Kelowna resident Giselle Caballero won an international nail artists’ competition. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Okanagan woman wins international nail art competition

Giselle Caballero said the competition helped her through the COVID-19 pandemic

A Kelowna nail artist has been recognized for her hard work and creativity at an international competition.

Giselle Caballero is the 2020 NAILS Next Top Nail Artist champion. She has been a full-time nail artist and technician for the last five years and currently owns her nail studio in Kelowna, EGO Beauty, where she offers nail services as well as training for beginner nail artists. Originally a graphic designer, Caballero said she wanted to leave the office life and the stress it came with behind, so she jumped into nail design.

She said the competition was intimidating and was a lot of hard work, but it was well worth it.

“It was a lot of sleepless nights. I probably stayed (in the studio) probably until five or six in the morning sometimes but my husband was very supportive. My clients were supportive too so when I needed to move around my schedule to do the challenges, they were very helpful with that,” she said.

“It’s a lot of hours that you have to invest in each (nail) set. It looks like it’s not that difficult, but once you get to it, it’s really a lot of hours.”

She said being involved in the competition was immensely helpful for her mentally and emotionally, especially after she had to shut down her studio as COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.

“For me, it was very difficult to shut down and not know what’s going to happen and the uncertainty. So focusing on the competition really helped me get through this time without feeling so down,” she said.

“There were times I was down and scared, but I just focused on the competition to take my mind off it. And for myself, I wasn’t really focusing on winning per se, but just doing my best every time.”

For the final round of the competition, Caballero and two other contestants had to create five sets of press-on nails following a set of themes: Symbol of Strength, Beauty Changes Lives, Dream Client, Porter Pose (for Broadway actor Billy Porter) and a Janicure (nails for Creative Nail Designs CEO Jan Arnold).

Caballero’s sets featured nails inspired by Frida Kahlo, bee nails with gems, a set of nails for RuPaul and Harajuku-inspired nails for Jan Arnold.

At the end of the day, she hopes to inspire others to take the leap just like she did and put themselves out there.

“I just want to keep passing on all the knowledge I’ve gained and hopefully inspire other people. The thing I really like about this industry is you can put up your own business and do what you want. So I just want people to know they can do it too.”

READ: Heavy rain in Okanagan results in slowest start to fire season in four years

READ: Travellers required to wear masks: Kelowna International Airport


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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