Under The Dryer

JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle

Saturday, May 13, 2017

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Talent and creativity were on display at the National Arena when the JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) Barber and Beauty Battle took centre stage on Sunday, May 7, 2017.At the end of the night, 20-year-old barber Demaye Riley; make-up artist Ariel Hitchener; nail technician Maxine Whitely; and hairdresser Travene Walker emerged as winners of the third JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle. Prior to being crowned winners, each participant undertook four sets of challenges on various themes. All categories included a JN Fantasy Challenge round and a speed reproduction segment.

“It's an overwhelming feeling to know that I made it through all the challenges and was able to claim the grand prize,” said winning barber Demaye Riley. “I am really feeling good about what I did here today.” Riley, who cut his first hair when he was 10 years old, finished ahead of last year's winner Marlon Phillips and 2015 champion, Sly Scott. For his victory, Riley received $500,000. while Phillips and Scott received $300,000 and $100,000, respectively.

In the hairdressing category, Travene Walker, a hairdresser since 2012, said she felt blessed to have won the competition after going through the rounds.

“In everything, I put God first and I prayed this morning when I got here. After the JN Fantasy Challenge, I realised that I would have done very well. Then, in the Spring Bride Challenge I knew that I had a good chance of winning,” she stated.

Walker received $500,000 for winning the competition. Second-placed Keiva-Kay Barrett received $300,000, while third-place winner Carlene Clayton earned $100,000 for her efforts.

For the nail technicians, Maxine Whitely, a mother of two, won her section. Whitely previously placed second in 2016.

“I thought about it long and hard, whether or not I should enter again. I can say I am glad I did,” she said.

Whitely took home $300,000 in cash for winning her category. Chevaughn Gordon-Hutchinson placed second and received $100,000, while Samantha Smith, who was third, earned $70,000.

Ariel Hitchener, a Kingston-based make-up artist, won her category ahead of Trudy-Ann Frankson and Keniesha Bryan. Hitchener received $300,000, while Frankson and Bryan received $100,000 and $70,000, respectively.

The finals of the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle were the culmination of the competition that began in February. Industry players were invited to send the best before and after pictures of their works across the following categories - barbers, hairdressers, nail technicians and make-up artists. From there, the list was reduced to a Top 10 in each category for the voting round on social media. The six receiving the most votes in each category made it to the finals.

Here's How The Concept Was Born...

The idea emerged from a conversation between Jamaica National Group CEO Earl Jarrett and a local barber, in 2014, who suggested that hosting a competition of this nature would provide barbers and hairdressers with an opportunity to showcase their craft.

A team was immediately formed to assess the opportunities, which resulted one year later in what is now the JNSBL Barber & Beauty Battle. The initial uptake was 60 applicants in two categories, notably barber and hairdressing. Last year however the company received more than 100 entries for all four categories, barbers, hairdressers, make-up artists and nail technicians. This year there were close to 200 applicants.

The competition has been well-received by the industry, as it is in partnerships with the National Association of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists (NAHC), as well as the HEART Trust/NTA which certify the finalists. Each participant in the competition receives a level one certification.

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