Sebastian Professional’s WHAT’S NEXT AWARD Winners Announced

Sebastian Professional announced the 2016 What’s Next Awards winners during the live finale event this week in Miami. Professional category finalist Damaris Earlewine, Affiliated Artist category finalist John-Paul Colombo and Student category finalist Safiya Aboaen were named winners in the competition for fearless style and artistic creation in their respective categories.

On February 21st, finalists from the What’s Next Awards categories competed live onstage at Ice Palace Studios for the grand prize of styling backstage at NYFW Spring/Summer 2017 and styling a Sebastian-sponsored editorial photo shoot that will appear in a top salon trade publication.

Stylists created looks inspired by Sebastian Professional’s METAMORPHIK collection, representing unexpected extremes, consisting of two powerful but opposing raw elements. Inspired by nature at its most creative, Metamorphik ignites the power of self-expression allowing artist to change the state of hair and unlock new possibilities for artistry. The competition took place in front of a SRO live audience of more than 400 and a judging panel comprised of industry leaders, tastemakers and educators including Sebastian Professional Global Art Director Michael Polsinelli; Shay Dempsey, Sebastian Professional Global Art Director; Maggie Mulhern, Modern Salon Beauty and Fashion Editor; Oliver Shortall, What’s Next Awards 2015 Professional Category Winner.


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“The What’s Next Awards is a great reflection of the phenomenal talent that lives within the salon professional industry.  The competition allows new and established artists to showcase their ability to create innovative, fearless looks that inspire stylists around the country. We congratulate the winners of this year’s competition as they continue to push their own boundaries to create What’s Next,” said Christina McCarver, Education Manager for Sebastian Professional.

Professional category winner Damaris Earlewine entered the What’s Next Awards competition with her entry ‘Magnetic Flux.’ Damaris drew her inspiration from the look ‘Shift’ featured in the Metamorphik Collection. “Magnetic Flux is about drawing you in with a subdued force waiting to unravel—a look of effortless elegance.” To create this look, Damaris used Stylbrid 9 and Thickefy Foam for the foundation, then Shine Crafter for on the halo braids and Shine Shaker for luminous shine.  She finished her style with Shaper Fierce to seal the deal.

Student Talent category winner Safiya Aboaen entered the What’s Next Awards competition with her ‘Broken Ballerina.’  “This look was inspired by a professional ballerina who has a very pompous attitude but is actually broken on the inside. This idea is inspired by humanity where everyone has two sides to their personality. The white resembles innocence and the braids embody a cage that is restricting her true innocence. Through the Metamorphik Collection, I was inspired to transform her into who she truly is. The one side is wild while the other side is sleek and tamed just like the Metamorphik Collection. What’s next for her is unknown.”

Affiliated Artist category winner John-Paul Colombo entered the What’s Next Awards competition with his entry ‘Vinyl Vixen.’  “I was inspired by Metamorphik and the raw elements of Eruptek and Resintek. I wanted to create a balance of texture and shine. I changed the texture of the model hair from within using Eruptrek which gave me an explosion of volume. To finish the look, I used Resintek to create a vinyl-like shine on the surface.”

In addition to the live competition and awards, the evening showcased Sebastian Professional Design Team artists Anthony Cole, Daniel DiTommaso, Diva Poulos, Marylle Koken and Omar Antonio. The team of five sent the crowd to their feet with a power set of iconic looks, creative cuts and technical mastery.

Go to for a replay of the 2016 What’s Next Awards. 

Photo credit: Instagram

About: The What’s Next Awards contest encourages new and established artists across North America to create daring hair fashion by expressing their talent through a one-of-a-kind styling competition. Stylist entrants were tasked with creating their most fearless hair style, inspired by the versatility of the Sebastian Professional fall hair collection Metamorphik. Submissions were posted to the Sebastian Professional Facebook page over a five-month period, where consumers and stylists were able to view, vote and comment on their favorite looks. Out of all of the submissions, 40 semi-finalists (16 per category for Student and Professional categories and eight for the Affiliated Artist category) were chosen by the Sebastian Professional Education team. In January 2016, nine finalists (three per category) were chosen by the What’s Next Awards judges based on the following criteria: suitability for promotional purposes, visual appeal based on hair collection and overall aesthetic to participate in the live competition for the chance to show the world ‘What’s Next.’

Go to for more information and stay tuned for details on 2017 What’s Next Award! 

About: WELLA products help make beauty dreams real everyday for millions of stylists and consumers worldwide. WELLA’s brands are distributed in more than 180,000 salons across the globe, and include Sebastian Professional, Koleston Perfect by Wella Professionals, Color Touch by Wella Professionals, Blondor by Wella Professionals, Clairol Professional and Nioxin. Visit for more information.