I attended my first Texas Hair Shows’ International Hair Show, the Texas International Hair and Trade Show, this year. And I have to admit that I must have been living under a rock for the last sixteen years, because the show was amazing! I’ve attended hair expos in the past, so I had a general idea of what to expect as far as the set up, vendor booths, and class breakouts. But I had absolutely no clue what to expect nor what I was in store for during the America’s Next Top Stylist Competition/Hair Battle and other competitions!
From classes, to live demos, to vendors, if you have any interest in the beauty industry there was something there to benefit you. The exhibition hall hosted a variety of vendors, a main stage, and Barber’s Island; a stage set exclusively for barbers to showcase their work live on stage! The vendors ranged from hair & body product manufacturers to jewelry and fashion. Mocca Cosmetics and Pretty Girl Pillow were in the house. I also spotted all natural, organic and handmade products from Like Second Nature and Unique & Natural!
let’s get it started
As the vendors shut down for the night, the crowd shifted to the ballroom of the convention center and the mood changed drastically. The lights were low, the music was bumping, and the stage was set center to two large projection screens. K104’s Dede McGuire of DeDe in the Morning and actor/model, heartthrob, Christian Keyes opened the show and introduced the opening act, Dooney da Barber.
The performance was followed by the presentation of the Ultimate Groomer Award. Diana Fowlks crowned, or better you could say cloaked, Marcus (Tipp) Mitchell with an Ultimate Groomer bomber jacket! Up next were the Souljahs Steppers. These young men killed their performance, and had a cheering squad like no other!
Our hosts for the evening were the beautiful Michelle Barber, and Glynn Jackson. Glynn kept me in stitches with quick-witted, comical antics throughout the night. The battle was a fist-pumping, edge of your seat, you betta work, yaaasssss type of production. The pressure was on, as the contestants were first critiqued by Tracy Jones, Anita Hawkins, and KC Fox. Then judged by a host of industry giants: Zerlene Rogers, Keya Neal, Dave Raye, Hair Majesty, and Texas T.
I’ve seen hair battles on TV before, but being in the room and feeling the energy of this show was amazing. I loved every minute of it!
There were twelve creative and innovative competitors with industry experience ranging from five to twenty-plus years, all competing for a Grand Prize of five thousand dollars! Each stylist showcased their skills through themed performances ranging from African Safari’s to The Great Gatsby. I had a great time the entire time, and as the millennials would say, “It was LIT AF!”
This year’s Grand Prize winner was Toni Ancher from Spoil ‘Em Rotten salon in Waco, Texas. Toni’s Toy Story Hair Tale brought down the house! It was colorful, had insane energy, and she showed off her skills from natural to fantasy hairstyles. Toni left us in awe -she shut it down!
Sunday night’s festivities were fun, fully of energy and long, but I couldn’t miss Monday’s Loc Competition and I didn’t. All five contestants had dope loc-styles. I’m always delighted to see locs on a platform showcasing their versatility and beauty.
And while everyone isn’t quite ready for the commitment required for locs, we can all get down with braids and corn rows! The braid competition was fit for a queen, the styles were majestic mixed with some ‘around the way’ vibes.
I also had the opportunity to see the Fantasy Hair Competition and the Cosmetology School Competition. Another display of talent and innovation that left me wowed.
All I can say is that I’m kicking myself for all the other shows that I missed. This may have been my first time attending the Texas International Hair Show, but it will not be my last! Follow Texas Hair Shows on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what’s happening next!