Jonny Diep Pham, the Australian runner-up in the 2017 NAILS’ Next Top Nail Artist competition, was officially presented with a CND gift pack to celebrate his success on Sunday.
During the presentation at the Brisbane Hair & Beauty Expo, Pacific Nail & Beauty director Glenn Joseph said he was extremely proud of Jonny’s achievement.
“This prestigious win is not only significant for Jonny as a leading nail professional but also for the Australian nail industry,” he said.
Thirty-two-year-old Jonny, who is part-owner of Nailzone in Sydney, said he entered the competition to challenge himself.
“I think the competition really pushes your skill to another level week after week,” he said. “It is very hard work but it is very rewarding.”
The NAILS Next Top Nail Artist competition attracted hundreds of contestants from around the world but after a “rigorous screening process where every brush stroke is scrutinised” just 12 were able to take part in the 10-week online competition.
During the competition entrants were given a new themed challenge “to showcase their skills” every week. The competitors then had to “create their nail art masterpieces, shoot step-by-step tutorials, video demos and share their entries via social media” in just seven days.
Each entry was judged by the competition’s judging panel and the public – and every Friday one entrant was eliminated.
The last three remaining entrants then headed to Chicago to compete ‘live’ at CND’s booth at America’s Beauty Show.
Jonny said coming second in the competition was an amazing achievement that he could never imagined during his childhood – he spent the first 11 years of his life in refugee camps in China and Hong Kong with his parents and two sisters before moving to London.
Despite the grim start to life, Jonny believes that the Manga drawings he did during his time at the camps helped develop the artistic skills he now uses as a nail artist.
He says he first began working in the nail industry by “drawing nail designs” for his sister.
“When we moved to London my sister got a job as a nail technician and I would help her after school by drawing nail designs that she could paint on her clients’ nails.
“I started helping my sister at her salon with customer service and later got into nails and nail art.”
After high school Jonny commenced a degree in computer science but eventually left university and completed a nail technician course instead as he enjoyed working in the nail salon more.
When he was 19 Jonny followed his sister and her husband to Australia – and immediately began working as a nail technician with her.
Since then Jonny’s passion for the nail industry, nail art in particular, has continued to grow.
“I’ve been working in the nail industry for 15 years and see nail artistry as more than a passion or a desire – to me, it’s a way of life and a platform that allows me to express my artistic abilities,” he says.
“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the reactions on my client’s face when I hand paint a design on their nails.”
Yet despite Jonny’s love for creating nail art for clients, his success and growing international reputation (he has over 63,000 Instagram followers) mean that he can no longer take on any more clients.
Fortunately though he is going to continue entering nail art competitions and plans to share his skills and passion with other nail technicians via training workshops.