She nailed it: Surrey artist tops international contest (photos, video)

Winnie Huang is judged the 2015 Next Top Nail Artist in magazine competition

Surrey-based nail artist Winnie Huang won the Next Top Nail Artist competition in Chicago.

Surrey-based nail artist Winnie Huang won the Next Top Nail Artist competition in Chicago.

PANORAMA RIDGE — Winnie Huang has taken her home-based business to an international win in the world of competitive nail art.

The Surrey resident is the 2015 Next Top Nail Artist, as chosen by judges in an annual contest staged by the California-based Nails magazine.

For nearly a year, Huang and other competitors created ornate works of art worn on fingertips.

Earlier this month, the top three finalists were flown to Chicago for a final round of challenges that involved a variety of nail-art styles.

Huang’s eye-popping designs can be seen at and also on her website,

(Scroll down to see Huang’s contest video)

The fantasy, 3D designs – some with giant, jewelry-like fixtures made of acrylic – are the most elaborate examples of her contest-winning work.

“People are always wondering how people function while wearing these kinds of nails,” Huang told the Now with a laugh.

“I’ve been doing my own nails like this for quite some time, and I started as a nail blogger,” she added. “It wasn’t until later, after I graduated from high school (at Sullivan Heights) and got a career going, that I realized I wanted to get into nails, so I went to school and became a certified nail tech and then I ventured into the crazy, 3D nail world.”

Now, three years in as a nail artist who works in a studio at her Panorama Ridge-area home, Huang can use her contest win as a career stepping stone.

“Because of this competition I completely stopped taking clients altogether, because I wanted to concentrate on the competition,” she said. “I go to work during the day and come home and work on the nail art pieces.”

Huang’s favourite nail trend is “3-D and obnoxious everything,” according to a biography posted on the contest website.

“My world is made of rainbow unicorns, kitties, and a lavish amount of glitter.… It took me a while to find myself, but I am happy to say that I’m finally doing what I’m truly passionate about.”

Huang placed fifth in the magazine’s nail-art contest two years ago, then regrouped and refocused to win this time around.

The prize includes $2,000, a feature in Modern Salon magazine, the role of guest editor of Nails for a year and a trip to New York Fashion Week this fall.

“I want to see where this all takes me,” Huang said, “because I want to travel and do editorial nails, for photo shoots and fashion runways and stuff like that, so hopefully it’ll take me to where I want to be.”

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