Written by: Angel Cardona
Saturday February 20th - The day started with an 8AM call time in sunny Miami Florida. Our team met in the JW Marriott Marquis on the 5th floor for breakfast and a quick briefing. It was a little bit of a reunion since we all live in different parts of the country. Omar Antonio & Diva Poulos are based out of San Francisco, Marylle Koken is from LA, Anthony Cole from NY, and Daniel Ditommaso is from Toronto,Canada — and that’s just the international artistic team for Sebastian Professional.
By the time 9AM rolled around we headed over to the ballroom and began our model casting. We were pretty pleased with the turnout, as the models walked you could feel the teams’ creative juices flowing with style ideas for our muses.
After prepping models on walks we headed over to fitting and began putting their looks together with the help of celebrity stylist Onna Suhovy; who recently dressed Lady Gaga. Once artists felt confident with the cohesiveness of the girls, we set out to the Vidal Sassoon Salon in South Beach to start working on the models color and cuts.
The day went fairly smooth as Danielle Dickie, Sasha Zoghi, Jeanneth Algeciras, & myself helped support the top artists on the collection they were planning to create. We focused first on the color and cuts then began to sort out the styles that they had planned for the show; prepping hair pieces and double checking the silhouette of the looks. We rapped up our day by 7pm hopped in an Uber, headed back to the hotel to change, grab dinner, and unwind. Feeling confident in tomorrow's execution we quickly shifted our conversations to catching up on how everyone was doing and just chatting about life.
Different groups from the event started rolling in to the hotel lounge where we were grabbing a bite to eat. The social aspect of events like this is not often mentioned but are some of the best moments. When else would I have the opportunity to sit and have a drink with the Global Artistic Directors of Sebastian Professional, Michael Polsinelli & Shay Dempsey or the Brand Manager Christina Mccarver and find out what's going on in their life, what they are excited about, or what drives them.
Sunday February 21st - we all meet in the lobby to head over to the Ice Palace for our 8:30AM call time. Once we arrive they have a phenomenal breakfast spread for us as we settle in to our work stations for the day. The place looks great, you can see everything starting to come together in this gorgeous venue. As our models start to trickle in we begin prepping, knowing we have a 10AM - 12PM technical stage rehearsal — As they go through the set, checking the mic’s, out of no where you hear someone shredding guitar. So we look to see who it is and come to find out its DJ Ashba from Guns N Roses; I think to myself... That's a nice touch to add to the show. — Once we all know our cues and the order of the show we get right to work starting on our most time consuming models first.
The day moves along rather quickly even though show time isn't until 8pm we try to get as much done so we don't feel rushed later on. While all this is going on you can see on the other end, the competitors diligently working on their masterpiece's; every now and again I would glance over to see there progress and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much talent was in one room. I assist in anyway that I can, helping the top artists complete there looks for the show I can't help but notice how each and everyone of them meticulously works as they begin to craft there final looks; I think to myself "I'm glad I got to be a part of this."
It's show time! 8PM came quick and as our hosts Carole Protat & Christina Mccarver take the stage to greet the large group of attendees we all take our places and wait for our ques. The show was designed to allow each of the contestants in all three of the categories [Student, Professional, Affiliate Artist] to have the spot light on them for a moment and allow them to showcase their work to thousands of viewers whether at the show or watching live via streaming webcast.
In between each of the categories presented, the International team for North America put on a show highlighting a look designed for each of the 5 Shaper hairsprays, Diva & Marylle showcased a cut, & each of them created a look for the launch of Dark Oil; an amazing new product by Sebastian Professional.
The crowd loved every minute of it and the excitement kept building for the announcement of our 3 winners from each category of the What's Next Awards. I would just like to say a big congratulations to the winners of all three categories; the Student winner Safiya Aboaen, Professional winner Damaris Earlewine, & the Affiliated Artist winner John-Paul Colombo. Once the confetti launched and the crowd cheered the winners and their supporters reveled in the moment with pictures and praises. The show was over and everyone stayed to mingle and greet familiar faces with hugs and selfies.
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