Now in its eight season, NAILS Magazine’s Next Top Nail Artist (NTNA) is the premiere competition within the professional nail industry. This year, NAILS is delighted to be partnering with CND to bring this challenge to life.
Contestants who enter NTNA 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, 15 contestants remain standing.
See all Rules and Regulations related to NTNA here.
Who will be NAILS Next Top Nail Artist?
Each week, 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 that excite creativity and remind them of CND’s heritage and position as a fashion-meets-beauty brand.
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 winner of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Season 8 will receive cash and product prizes and a fab trophy, not to mention major bragging rights!
OUR ESTEEMED PANEL OF JUDGES
Head Judge: Jan Nordstrom Arnold, CND (@janarnoldcnd)
Jan Arnold is the Co-founder and Style Director of CND. Her father, Dr. Stuart Nordstrom, was the brilliant dentist and organic chemist whose discoveries launched the company in 1979. Her family built CND on a commitment to advancing the state of the industry through groundbreaking innovation and world-class education.
Since the company’s inception, Jan has come to epitomize the many facets of CND. Her experience as a brand engineer has contributed to the company’s success as the global leader in professional nail products and services. Her vision for innovation, education and commitment to the Nail Professional has driven CND’s position in the market since its founding.
Jan’s personal sense of style makes her the high-fashion face behind the brand. When asked about the secret to her success, she has attributed it to thinking “big” – big ideas, big impact and BIG passion! She is an inspiration to everyone around her.
One need only look to Fashion Week to see Jan and CND’s many accomplishments. For more than 21 years, CND’s top Education Ambassadors and Nail Professionals have adorned runway models’ fingertips and ignited trends during global Fashion Weeks, including New York, London and Paris. The company has collaborated with many of fashion’s most desirable designers, including The Blonds, Libertine, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Carolina Herrera, just to name a few. As a result, nails have become the ultimate fashion accessory for women around the world, elevating Nail Professionals to an all-time high.
Jan is founding Board Member of Beauty Changes Lives (BCL), a foundation committed to elevating, educating and exposing the richness of a career in professional beauty. She led an effort to raise scholarship donations for aspiring Nail Professionals though the creation of the BCL CND Tippi Hedren Nail Scholarship Fund, which has raised $225,000 to-date.
Judge and Producer, Beth Livesay (@shmeth)
Beth Livesay has worked in publishing for 12 years, serving as the chief editor for magazines such as NAILS Magazine, Altered Couture, Apronology, and Jewelry Affaire. She has produced the NAILS Next Top Nail Artist competition for five seasons, growing it into an international phenomenon that continues to set the standard for nail artistry in the digital space. In 2019, she created the spin-off NAILS Next Top Nail Artist All Stars, featuring several returning NTNA fan favorites. Her work on NTNA won the Maggie Award for best use of social media for a trade or consumer publication in 2016. Beth’s keen eye for personal style has made her a sought after writer for The Tease, Hello Giggles, The Huffington Post, Bloomingdales, and local magazines including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine. As a beauty industry authority, Beth has served as a judge for Nailympia USA, the Contessa Awards, NAHA, and Salon Today Salon of the Year Awards.
Judge and Game Master, Winnie Huang (@winnieisawesome)
The Certified Nail Professional
Originally hailing from Vancouver, Winnie Huang is an inspiring and passionate leader in the nail industry, with more than 7 years’ experience as a Certified Nail Professional. The NAILS Next Top Nail Artist season 3 winner has worked extensively with CND™ as a global collaborator and guest artist for top tier events, including fashion week in New York, London, Paris, and Milan.
Winnie’s creative techniques showcase an array of nail styles, mixing colors to create standout designs and trend-worthy looks. Her work can be seen on popular TV shows like Van Helsing, The Order, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, in addition to global publications such as InStyle and FASHION Magazine.
Winnie is a pillar in the nail community, continuously applying her knowledge to break the barriers of nail design, while educating herself on the latest, greatest nail technologies. There’s no doubt that Winnie will continue to develop innovative, versatile, and state-of the-art designs to inspire other Nail Professionals for years to come.
Judge and Winner of NTNA Season 7, Giselle Caballero (@egobeauty.ca)
Originally from Mexico City, Giselle Caballero took a chance in life when she moved to Canada. Currently based in Kelowna, B.C., nails helped Giselle find her place in her new home.
She opened Ego Beauty Academy and Studio in 2015. At Ego Beauty, Giselle teaches one-on-one trainings in the latest nail trends. As a salon owner, Giselle takes pride in her work, offering personalized and professional services at the highest quality and standards.
In 2020, Caballero took home the title of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist for Season 7, winning the largest cash prize in the competition’s history. Aside from being a master nail technician Giselle is currently a content creator working with some of the best brands out there and of course continues to teach, create, and inspire: “I love the joy my work brings to others, whether it is bringing to life a new creation for my clients or guiding my students in class. It’s amazing how the things that may seem little can make such a huge difference in our lives, nails are my happy place!”
WEEKLY JUDGES: OUR SPECIAL GUEST STARS
Week of June 28: Buddy Sims @buddysimsnails
Buddy Sims is a “jack of all trades” in the nail community. His humble start began as a finalist in Cycle 1 of NTNA, opening doors to the many facets in our industry. Over the years he has worked with high profile brands and representatives in the industry at trade shows and in person. Currently, Sims is a brand ambassador and educator for CND and The Centre for Beauty. He has a passion for empowering licensed nail technicians.
Outside of educating, Buddy owns VIBE Salon & Day Spa in Omaha, NE, where he still works on clients. Most recently, he accepted a position on the Board of Cosmetology and works with Politics Beauty and Barber, where he strives to unify and raise trade standards to protect the professional beauty industry from deregulation.
Week of July 6: Lavette Cephus @beaute_asylum
Champion of Season 2 of NAILS NEXT TOP NAIL ARTIST, Lavette Cephus was caught by surprise when she became a beauty professional, but loves and enjoys every part of the beauty industry. She is mother to two beautiful daughters, Serenity and Story. Her love for fashion is why she created her fashion blog, ADoSE, where she designs nails that go along with her outfits. Her ADoSE clothing line will be launching soon.
Cephus has been a nail technician since Oct. 2007, and an esthetician since March of 2012. She has traveled across the U.S. to master her craft, network, and stay up on the latest and newest trends that the fast-paced beauty industry has to offer.
After winning NTNA, she has gone on to do editorial work including the cover of NAILS Magazine, Beauty Link Magazine, and appeared in three issues of ESSENCE Magazine. Cephus has served as a guest artist at NEW YORK FASHION WEEK, designing nails for THE BLONDS, and LIBERTINE. She was named the 1st NEXTGEN Nail Artist of Beauty Changes Lives in 2016. Cephus currently runs Beautè Asylum in Atlanta and has plans for more in the future.
Week of July 12: Stella Sampson @nailart.stella
Stella Sampson is a chemical engineer with a huge passion for nail art. She started her career in the nail industry in 2015. She has received many nail awards and was named first runner up of NTNA Season 7. She loves combining her two professions by creating unique and extraordinary moving pieces out of nail products. Known as @nailart.stella on social media, she loves natural nails with clean and minimalistic, yet detailed nail art. In addition to her nail skills, Sampson is also an accomplished video editor and photographer. She is the creative director for IKON.IQ nails and Youtube video creator for Laloo Cosmetics.
Week of July 19: Ashley Gregory Hackett@ashleygnails
Ashley Gregory Hackett is an in-demand session manicurist and award-winning nail professional. Creator of The Nailscape and co-host of Outgrowth podcast, Gregory Hackett coaches and empowers other pros on how to bridge the gap between beauty school and a successful beauty career through her engaging educational style.
Week of July 26: Carly Snyr @c.a.r.mani
Carly Snyr is a 29-year old licensed nail artist from Michigan who has been doing nails professionally for nine years. This devoted cat lady holds manicuring licenses in both Michigan and Ohio. She has participated in 3 seasons of NTNA, making the Top 18 in Season 5, and placed runner up in Season 6.
She moved on to compete and making it to the finals of OPI NTNA All Stars.
She has had the amazing mentors of Tim (Thoi Tran), Lavette Cephus, and Amy Becker, and is passionate about passing her knowledge forward. Snyr worked with NTNA champion Lavette for three years, driving three hours daily just to work with a like-minded artist in Toledo. She is working with several companies on their social media posts as well as renting a booth in the hair salon DYE In Ferndale, Michigan. Carly is super excited to have her own salon and brand in the works — so stay tuned!
Week of Aug 2: Ashton Harlan @misashton
Ashton Harlan has always loved nail art and always loved a challenge. When it comes to nail artistry “no” is not in her vocabulary. “I feel so blessed to have built a career in this industry, and that I get to do what I love every single day,” says Harlan. In addition to winning NTNA Season 6, Harlan has continued to earn multiple titles including; the Presto Gel Challenge 2019 Grand Champion, the BEA 2020 Nail Artist of the Year, and the Trendvision Awards 2021 International Nail Artist of the Year.
Week of Aug 9: Valerie Ducharme @vdnailart
Valerie Ducharme is an entrepreneur and an artist. She opened her own Nails Academy in Canada where she shares her passion with thousands. Her mission is to constantly push to elevate standards in the beauty industry, especially in her province of Quebec. In 2017, she poured her heart out and created her own line of nail products and other nail art articles which brings her to take amazing trips and teach across Canada.
Valerie won many National competitions as well as the Internationally acclaimed Next Top Nail Artist Season 5 Competition organized by Nails Magazine. She is often a judge for international and national competitions and other events in the beauty industry, you might just cross her path at some event!
Her creations were seen at New York’s Fashion Week in 2018 and 2019 with the collaboration of CND World.
Week of Aug 16: Tracey Lee @traceyleenails
South African born and bred, Tracey Lee now lives in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where she discovered the amazing world of nails.
“After completing a nail course to be able to do my own nails, I was asked to join the education team at the Beauty Factory. During my 10 years there, I became Director of Education and Product Development. In 2016 I took on the role of Independent International Educator and a world of opportunities opened up for me. I applied for NAILS Next Top Nail Artist competition, having watched it for a couple of years. Talk about a life-changing event. It was not only the win that had an impact on my skills and my career, the entire journey through the competition made me a better nail professional. This experience will pick you up, turn you upside down and inside out and put you back stronger, more determined and more creative than you ever thought you could be! Winning Season 4 was the cherry on the top and it was through this opportunity that I was able to experience New York Fashion Week and meet some of my nail idols. My motto is K.E.Y: Keep Educating Yourself. I continue to do this and share my knowledge and experience with others through education.
Week of Aug 23: Ryoko Garcia @nailsbyryoko
Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Ryoko Garcia has always been on the cutting edge of nails. She holds a degree in business commerce in addition to being a graduate of Reheart Nail College in Tokyo. Garcia loves looking for her next challenge, which is why she has competed and placed in over 10 international nail art competitions. She has the distinction of winning Season 1 of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist, setting the bar for contestants for years to come. Her nails have appeared on the cover of NAILS Magazine and Nail Style. Ryoko’s designs have been developed for Kiss Products and featured in campaigns for Gelish and Morgan Taylor. She currently works for Kiss Products and full-time in the salon in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Week of Aug 30: Lauren Wireman @wildflowersnails
Lauren Wireman entered the Beauty Industry in 2001. She began competing in nail competitions in the hopes of starting a school and won in both Nails NTNA competition, and Oxygen’s “Nail’d It”. In 2012 she began a company called Wildflowers Nail Academy to bring innovative education to nail technicians across the world. Since then, her trendsetting work has been in high demand as an editorial artist, educator, and cover tech. Wireman is now one of the most sought-after nail educators and product developers in the nail industry. Wireman is an international competition judge and a member of the International Nail Judges Association.