Headed for Greatness

Sebastian Professional crowns two winners at the Southern California stop of its What’s Next Awards competition and educational event.

Sebastian Professional’s eight-month competition to discover the industry’s most fierce and fearless stylists culminated in a dramatic finale at the company’s What’s Next Awards in April. Finalists in the Professional category, Alessandro Saccoccio, Baylie Favero, Ashlee Berry and Daniel Lozada, competed for the grand prize in the finals, staged at Vibiana in Los Angeles. Also competing were Clayton Beck, Kristen DeJong, Rachel Carr and Juan Chacon, finalists in the New Talent/Student category.

Each contender was tasked with recreating a look from Sebastian’s Urban Explorers collection, which draws inspiration from the cultures, expressions and street styles of São Paulo, San Francisco, Shanghai and Berlin. Judging their efforts were Sebastian Professional Global Artistic Director Michael Polsinelli, Celebrity Stylist Thomas Dunkin and Canada Design Team Member John Paul Columbo, as well as American Salon Editor in Chief Kelley Donahue. Looks were rated on a number of factors, including visual appeal based on the theme and overall enthusiasm.


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Also on the evening’s agenda were presentations by members of the Sebastian Professional Stylist Design Team and world-class artists, including Anthony Cole, Omar Antonio, Marylle Koken and Diva Poulos, who wowed the crowd with a wide range of fashion-forward hair.

The event ended on a high note with the announcement that Lozada and Carr had been named the What’s Next Awards grand prize winners. Lozada’s win secures him a spot styling hair backstage with the Sebastian Professional Stylist Design Team at a New York Fashion Week show. Meanwhile, Carr will receive a one-year mentorship with a Sebastian Professional Stylist Design Team member and entry sponsorship and coaching for the 2014 North American Hairstyling Awards competition. Additionally, Lozada and Carr won the chance of a lifetime: Styling hair for this month’s cover feature in American Salon (see pages 88 to 93).

“It was really hard to make our selections because everyone was so talented and did such a great job,” Dunkin said. “We’re so proud of the winners!” ✂ —Kelley Donahue