Congratulations to the winners and competitors of the 6th Annual Sebastian Professional What’s Next Awards! This group of finalists—who were selected out of 1,600 entries from seven countries—competed live in Los Angeles for a chance at winning major prizes ranging from products, cash, and an editorial photoshoot, to education and an all-inclusive experience assisting at New York Fashion Week.

Each year, Sebastian releases a trend collection to inspire What’s Next contestants. This year, that collection was Twisted, inspired by deep-sea realms spotlighting the life at the bottom of the ocean.

The Twisted submissions were narrowed down to 14 finalists who were flown to Los Angeles to learn about their next challenge, meet their model, and get started on creating their final looks to present in front of a panel of judges including MODERN’s Editor in Chief Alison Alhamed @alisonalhamed; Sebastian Pro’s Creative Visionary Robert Lobetta; Dominick Serna, best known as @domdomhair on Instagram; Erik Gutierrez, a MODERN SALON 100 Game Changer known for creating incredible color work on his Instagram page @hairerik; and Sebastian artist La Toya Velberg.

THE CHALLENGE: The 14 finalists created an entirely new look on their models for the live finale, inspired not by a collection but an idea of “Shape Your World”—all about self-expression. Each look is inspired by an occasion, an experience or a feeling transcending fashion, technique, art and spans generations.

STUDENT CATEGORY: Open to aspiring stylists who are enrolled in an accredited cosmetology program
INSPIRATION: FREE SPIRIT
Free Spirit Vibe. Bohemian inspired, youthful, informal, unconventional, imperfect, a free spirit living in the moment and pushing boundaries.
WINNER: Rachel Alvord, Poway, California
COMPETITORS: Diana Keplinger, El Cajon, California; Rachel Alvord, Poway, California; Amber Riegle, St. Catharines, Ontario

 

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY: Open to licensed cosmetologists.
INSPIRATION: ALTERNATIVE
Alternative hair is full of hidden depths that call for instant attention, where techniques at the forefront leave viewers asking what and how? Alternative is about different elements working together as a whole—not a random assortment of color, shape and style, the focus is on the finish.
WINNER: Keisha Mines, Richmond, Virginia
COMPETITORS: Keisha Mines, Richmond, Virginia; Erica Keelen, Jacksonville Beach, Florida; Adrian de la Parra, National City, California

 

AFFILIATED ARTIST CATEGORY: Open to stylists who work with the company as professional educators, top artists and team members.
INSPIRATION: AVANT GARDE Refined and precise with a connection to art.
WINNER: Jonathan James, Los Angeles
COMPETITORS: Jonathan James, Los Angeles, California; Janet Algeciras, Boynton Beach, Florida; Samantha Gunn, Saddle River, New Jersey

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORY: Open to licensed cosmetologists.
INSPIRATION BY THE SPIRIT OF HOLLYWOOD
The spirit of Hollywood with a Sebastian edge. LA is the heart of Sebastian, with all its diversity, the cool underground culture, art and music scenes, and the glamour of the movie industry.
WINNER: Rosallie Asmar, Stockholm, Sweden
COMPETITORS: Brodie-Lee Stubbins, Brisbane, Australia; Rosallie Asmar, Stockholm, Sweden; Harri Akerberg, Helsinki, Finland; Yohann Jouvanceau, Lyon, France; Danny Van Tuijl, Vienna, Austria

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: Artistic presentations from Sebastian Professional Global Art Director Shay Dempsey and Sebastian Professional International Top Artists Diva Poulos, Omar Antonio, Marylle Koken and Anthony Cole inspired the audience throughout the event.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE:

The People’s Choice Awards will be held Monday 2/26 - Tuesday 2/27 on @SebastianWNA’s Instagram. How to vote: 

Step one: Check out @SebastianWNA to see all finalists’ looks.

Step two: Find the image that speaks to you.

Step three: Comment on that image to vote!