Griffith stylist braces for hair-raising competition
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent September 8, 2012 11:28PM
Angela Avorio is photographed at Ben Molin Hair Education in Griffith, Ind. Wednesday September 5, 2012. Avorio heads to Hollywood Sept. 11-13 for the Head to Head Challenge. At left is her entry for the North American Hairdresser Awards, featuring 36 feet of bubble wrap and bamboo sticks to create the runway hair design. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Watch the videos
The final videos for Joico’s Head to Head Challenge featuring Angela Avorio, education director for the Ben Mollin Hair Education Salon of Griffith, and Joico International Artistic Director Damien Carney will be posted Oct. 1 on Joico’s Facebook page for voting. To see Avorio’s winning video, log on to www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnWcTC9R8q8.
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:18AM
GRIFFITH — When Angela Avorio touches down in Hollywood on Tuesday and gets behind the chair at Joico Laboratories, she’ll be bringing out the big sticks.
Avorio, a hair stylist for more than 20 years and the education director for Ben Mollin Hair Education Salon and School, 140 S. Broad St., was told she should stick to “behind the chair” looks when she goes up against world-renowned hair stylist Damien Carney in the hair product company’s “Head to Head Challenge,” to be filmed between Sept. 11 and 13. She can, but rather than produce a prom updo, she’d much rather show Carney, an idol of hers, and the viewing public what she can really do.
“He’s going to be doing his best, so I want to give him a challenge,” Avorio said. “He’s best known for his fantasy runway work, and I can put together some major stuff in a short time, so if they’re going to film this, you want to see a challenge.”
Though she’s traveled all over the world honing her craft, shyness kept the 37-year-old Chicago Heights, Ill., native from getting involved in contests or teaching in large classroom settings. Boyfriend and salon partner Ben Mollin was the one who convinced her a video she made to promote her wedding stylist business would be perfect for Joico’s Head to Head Challenge.
“Ben’s the one who does all the traveling now for Joico, and ‘Ben thinks Ang could win,’ so I entered,” Avorio said.
The contest was open to stylists around the world, and they were asked to submit a short video showing themselves creating an over-the-top updo. There were more than 100 entries, according Patrick Bruner, Joico’s national education manager, and the company pared the entries down to 30 before paring them down to five, of which Avorio was one.
The video with the most views would win the chance to compete directly against Carney — a feat foreign to social networking-novice Avorio who, prior to the contest, didn’t spend a lot of time on Facebook or other sites.
“When I saw that we had only 250 views, I just started blogging and going to every beauty and makeup page I could think of to like their pages and ask people to vote,” she said. “I got kicked off Facebook for a while because I think they thought I was a spammer.”
But the tactic worked, and Avorio saw her views rise to 2,500 from 250 in the first week. Since the video was posted Aug. 3, she’s received 34,900 views.
Avorio and Carney will each have one model and three to five hours to create their single upstyle, Bruner said, and they can use any method, so sticks, fake hair and even bubble wrap — which Avorio has used in creating some of her more fantastical looks — are permitted. The prize is mostly bragging rights, but there is a special prize Bruner said he wasn’t allowed to divulge.
Prizes don’t matter to Avorio, however, because she feels like she already won.
“I remember when I was little looking at spreads in Vogue and Italian Vogue with my grandmother chain-smoking cigarettes next to me. I feel like I’m ready for this,” she said.