NYX Professional Makeup crowned its newest Beauty Vlogger of the Year Saturday night at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles during its sixth annual FACE Awards.
Willow Smith entertained the crowd while votes were tallied to determine the winner of what has become the makeup artist community’s version of The Academy Awards.
Former contestant and social media personality Patrick Starrr, bedecked in sequins, announced Jessica A.M. Kalil as the recipient of the coveted title. She takes home $50,000, consultations with professional makeup artists, a year’s supply of NYX Professional Makeup and the opportunity to kick-start a professional career in makeup artistry. The five other finalists received $15,000 and, if history repeats itself, the opportunity to also get discovered. The FACE Awards, which stands for the Fine Artistry of Cosmetic Elites, have a rich history of igniting the career trajectory of budding artists including Starrr, along with Laura Sanchez, Mykie (Glam&Gore) and Kristen Leanne, among others.
The L’Oréal-owned brand commenced its hunt for this year’s star with more than 1,000 video entries that were narrowed down to six through public voting. A panel of judges selected the winner from the finalists’ videos showcasing their takes on the event’s theme, The Magic of Makeup.
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This year’s event was expanded to include makeup demonstrations, photo opportunities — Target’s dog Bullseye was available for Instagram-worthy shots — and meet-ups with influencers.
WWD discussed the genesis of the awards and how they’ve become so important in the industry with NYX AVP Integrated Marketing Sarah El-Annan.
WWD: How did the idea of the FACE awards come about?
Sarah El-Annan: We wanted to create something that allowed us to give back and to celebrate artistry within the beauty community, to foster the growth of emerging artists and to offer up a unique platform to catapult their career in makeup artistry. The FACE Awards have continued to evolve into something bigger and better every year. We are consistently blown away by the talent we see and the competition continues to bring out the best in makeup artistry, pro, innovation and uniting the beauty community.
WWD: How have careers been impacted from past awards?
S.E.: Past winners and finalists have had explosive career growth in the beauty industry. We have a robust FACE alumni network that boast about how FACE Awards was a pinnacle moment in their careers. They’ve made lifelong friends with both their peers in the industry as well as huge brand names that act as our sponsors every year like Redken, Clarisonic, Target and many more. Patrick Starrr, for example, did not win the 2015 FACE Awards, but has gone on to have a thriving career and is the host of this year’s show. [Starrr has more than 3.5 million followers on Instagram and a robust YouTube channel.] We are proud to break down obstacles and open up doors for this talented and undiscovered community of artists.
WWD: How do you keep it fresh?
S.E.: Our beauty junkies mean the most to us and we’ve jotted down feedback every year on how to improve and make it better. This year, we had more than 43 countries from around the globe participate in their own local FACE Awards competition. Stateside, we opened up our first-ever FACE Expo hall with meet-ups, makeup demo’s and brand spaces and graduating to a venue that holds 6,000 people versus 1,500 in years’ past.
WWD: Is the power of the influencer as strong as ever? Is it changing in any way?
S.E.: Social media influencers have always been power players in this space and are constantly evolving and shaping the beauty industry. What was once reserved for glossy magazines has become an influencer-dominated space. Brands are now creating content starring influencers, collaborating on product launches with influencers, and really letting influencers take a front seat on social channels. Influencers have become a sort of “first line of defense” when it comes to product messaging, whether it’s a how-to tutorial or a simple product review. The beauty industry has seen a large shift in growth due to the power of influencers. We’ve been lucky at NYX Professional Makeup to be a historical source and platform for their career launch as artists, online and off-line. We’ll continue to foster the growth of influencers and have them be part of our family.