Always a champion of the makeup industry, legendary Hollywood makeup artist and postgraduate school owner Marvin Westmore recently created a forum in which current esthetic and cosmetology students can compete for a future in the world of makeup. The International Student Makeup Competition, co-sponsored by the Westmore Academy of Cosmetic Arts and the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference, hosted 13 entrants from throughout the United States on June 5, 2006, in Las Vegas, and challenged them to enter the magical world of fairy tales, fables and folklore.
Although the whimsy of the subject matter may seem less than serious, Westmore, the competition’s founder, sees it as a major step in perpetuating the art of makeup. “The cosmetic curriculums in cosmetology schools are limited,” he says. “Three years ago, I committed myself to make changes in the industry.” When he discovered that he couldn’t modify the curriculum of the cosmetology schools due to political red tape, Westmore decided that he could create opportunities for cosmetology students’ growth in advanced makeup education. This chance has been brought to fruition through the International Student Makeup Competition.
Outside the box
Contestants were encouraged to think outside the box and to use various resources to create the perfect makeup design to match the theme. The competition teemed with fairies, witches, mermaids and other fantastic creations, all designed to win the top prize. This topic allowed contestants like third-place winner Sarah Agajanian to bring her imagination to life. “My character came from my head,” she exclaims. “I like to draw fantasy characters, and it was cool to see it actually come to life. I’ve expanded my mind so much!”
In order to compete, participants followed the competition guidelines, which included seven categories that the judges used to determine points: theme, design, color, use of materials, techniques of application, costume and professionalism. As one of the most important elements, judges evaluated the professionalism of each contestant by considering appearance, conduct, setup and sanitation.
The winner is …
After a long day of makeup and costume application, during which energy, precision and concentration were essential, the judging commenced. Lilia Castillo, a student from Poway Academy of Hair Design, Inc. in Poway, California, took first prize with her makeup and costume design for the witch from The Chronicles of Narnia. “I was really shocked,” exclaims Castillo. See Best in Show on www.SkinInc.com/articles for a list of the winners and their prizes.
The participants took away not only an enormous variety of cash and prizes, but they also gained something even more valuable: confidence. “This helps them find jobs and gives them inner strength,” says Westmore. “The scholarships give them a helping hand with their continuing education—really the only education they get in makeup. It’s our way of mentoring the new makeup artists of tomorrow.”
These benefits weren’t wasted on the winners, despite being overwhelmed with the generous prizes. “Receiving everything was like Christmas,” exclaimed Keri Jones, second-place winner and a student from The Academy of Hair Design in Las Vegas. “The scholarship is amazing, and I’m going to take advantage of that in January. It’s going to be so beneficial.” Agajanian, who plans to go to Westmore Academy in the spring, says, “I’m so glad I competed because it’s been hard for me to find out what I wanted to do.”
Castillo agrees: “It was such a good experience. It helped me believe in myself more, and it was nice to see that others value your work. The competition was like a touch of real life as a makeup artist.” She plans to redeem her scholarship after she graduates from cosmetology school.
This opportunity will be available next year to students who will have a chance to contribute magical and mystical creations under the same theme. According to Jones, it’s an opportunity that can’t be missed. “Competitions allow you to gain confidence. You broaden your creativity and increase your experience, which is so important,” she says. “Going out there in the makeup world can be intimidating, and this really helps you ease into it.”
Deemed a success by all, the first International Student Makeup Competition achieved its goal: to nurture and support talented young people who have the dream and desire to become makeup artists. And what does Westmore get out of its success? To that question, he replies, “What does any teacher get out of teaching? It is mentoring. It’s in my blood. We are filling a need. When you find a student who has an open mind, and is willing and ready, it’s a treat.”