Day 1: Empire's 2012 Future Professionals Expo

Lauren Salapatek | May 21, 2012 | 5:12 AM
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Student competitor in the nails competition.
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Student competitor in the men's cut competition.
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Student competitor in the braiding competition.
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The judges for evening competitions including: womens trend cut, long hair evening design and make-up.
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The pep rally!
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The pep rally!
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The pep rally!
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The pep rally!
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The pep rally!
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Michael O Rourke, MODERNs Lauren Salapatek and Sexy Hairs Rafe Hardy.
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Student competitor in the long hair evening design competition.
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In the chocolate capital of the U.S.—Hershey, Pennsylvania—students representing 109 of the Empire Beauty Schools in 22 states came together for the first day of the 2012 Future Professionals Expo yesterday. Located at the Hershey Lodge, students at the event were able to visit Empire Education Group’s Network Café (companies giving out brochures and information on their products/programs), exhibition floor, social media desk (which gave away prizes to students every hour), classrooms and not to mention the main attraction—the competition floor. Students were also able to connect with industry notables like Nick Arrojo, Michael O’Rourke, and Founder and CEO of Repechage, Lydia Sarfati.

The morning competitions which included the categories: Artistic Braiding, Men’s Cut and Nails, was the quieter time of the day, because many of the students were either walking around the exhibit floor purchasing products or in classrooms. After each of the morning competitions ended, judges in each of the categories got to walk around and judge the students’ work based on the final results. (Students were able to bring in mannequins or nail displays that were pre-worked on, and then added onto them during the LIVE competitions).

 As the day went on, students were getting more and more excited for the night festivities. Once the clock struck 4:30 p.m., students gathered outside the Hershey Convention Center and cheered to be let in for the evening pep rally. The night competitions included: Women’s Trend Cut, Long Hair Evening Design, and Make-up. Students shook noisemakers, held banners, and screamed their school’s names, while a DJ presented on a main stage. That was just half of the experience.

The other thrilling part was that MODERN SALON’s Associate Editor Lauren Salapatek was invited to judge the Long Hair Evening Design category. With approximately 90 competitors in the category, each student created a different masterpiece—from using braids, curls, and loops to hair extensions, hair pieces and barrettes. Students in the competition came equipped with their own products, pre-decorated and colored mannequins, plus drapery.

The fun continues today with Nick Arrojo’s Presentation in the Great American Hall of the Hershey Convention Center and the Awards Ceremony (along with the announcement of the winner of the Master Apprentice Contest). Tune into the full photo albums on MODERN SALON and FIRST CHAIR’s Facebook pages this upcoming week.

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