Sunday, October 28, 2012

Salon Extravaganza!

Judging Fab: Rafe Hardy, Lori Montoya, Nick Verreos and Kandee Johnson--"Battle of the Strands: Extreme Beauty" Competition, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

Last Monday, I flew to Las Vegas to judge a most unique hair/make-up/fashion competition: "Battle of the Strands: Xtreme Beauty" Finals! I went there as the Fashion & Style Correspondent for LookTV--the BEST YouTube Channel devoted to the Best in Fashion & Beauty-and one of the sponsors of this one-of-a-kind beauty battle.

Produced by Vegas Beauty Unbound, "Battle of the Strands" is a cut throat competition between salons from across the nation. The actual competition began a month ago when 22 teams competed against each other to then get the chance to make the Semi-Final Top Twelve and seek the coveted "Battle of the Strands 2012: Xtreme Beauty" Champion title.

These 12 semi-finalists all then met in Las Vegas on October 17, 2012 to compete in a thrilling round of challenges that tested their teamwork and ingenuity in the areas of hair, makeup, and beauty. Everything was done very "Project Runway" style. After these challenges, the 12 semi-finalists were then cut down to five surviving teams: Body Spa Salon of Las Vegas Nevada; Clark Russell Salon of Lafayette California; Fringes Salon of Omaha Nebraska; Glam Alliance from Minneapolis Minnesota, and Mile High Magic from (you guessed it!) Denver Colorado.

These five teams then went on to compete in the final battle at The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas last Monday night on October 2, which is where I came in--as one of the esteemed "Celeb Judges".

I arrived to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas early in the afternoon after a quick LA-Vegas flight (I spent more time at LAX waiting for my flight than in the air!) and was greeted by Kelly and Barb--my two very cute (and hard-working) "VIP Handlers" (above photo).

Madonna Costume worn on the "Who's That Girl?" World Tour/Ciao Italia Tour--Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas (special Thank You to my Tweet DIVAS @katykk and @michellevisage for helping me figure out where Madonna wore this!)

Axl Rose--at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

As you may know, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas has a lot of rock & roll/music memorabilia "sprinkled" throughout its grand lobby/casino floor so before I got to my room, I had to explore. My favorite items (naturally) were some of the fashions worn by famous music icons on display, including the red dress and bolero worn by MADONNA on the "Who's That Girl" /Ciao Italia World Tour and a red-and-gold jacket and ripped jeans from Axl Rose. Guns N' Roses are headlining at the hotel beginning October 31 so the entire place is a Guns N' Roses MECCA right now; big ol' signs advertising their concert hit you at just about every corner of the hotel. Speaking of hotel...I finally made it to my room:


The hotel's Paradise Tower website describes the room as such : "The trendsetting Paradise Tower combines rock ‘n’ roll decadence with style and sophistication to create an energetic vibe that can only be found at the Hard Rock Hotel. Rooms evoke visions of a rock ‘n’ roll manor house, using iconic materials like leather, wood and silver studded velvet to enhance the sensory experience and emphasize that this is no standard hotel room." And they were right! The room was very spacious, great bathroom and yes, love the bathroom products (I collect 'em!!). Soon, it was time for an outfit change and I had to head down to "The Joint" and do my judgin' duties at the fabulous "Battle of the Strands". The show was being LIVE Stream televised on YouTube for thousands and thousands to see so I had to look (slightly) decent.

Los Angeles Samba Dancers Opened "Battle of the Strands: Xtreme Beauty" Competition
Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

The two hour show began with an exciting and very sexy dance number by the Los Angeles Samba Dancers. It was like the Opening of a "Miss Universe" pageant! I almost got up from my judging seat and stole one of those feathered headdresses and starting booty-shakin' myself!

 Hosting Divas: Colorist-to-the-Stars (and last year's "Battle of the Strands" champion) Kim Vo (left) hosted the show, along with the beautiful Dayna Roselli (right)
 Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

The Five Final Teams, and their "Battle of the Strands" Final Creations--the Theme was GOLD:

Team One--Mile High Magic Denver Colorado: Ed Gillespie, Lindsay Ambrosio, Dina Bree, Bobbie Mitchell created a "Golden Harem Princess" with blond, pink, black and dark brown wigs gold coin oversized hoop earring/necklace combo, Dior/John Galliano-esque makeup, a huge umbrella with iridescent organza panels and a Schwarzkopf-branded tambourine 
Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

Team Two: Clark Russell Salon Lafayette California--Clark Russell, Jeffrey Lotspeich, Anje Mayma and Brenda Agcaoili created a "Golden Medusa from Africa"-like creature with multi-colored hair, gray/purple body and face makeup, and a very impressive--and massive overskirt made of HAIR--in various shades of golden blond! Oh and did I mention she arrived on stage via a golden luggage cart. Yes, who needs a set of Louis Vuitton Luggage...when you have HER!
Photographs Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

Team Three: Fringes Salon Omaha Nebraska--Carol Cole Lapole, Omar Rodriguez, Tiffany Welch and Kristina Lee created this "Amazonian Golden Warrior Goddess" featuring a very high wig--in varying shades of blond--a gold lame skirt, a forehead golden crown, golden tubing around her upper torso and a golden "Warrior Goddess Stick".
Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

Team Four: Glam Alliance Minneapolis Minnesota--Andrew Schmitz, Brenda Torre and Crystal Mitchell created this "Marie Antoinette-Meets-Goldfinger Bond Girl Beach Diva" with an extravagant golden wig weaved into an UBER Faux Hawk, gold bikini top and bottoms, an iridescent organza back overskirt and crystallized Cleopatra-like makeup.
Photographs Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

And Finally...

Team Five: Body Spa Las Vegas--Jessica Taylor, Felix McShaw and Jeremy McShan, Jeremy Mihelich created this "Exotic Hair Bird of Paradise" golden beauty featuring gold and black "wings", gold lame draping, and lots of gold chains and jewelry--as well as a headdress reminiscent of some Indonesian-meets-Nepal-meets-Vegas Fantasy Princess
Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

The Judging:

 Judges Deliberate: (left to right)  Rafe Hardy Artistic Creative Director and The Face of "Sexy Hair"; Lori Montoya Rain Cosmetics Co-Founder; Nick Verreos; and Kandee Johnson Celebrity Makeup Artist and YouTube Personality (and my new Best Twitter Friend!)
Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

 Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

After our judging--and "Michael/Nina/Heidi" commentary--we finally had to make a decision and "crown" the Winner of this year's "Battle of the Strand: Xtreme Beauty" Competition. This was NOT an easy decision and we--the judges--deliberated and conferred--even after putting our votes in--on the merits of why the Winner should be the winner--but we were all in agreement for sure. It was up to Kim Vo to announce the result. But before that, there was several other awards to announce including...

The People's Choice Award--which was voted on Facebook--and that award went to Team Fringes of Omaha Nebraska!
Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

And The Winner (drum roll!!)...

 Photograph Courtesy of Battle of the Strands Facebook Page/PRSmith_PSPhotography

GLAM ALLIANCE of Minneapolis Minnesota!! Yes, the "Marie Antoinette-Meets-Goldfinger Bond Girl Beach Diva" was our Top Vote Getter. From head-to-toe (literally!), this team had our highest scores. Congratulations to Glam Alliance, it's creative team and...

...that fabulous model for having the chutzpah to go out there in that ensemble and to not have a neck injury for holding up that very high Fax Hawk--just take a look at the intricacy of that hair!! Yep, she got my Highest Scores for sure!

Post Finals Pics:

Judging Ladies: (left to right) Kaydee Johnson, Nick Verreos and Lori Montoya--"Battle of the Strands: Xtreme Beauty" Competition Finals, The Joint Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

Jackets Required: Nick Verreos and Kim Vo--"Battle of the Strands: Xtreme Beauty" Competition Finals, The Joint Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

Nick Verreos with Guests--"Battle of the Strands: Xtreme Beauty" Competition Finals, The Joint Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

 Nick Verreos and The Ladies--"Battle of the Strands: Xtreme Beauty" Competition Finals, The Joint Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

Golden Group: Nick Verreos and The Winners "Glam Alliance"--"Battle of the Strands: Xtreme Beauty" Competition Finals, The Joint Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

Thank you LookTV, Vegas Beauty Unbound, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, the "Battle of the Strands" staff and Las Vegas for a wonderful time!!! It was such an honor to judge this unique hair/fashion/beauty competition and again, Congrats to the Winner! xoxo

Click Below to watch the final Five and Announcement of the Winners:



Click Below to watch the Announcement of "People's Choice" Winner:

1 comments:

Lindsay Ambrosio said...

Hi Nick! Awesome BLOG! I'm the Makeup Artist from Team Mile High Magic! Thanks for the MAJOR "PEP" talk in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel the day after the competition! It really meant a lot to me and my team! Just here wanting to "stalk" you! LOL But honestly it meant a million! We appreciate and and your kind words!

Lindsay Ambrosio

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