At Fantastic Sams®, we’re always looking to stay current on the latest trends. To showcase the talent of our Fantastic Stylists, Fantastic Sams hosts the annual Artistic Styling Awards (ASA), a national competition to highlight the best work from Fantastic Sams across the nation.
“Every year we host a competition that any stylist who works for Fantastic Sams can enter,” says Lisa Counts, Regional Director. “The country is broken into three territories, or regions, and we have had as many as nine categories for the stylists to enter.”
Our ASAs is comprised of two divisions. The commercial division represents styles that can be translated to Fantastic Sams guests that want to remain trend-right and style-savvy. The artistic division showcases a stylist’s creative ability without regard for commercial reproduction. The judges look for cutting-edge creativity and risk-taking; in other words, “coloring outside the lines.”
“It’s a lot of fun and a real source of pride for us within the industry,” Lisa says. “We have a lot of stylists whose work is on magazine covers, and several of the finalists are showcased on the cover of CosmoProf, a well-known industry magazine. It’s great exposure for the entire brand.”
“The ASAs are a wonderful opportunity for all Fantastic Sams stylists to showcase their talents in several categories,” says Randy Lazar, President of Fantastic Sams Florida & Alabama. “The categories are Boy Cut & Style, Girl Cut & Style, Commercial Cut for Male and Female, Commercial Glamour, Commercial Color, Commercial Texture, Artistic Cut, Artistic Color and Avant-Garde. Stylists have confidence in many of these categories and need to take a leap of faith to show off their fantastic skills.“
Stylists can enter one or all categories by submitting a photo to a customized website that’s then viewed by a judging panel made up of industry leaders. Three finalists for each category are chosen, and then at the annual Fantastic Sams convention, finalists are showcased and the winners announced.
Lazar says, “Great prizes are awarded in each category and participants could end up becoming “Stylist of the Year” for Fantastic Sams. The ASAs are the focal point of the Fantastic Sams convention. The last-night extravaganza is dedicated to ASA’s winners in each category. The tears, smiles, and emotions are amazing - watching the stylists go on stage, many for the first time, and be recognized for their work in front of 800-1000 attendees… It’s the finale of our whole convention and shows all stylists that people truly do appreciate what they do. They leave motivated to enter again next year.“
This year, the 2018 National Fantastic Sams Convention will be held in Las Vegas in the first week of October, where the finalists and the national “Stylist of the Year” for Fantastic Sams will be honored. The Fantastic Sams convention is held biannually and will honor the ASA winners of 2017 as well as announce the ASA winners of 2018 at the event.
In addition, 2018 was unique for Fantastic Sams Florida & Alabama. We had the first regional ASA competition with the same categories as the national ASAs. Regional winners were chosen by stage artists and associates from Farouk Systems, the makers of CHI® and Biosilk. The winners of the regional competition won a cash prize, as well as an all-expense paid trip to the 2019 Farouk Systems convention.
Some of the highlights from this year’s National ASA Nominees as well as the regional level featured some incredible work, including a purple and fuchsia look by Natasha McGee who won the Regional Stylist of the Year for the Florida & Alabama region.
Photo by L.B. Blanchard – Style done by Natasha McGee
At the end of the day, Fantastic Sams works hard to shine a light on all of the incredibly talented stylists who work in salons across the country and look forward to celebrating such fantastic talent year after year.