In January 2015, Alyssa Brasket of The Barbers in Vancouver, Washington, became the first woman to capture the American Crew U.S. All-Star Challenge.
The annual competition, held to determine the best of the best in men’s grooming on national and global levels, drew more than 10,000 submissions internationally. Entrants were asked to cut and style a male model using American Crew products and submit two photographs for judging.
With her initial submission, Brasket, a newcomer to the challenge, landed a spot in the next round of competition. She and two other U.S. semi-finalists were flown to Los Angeles’ Milk Studios to style a male model of their choosing for a photoshoot involving cut, style, makeup and wardrobe.
“Shooting at Milk Studios was a really cool experience because I had complete freedom to express my style,” Brasket says. The most exciting part, she says, was having David Raccuglia, the founder of American Crew and a world-renowned photographer, behind the camera.
Drawing inspiration from old movies like Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Brasket’s entry was her interpretation of the “American Crew Man”—a well-groomed gentleman that exudes immeasurable confidence. For her winning look, Brasket cut layers throughout the hair and added texture and separation to mid-ends using a feather razor. She styled the hair into a sleek pompadour with height by blow-drying with American Crew’s Firm Hold Styling Gel and a round brush, adding a cocktail of Fiber and Pomade to lend shine and hold, and finishing with Boost Powder for root-lift.
Earning the U.S. title opened up doors for Brasket, including the opportunity to compete against 13 others in American Crew’s Global All-Star Challenge in Rome last April.
Like the semi-finalist round, global contenders were provided a model to cut and style, and had 30 minutes in front of the camera at Lumina Studios to capture a winning image. Although Brasket didn’t snag the global title, being there was the “win” for everyone, she says. “It was one of my lifetime goals to compete for this title. It was a dream come true.”
Brasket encourages stylists to enter the competition, not only for the challenge of it, but to step out of their comfort zone. “Even if you don’t win, you have imagery to advertise on social media and to show clients,” she says. “The key to winning is keeping your idea of the American Crew Man in your mind at all times, educating yourself in the lookbooks, and knowing and using the products,” Brasket says.
Details on Alyssa Brasket:
Completed school: Bon Losee Academy of Hair Artistry
Obtained license: 2008
Works at: The Barbers, Vancouver, Washington
Works: 3 Days a Week
Average # Clients per week: 40
Average male haircut: $20.95 to $26.95
Role models: Nick Arrojo and the Schorem Haarsnijder En Barbier
Hobbies: Golf, fishing, target shooting, hiking with dog Lizzie, hitting the beach
Favorite products: American Crew’s Firm Hold Gel, Grooming Cream, Defining Paste, and Ultra Gliding Shave Oil
Visit americancrew.com/allstarchallenge to see behind the scenes footage from last year’s challenge and to learn more about the contest.
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