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‘Hair Lord’ the lead judge in Face of T&T
Emmy Award-winning celebrity hair stylist Oscar James was in T&T on Friday to lead a panel of judges in the pre-judging stage of the Face of T&T finalists, at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. The “Hair Lord”, deemed one of the top hair stylists in the world by esteemed magazines such as Vogue, Essence and Cosmopolitan, where his work has also graced their covers, got a chance to meet and interview the ten young women vying for the prestigious title.
In an interview with the T&T Guardian, the South Carolina native, who has worked with celebrities such as Beyonce, Vanessa Williams, Iman, Halle Berry, Tyra Banks and Nikki Minaj, said he was happy to be considered as a judge for the competition. “For anything that includes beauty, art or makeup, I will jump to the opportunity. When I got the call to come here, I was just finished with pre-judging the Miss America Pageant and I jumped on board right away,” he said.
He said it was his first time to T&T and he absolutely enjoyed the few hours he spent on the island. “I will definitely come back. The people here are so warm and I also had some good food which reminded me so much of growing up in South Carolina. So I am coming back to be fed,” he joked. Asked what the pre-judging entailed, James said the girls were tested mostly on their knowledge of the Revlon brand and their personality.
“The winner of this competition is going to be the face of the brand, they must have enough knowledge about it to act convincingly...” said James. He added that the winner, apart from being intelligent, must also be charismatic, genuine and just a beautiful person inside out. “We are basically looking for who they are inside,” he said.
James, a licenced cosmetologist, career spans ten years, and he has become the first African-American spokesman for hair authority John Frieda, the renowned British hairstylist. He also owns and operates several salons in Florence South Carolina and New York City. Other Judges included renowned photographer Calvin French, Revlon lead makeup artist Dianne Mongru and Michelle George of the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.
About the competition
The Face of T&T was the brainchild of local award-winning beauty professional Kirk Thomas. The main goal, he stated, is to highlight the often-understated importance of beauty to the local fashion, entertainment and advertising industries, and further to challenge perceptions and expectations.
The competition’s central focus is on the face of its contestants. Initially it was geared towards exposing many faces of varying ages and ethnicities and different lifestyles and geographical compositions. While many of those components remained in tact, Thomas told the T&T Guardian, at the end of the screening process, it came down to the best and the brightest.
“We started out by inviting more than 100 women to the casting call in August and yes, initially we asked for all types of women regardless of age, body type etc. But we also made them aware that this is a competition and so then only the best will be selected. We are not going to put someone out there to crucify themselves if we feel they are not ready for this type of exposure,” explained Thomas. He said the young women who made it to the finals worked for their positions.
“So you may not see many full figured women here or more mature women, but it’s not that we did not want them. We worked with what became available to us after each screening process,” he added. Thomas said the ten finalists range from the ages 18 to 25 and are all academically accomplished. He said they are a beautiful mix of ethnic and geographical backgrounds.
The final leg of the competition will take place today, from 7 pm at the Hyatt. Its main sponsors include: Hyatt Regency, Spa Escencia, Revlon, Blue Waters, Caribbean Airlines and CCN TV6.