Curvaceous Boutique Virginia Beach
Brown's partner, Yalonda Billups, won the competition last year on pure "talent, " she said. The 3, 000 attendees of the Trendsetters hair and fashion show on Sunday at the Hampton Roads Convention Center watched the on-stage transformations of hair to art from five salons in the show's main event: the Hair Battle.
"I usually spot the talent right off the bat, " said judge Danielle Robinson, who has more than 20 years experience as a cosmetologist and 15 as a teacher.
Robinson, of Exotic Glamour in Norfolk, looks for precision, creativity, confidence and evaluates the total look of the hair with the outfit and then how a salon's different hairstyles go together. She studies the new looks overseas and knows when stylists are trying something new or different. It takes about two years for trends from Europe to migrate to the United States.
"I like to see the up and coming talent behind us, " Robinson said about judging the show. "It just keeps me abreast of what's going on."
The show provided by Lawrence Brothers Promotions grew from 800 attendees to 4, 000 total attendees and participants over the past six years, said promoter Kevin Lawrence of Newport News. Promoter Doug Lawrence said the show is the largest one-day hair event on the East Coast. Winning it means a chance to compete in larger events and even internationally. Plus, it gets customers in the door of the "place to be."
Those advanced in the industry want to know who's hot in which region and who's creating buzz, said Michael Johnson, 41, of Changing Faces barbershop in Newport News.
"If they can win this hair show, it takes their career to another level, " Johnson said.
Plus-size fashion show models for Curvaceous Boutique, Mariaelissa Littles of Virginia Beach and Shelby Wightman of Newport News, just love the diverse personalities in the industry, the high energy of the show, the eye candy of eccentric hairstyles and fashion and the rush of being on stage.
The show entertains those who love people watching and art, they said.
Brown's creativity — like intertwining the hairstyles of two people or bejeweling hair — is a combination of her passion for hair and crafts. Hair, like jewelry, is an accessory, she said.
"We just like taking stuff to the next level, " Billups added.