Winning the 2021 Beauty Envision Awards!
After going digital last year due to Covid, this year marked the return of the live show for Wella's US Version of the international Trendvision competition - The Beauty Envision Awards. Out of of almost 4,000 entries (The 2nd most entries in 10 years) they were narrowed down to the top 10 in each category, then 3 finalists from each were flown to Las Vegas for the weekend to present a final hairstyle at the live show which was held at the Aria Resort & Casino.
(Above: Original entry photos)
Day 1 //Welcome Reception - Meet & Greet
The party started on Friday, August 13th with a cocktail reception for mentors, judges, and competitors to mix and mingle before the show. Never having been in a competition before it was a welcoming surprise to see how laid back and cool everyone was. There seemed to be a complete lack of ego and good energy all around! At this point the nerves were definitely kicking in a little bit, how did I get here? To be in the same room as hair industry legends was a win in itself.
Day 2 //Prep Day - Wardrobe, Makeup, Cut & Color
And the fun begins! After breakfast we got to meet our models for the first time. Each competition category was assigned a mentor who chose models for us based off of the looks we discussed doing. For Natural Texture our mentor was Clairol Pro Artist, and owner of Splash Studios in Atl and LV, Oliver Adams, an educator and master hairstylist with more than 20 years of experience. Also competing in my category were Wilmarie of Puerto Rico and Brendnetta Ashley of San Francisco. Even though we found ourselves competing against each other it really felt like we were a part of a team and we all worked really well together!
Next, we went on to wardrobe where we were given a couple of options for the look of our models. Because each category is presented on stage as a whole the look had to be cohesive. We went with gold power suits, what more could you ask for?
The next seven hours of the day were dedicated to the cutting and coloring of our model's hair. Since I had no plans for either I did a run through of my style to see if it would come together the way I hoped. My inspiration came from tribal African braided hairstyles, especially the Albaso braids of Ethiopia. After practicing on a mannequin for weeks at home I was soooo pleased with how my idea translated to a real person, it was a million times better than I could've imagined and my confidence skyrocketed after some really positive comments from a few of the other mentors and stylists present!
Day 3 //It's Showtime!
For the final day we started with a run through of the show on stage. I really thought my years of
performing live music might have prepared me more for this, but I was practically shaking. After getting over the stress of the hairstyle I was going to do, now I was anxious all over again about being on that huge stage. I didn't even have to say anything! After a few rounds of that torture we sent our models off to makeup and wardrobe while we had lunch and enjoyed the calm before the storm (Don't worry we made sure the models were fed too).
Then it was crunch time. We were all given two hours to complete our final look. This was all done backstage, prior to the show. The only audience were the judges and camera crews shadowing us. The judges walked around with notepads, some of them stopped to converse with us and get a little more insight into our ideas and inspiration. We were judged on creativity, technical skill and finally, how well we conveyed the theme - Rise of the Phoenix. Once our looks were completed the models were all lined up and the judges walked up and down to make their final calls before the show. At this point my anxiety had faded and turned to anticipation!
Now it was time for our final makeup touchups before we moved out to the show floor where each category had a designated "Pod" to display their models. Doors opened and the before the show began guests enjoyed a cocktail hour during which they could walk around and see all of the different looks that we had been working so hard on.
And before you know it the lights were dimmed. We took our models and headed backstage, the show was starting. The excitement at this point was immeasurable, I couldn't even tell you what I was feeling anymore, it was a whole mess of different emotions, all good things though! There was an introductory performance that featured dancers, acrobatics, and a multimedia presentation that tied the whole theme of the event together. In between award announcements there were also presentations from the Wella Professional Amabassador team as well as the #TogetherWeRise team featuring artists from Sebastian Professional. When the Natural Texture artists were called to the stage you couldn't wipe the smile from my face, I was up there grinning from ear to ear, at this point I may have been a little over confident, but I think I knew I had it. And then after a little bit of banter between the announcer, Carole Protat and my mentor, Oliver Adams they said my name. My jaw dropped and I turned to my model with a look of shock. What?! To hear my name announced as a winner on a stage as big as that, with some incredible competition and surrounded by industry legends was so surreal! I won! And to think I almost gave up on entering in the first place... I'm so glad that I didn't pass up on this opportunity and that I had the support and encouragement of my family and friends, if it weren't for them I don't think I would have ever come this far. If there's one thing I've learned from this whole experience it's to just go for it! I'd never say that textured hair is my specialty, but here we are. You'll never know what you're capable of if you don't try!
You can replay the live stream of the whole show here. If you want to skip ahead to the presentation of the Natural Texture category it's right around the 58:00 mark!
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