Hairbrained Roundtable: Meet the HVA4 Judges

Over the past four years, the Hairbrained Video Awards have filled a once vacant space within the beauty industry: The celebration, appreciation and recognition of iconic video’s, made by craft hairdressers, for craft hairdressers. Each year the competition gains more and more traction, garnering tens of thousands of entries from some of the most clever – and advanced – stylists from around the world. But the competition celebrates more than just films. It celebrates fashion, culture and passion – and with so many talented stylists competing for the grand prize – judging the competition can be less than straightforward.  

Here, we hear from four of the HVA judges. They’ll share their thoughts on the importance of video and the HVA competition – plus they’ll give us a hint as to what they’re looking for when they score the finalists submissions, and complete their evaluations.

“First and foremost,” says Nick Berardi, founder of Nick Education and former Wella ‘Top Stylist,’ “I want to see the education come through. But also, I’m a big believer in our industry coming from a ‘fashion point of view.’ Less is more: I don’t like to see things overdone or over-baked. It’s all about how everything blends together. Nothing in particular should stick out,” Nick says. “I’m looking for a cohesive feeling.”

And while a fashion-forward esthetic, plus overall vibe resonates with Nick, Joe Santy, Vice President of Olaplex, is excited by eccentricity and eclecticism – and it’s this distinct vibe that he’s convinced elevates the industry, most. “The HVA’s benefit the industry on a multitude of planes,” says Joe. “The contest is an inspiration for stylists who are looking to reinvent how they approach their craft – but also, it gives stylists who might have second guessed themselves a platform, plus confidence to move forward with original ideas.”

And video, itself, has “helped the industry to grow in many ways,” says Amy Dodds, Editor in Chief of American Salon Magazine. “First, I think it has made a huge impact on the way that education is disseminated. It has never been easier to get access to quality beauty education through video – whether you’re a seasoned pro or a consumer. Of course, there have been some spectacularly bad how-to videos out there – I’m looking at you, teenager who burnt off her hair with a curling iron –which are typically put out by non-pros, but I think that with more professionals getting into the game, how-to videos will only continue to improve.”

“I’m grateful that [the HVA’s] exist, that there’s a contest to enter that will help to hone craftsmanship and creativity,” says Michael Baker, Creative Director of Neill Corporation. “Being nominated for your efforts to create, and making a positive impact.” Ultimately, when Michael is judging, he’s looking for entries that make him think: “Damn that’s smart!”

“And,” Joe finishes, “everyone who enters is a winner. It’s in the nuances of the concept, the quality, and the value to the industry that separates the videos to determine a [grand prize] winner.”

“With the HVA’s,” Joe reminds, “winning by a hair is not a cliché!”