What happened at the NAILS Next Top Nail Artist event 2019

By Kat Hill | 09 June 2019 | Events, News


While at Premiere Orlando, the Scratch team was invited to a very exciting event – the NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Social. The evening saw the live announcement of this season’s winner and was a celebration of all things nails!

The evening kicked off with a social which saw the opportunity for nail pros mingle and mix, with drinks and delicious food – with exclusive NTNA goodie bags bursting with new products to try on everyone’s arms. The room was a mixture of excitement and anticipation for the impending announcement.

Soon enough, guests were ushered into a large room which saw the stage set and ready for the main event. With music pumping, the crowd of nail pros, press and brands alike took their seats – with Team Scratch in the front row.

To a huge round of applause, NAILS magazine’s Beth Livesay, was joined on stage with CND’s co-founder and lead judge, Jan Arnold to recap the season. “It’s been such a wild, exciting, wonderful journey,” said Jan. “I found this season was unique as we witnessed incredible artistry, refinement of painting, detail of designs and incredible line work.

“We also saw amazing tutoring skills. The contestants not only told us what they’re doing, but also empowering us with their knowledge and brilliance.

“This season also we saw extraordinary design and fashion training and backgrounds. It was really was a new look at nails through the lens of the designer and fashionista.

“What an honour to be here, as lead judge.”

This year saw the introduction of a new accolade to the competition: NTNA Fan Favourite, sponsored by Gel II. Fans were asked to cast their vote for their favourite contestant from the top 12 and the winner was revealed as Kelsey Waldo.

With the announcement imminent, Beth and Jan talked through the competition’s judging process to explain how the panel came to its conclusion. From the design’s instant impact and ingenuity, to advance skills used and the tutorial supplied by finalists. Professionalism was another important factor: “For me this is so important,” explains Jan. “If you wear the crown of Nails Next Top Nail Artist, you are representing the nail industry and its very finest. You’re investing new techniques, you’re innovative and you’re a natural born teacher.”

The top 12 from the season were invited up on to the stage to the applause of the audience. But after seven months of competition it was time to focus on the top three finalists before revealing the winner.

“We can all agree, we had a phenomenal group of women this year,” enthused Beth. “But after seven months of intense challenges, only three remain.”

Excitement grew as the final challenge of the season was recapped – a intense task that saw the trio create 40 nails for 40 years of CND™, celebrating each decade of the brand. As if that wasn’t enough, the extra, surprise step of the final challenge paid homage to CND Shellac™ and saw the top three create nails to wear to the announcement.

The previous season’s champion, Valerie Ducharme, joined Beth and Jan on stage to pass on the ‘NTNA crown’. Sharing her journey since winning last year, Valerie revealed the competition has opened up so many new opportunities for her and she has even gone on to open her own academy to share her passion.

With anticipation building to a climax, it was time for the final announcement as the top three were invited on stage.

Ashton Harlan was crowned the winner of 2019’s season. Carly Snyr scooped first runner-up, while the UK’s Nixxi Rose claimed second runner-up.

Ashton held her Swarovski Crystal trophy high, crying with happiness as she made her acceptance speech through tears and cheers from the crowd. “I have to start by thanking my boyfriend. I did this two years in a row – and I was a monster!” she exclaimed, as the crowd burst into laughter with her. “He gave me all the support I needed to do it for two years in a row.

“It’s been the most amazing experience, to meet so many amazing nail techs and make new friends along the way. I’m extremely grateful to NAILS magazine and CND™. Thank you to all of you!”

With a huge roar of applause, everyone on stage and in the crowd raised their glasses to Ashton, her fellow competitors and everyone involved in the NTNAs.

Learn all about this season by clicking here!

Read more from Team Scratch’s trip to Premiere Orlando here and in an upcoming issue of Scratch!