Every two years, since 1946, Hairworld Organisation Mondiale Coiffure hosts its international hair competition for the World Cup—essentially the Olympics of beauty—which brings together thousands of hairdressers from across the globe to compete for the coveted trophy (and the publicity, exposure and bragging rights that come along with it!).

In 2014, Hairworld was hosted in Frankfurt, Germany, to coincide with the Hair and Beauty trade show for the first time in 14 years (2012 was hosted in Milan, 2010 in Paris, and in Chicago in 2008).

Nearly 1,300 competitors, in the sections of Ladies, Gents or Juniors, from 50 countries participated in 38 categories ranging from Progressive Cut and Style, Bridal Hair and Makeup, Classic Cutting, Nails, Full Fashion, Body Painting and Fantasy.

Sure, your clients won't wear these looks created by competitors, but as Salvatore Fodera (OMC World President) told MODERN: "think about it like Formula 1 racing--no one's out there in a Chevrolet. These models are meant to inspire and show the technical skill achievable."

This year, the USA was represented by four teams: Senior Ladies' Technical Mannequin, Senior Ladies’ Fashion mannequin, Senior Ladies' Fashion models, and Senior Gents' Technical.

BECOMING PART OF TEAM USA

Each competing country is represented by a trade association. For the US, the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) is the official U.S. representative to OMC, hosts of Hairworld. PBA selects team members by seeing their work at regional competitions.

2014 team member Nataliya Ilkiv, from Chicago, grew up in the beauty industry as a second-generation Hairworld competitor. She watched her mother, Lesya Ilkiv, train and compete for HairWorld. She was selected as a competitor for Hairworld Paris 2010 after trying out at PBA’s Premiere Orlando show.

“What motivated me to compete was Pivot Point founder Leo Passage,” says Ilkiv, a graduate of Chicago's Pivot Point Academy.

“I had the pleasure of meeting him and the drive and feeling that man gives out, the passion he has for the beauty industry, I thrived with that energy. It’s amazing to be a part of a team that gets to travel and learn so much about different cultures and countries.”

WHY COMPETE

During his career, Passage won nearly 100 competitions and was a tremendous advocate for competition. In 1961, he captured the titles of World Supreme Champion and Hairdresser of the Year at the International Beauty Show in New York City. Passage’s passion for competing lives on through his international Pivot Point Academies and member schools.

Beyond the thrills that come with competing and placing top in your category, beauty professionals discover more about form, shape, texture and color placement—with new light, thinking more creatively, beyond technical skills in cutting and color.

“All of the fresh perspectives I've gained from competing helps me in my work on my clients," says Ilkiv.

"Over direction, under direction, professional blow drying, vintage-inspired blowouts, technical work, molding, shaping and setting. It’s very exciting for my clients to know their hairdresser participates in a bigger part of the industry, beyond the salon floor. I’m very proud to be a part of Team USA.”

2016 WORLD CUP

The next Hairworld OMC World Cup will be held in Korea! Think you have what it takes? Download the official rules and regulations, and get details, at omchairworld.com.