of thousands of nail technicians worldwide.
Week 5 Guest Judge: Allie Baker, EzFlow (@alliebakernails)
For close to 20 years, Allie Baker, EzFlow Global Brand Ambassador, has been a contestant in the competitive nail industry. In addition to being a dedicated mother, salon owner, and cover artist, she’s a nail industry veteran, and highly respected mentor and educator. Baker hails from Medford, Ore., and has traveled to over 25 countries educating and mentoring others with EzFlow for the past 16 years. Her passion is evident and her artistry is breathtaking with her designs gracing the covers of top industry publications including NAILS. Some of Baker’s most memorable moments in the industry have happened at the various nail art competitions she has participated in around the world including Nailympia Australia and Nailympia USA 2017 where she placed in a number of categories.
Week 6 Guest Judge: Denise Wright, NSI (@denisewrightnails)
Denise Wright has over 26 years experience as a salon owner, trainer, competitor, and competition director. Apart from her own salon and training academy she is an international judge and competition director for over 30 major competitions in the UK, Germany, Belgium, USA, and Sweden.
Week 7 Guest Judge: Deanna Stelmaschuk, En Vogue (@deannastelmaschuk)
Deanna is a fashion graduate and enthusiast turned nail artist and competitor. Her “passion for fashion” brings taste and creativity to her elaborate nail art and designs. Deanna’s work has made her a regularly published nail artist and Nails Magazine cover artist. Well-versed in the nail industry, Deanna is the owner of the Soho Studio, gel nail educator for One Beauty Academy, and ambassador for En Vogue. Having competed in NAILS Next Top Nail Artist and placing in the Top 5, Deanna knows and understands this competition well which makes her the perfect judge for the En Vogue challenge.
Week 8 Guest Judge: Elaine Watson, KUPA (@elainewatson)
After more than 21 years as a licensed nail technician, 10 of which were spent working as a global educator and corporate executive with an internationally known manufacturer in the nails category, Elaine Watson combined both her savvy of an evolving industry with her love of nails and launched Nailebrity in 2015. Watson has worn many hats in the nail category including salon owner, celebrity nail technician, television personality/judge on “Nail’d It”, head booth judge of the internationally known Nailympia competition, and most recently as entrepreneur and CEO. Now she is drawing upon her extensive background to inspire other women (and men!) who have dreams of financial independence. It is Watson’s hope that the skills she has acquired along her journey can be taught to a new generation of professionals who have love for the nail category but in a way that opens them up to thinking outside the box. There is no longer a “right and wrong” way of doing things, rather a more knowledgeable way to adapt to the needs of this ever-evolving industry and its clients.
Week 9 Guest Judge: So Yong Yu, Gel II (@gel_two)
So Yong has a BBA in Marketing and International Business, is the owner of a successful salon, and has over 19 years experience as a manufacturer educator for domestic and international markets along with a great head for business. So Yong has an artistic side that brings a wide variety of possibilities to the salon professional. So Yong has played an integral part of developing new designs for many of today’s top nail companies. All of the experience that So Yong brings offers business sense to assist the salon owner, professional nail technician or cosmetologist.
Lauren Wireman started her career in the beauty industry in 2001 after graduating from Pittsburgh Beauty Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her talent was discovered on a national scale upon winning second place in the 2014 Nails Magazine’s Next Top Nail Artist worldwide competition, and second place on the Oxygen Network’s nail reality show, Nail’d It. With her trend-setting work in high demand, being featured in editorial work with CND, the NewsPress, Nail Talk Radio, on the covers of Nail’s Magazine and VietSalon, she still continues to make time to develop an impressive skill set ranging from simple pink and white manicures, to sculpting 3-D elephants! Lauren is happily married and lives in Cape Coral with her husband of 10 years, Jamie, their beautiful daughter Israelle. Her passions besides teaching are ministry, cooking, pottery, and music.