Articles > Events > Here’s “Who’s Next” From Sebastian’s What’s Next Awards!
February 23, 2016

Here’s “Who’s Next” From Sebastian’s What’s Next Awards!

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Sebastian has always been known for its boundary-pushing imagery and style, and this year at the What’s Next Awards in Miami, boundaries were busted once more. The competitors and winners of the re-engineered competition brought a new level of artistry, creativity and fearlessness to the game, and the results were inspiring.


Professional winner Damaris Earlewine and her model.


Damaris Earlewine of Liberty Salon in Palm Springs, CA won first prize in the Professional Category with her entry “Magnetic Flux,” which she dubbed “a subdued force waiting to unravel.”  In the Student Category, Safiya Aboaen of HL Cuts Above in Niagara Falls, ON dazzled the judges with “Broken Ballerina,” a look inspired by the duality of humanity. And in the brand new Affiliated Artist Category, veteran competitor John-Paul Colombo of HairAfter in Aurora, ON claimed the lead with his flawlessly executed “Vinyl Vixen.”


A detailed view of John-Paul Colombo’s winning look.


All of the looks in the competition were based on the current Sebastian Metamorphik Collection, representing unexpected extremes, consisting of two powerful but opposing raw elements, and inspired by nature at its most creative. The looks also showcased two unique new Sebastian products—Eruptek, which produces explosive volume, and Resintek, which offers vinyl-like shine.


Student Winner Safiya Aboaen hugs her model.


To raise the bar even higher, What’s Next finalists met their models only the day before the competition in Miami. They had just about 24 hours to understand their model’s hair, plan their hair strategy, consult with the Sebastian team on wardrobe and makeup and execute the look. This year’s judging panel was daunting—it included Sebastian Global Artistic Directors Michael Polsinelli and Shay Dempsey, and the 2015 What’s Next Winner Oliver Shortall.


Triumph! John-Paul Colombo and his model.


This year, What’s Next finals were preceded by two regional events—one in Dallas and one in Los Angeles. Competitors were selected from the best work in their portfolios, then participated in a live competition that included a professional photo shoot. One of the competitors in the regional round was actually selected as a finalist based on her image from that shoot. “The regional competitions give artists a chance to experience a live competition format and brings What’s Next to new areas of the country,” explained Paula Rufo, Wella Portfolio Education Manager.


Sebastian Artist Marylle Koken


“Sebastian really embodies the artistry of our business,” said Regional Senior Vice President of North America Professional Beauty and Global, Coty Professional Beauty Division Sal Mauceri. “This evening was a wonderful showcase for these stylists and their journey as artists.”


The program also featured the talents of the Sebastian Design Team—Diva Poulos, Marylle Koken, Anthony Cole, Omar Antonio and Daniel DiTommaso. The artists presented a segment that celebrated the iconic Shaper Hairspray, and looks that displayed the versatility of a new product—Sebastian Dark Oil—that launches in May.


See more photos from the What’s Next Awards!