Matthew Christian brings home gold from state SkillsUSA competition

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In a classroom at district 916, senior Matthew Christian spent his free time after school bent over a textbook to prepare for an upcoming competition. Little did he know that in the upcoming nail care competition, he and his model, senior Mackenzie (Kenzie) Nasby, were going to win first place and earn themselves a spot to compete in nationals.

Christian participated in the SkillsUSA Nail Care competition on  April 1st and took home a gold medal. He and his model, Mackenzie (Kenzie) Nasby, now have the opportunity to compete at nationals June 20-24 in Nashville.

“I was never really big into nails but recently got into it,” Christian said, “My interest in cosmetology is mainly because my brother’s girlfriend went into the cosmetology field, which was a big inspiration.”

The Competition

Christian had enrolled in a cosmetology course during his senior year. It was here that he learned about the SkillsUSA competition. Oddly enough, however, the students in this class did not actually learn ‘skills’ or even much about nails.

“I taught myself how to do nails by reading the Milady textbook and through trial and error,” Christian said.

Christian took it upon himself to work hard toward this competition, and began readying himself five months before April 1st (the day of the state competition).

Christian added, “The fact that I was teaching myself these things gave me more pride for my work and made me work even harder.”

The competition itself takes place in classrooms where the artist will sit at a table across from his or her ‘model.’ Judges will pace the room overlooking the work of the artists and make sure that all contestants are doing as they are required. If a contestant doesn’t follow the rules properly, he or she can get points knocked off his or her final score.

“It’s mainly based off sanitation,” Christian said, “Having sanitized tools, sanitizing after you use them. The tools had to be on the towels, not directly on the table.”

Aside from being interviewed as to the proper nail care, the other half of the competition consists of painting manicures and pedicures. This is where students earned the most points and is what either made or broke the competition for a student. The theme Christian went with was painting.

Declaring Victory

Nasby said, “I was excited just knowing that he actually won.”

Christian and Nasby both took home gold medals, and now had the opportunity to compete at nationals in Nashville, TN.

“I don’t think we are going to nationals anymore because of the price. It’s almost $2,000 a person just to go. If we naturally stumble upon a ton of money we would [go] but we don’t think that’s going to happen,” Christian said.

Nationals take place June 20th through the 24th.

“It would mean so much to me if I actually got to go,” Christian said.

The BCE (Beauty Certified Education) Association of MN took notice of Christian at the state competition.

“I heard about the letter from Thom Costa, a teacher from the college side and they mentioned that they were sad to hear I couldn’t attend because of the money issue,” Christian said.

Christian received a letter from the board members of BCE Association that gave him the opportunity to get a scholarship from them to help fund the trip. Furthermore, Century college has had several fundraisers to assist students wanting to participate in SkillsUSA competitions.

“Also Century college sold egg rolls to help SkillsUSA students and we are going to be selling beef sticks to help fund the trip,” Christian said.

Moving Forward

After spending months craning over textbooks and YouTube videos, Christian’s studying paid off. He brought home a gold medal and now has something extra to put on a college application. After doubting the possibility of being able to go to nationals, Christian received funding from his parents for registration and then gained recognition from BCE Association to further his cosmetology experience.
“I’m so excited to just do my best and bring home the win. My parents are going to come with and will help support me so it will be a blast,” Christian said.


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