Academy of Hair Technology Students Named Finalists in National Styling Competition

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The Junior Style Star competition features the top cosmetology students nationwide.

Gilberto Becerra, 46, and Danielle Jelks, 25, both students at the Academy of Hair Technology in Greenville, SC, were selected as finalists in the Junior Style Star competition, a national competition that attracted more than 200 of the nation's top cosmetology students from around the nation.

"The Junior Style Stars competition is the ‘American Idol’ of the cosmetology school industry," said Paul Barry of Barristar Productions, who founded the competition.

The Junior Style Stars competition invited cosmetology students nationwide to create a theme-inspired style demonstrating their skill at hair design and color. All students competed on identical mannequin heads and the creations were photographed at a JC Penny Portrait Studio location. A panel of 14 judges, all with professional hair experience, evaluated each entrant's mannequin based on technical, creative and aesthetic criteria. All 2014 competition submissions reflected a style themed as "Real Life Bridal."

"We wanted the students to focus on the types of styles they will be creating once they graduate from cosmetology school versus focusing on more fantasy-inspired looks,” noted Barry.

Sherri Brilla, the director of education at the Academy of Hair Technology noted that Becerra and Jelks performed all their work on their Junior Style Star entries at school.

"From the use of identical mannequins to ensuring all styling was performed on school premises and was photographed by the same portrait studio chain, the Junior Style Star competition provides a level playing field for cosmetology students to demonstrate their skills," Brilla said. The hairstyle and use of highlights to accentuate the design was entirely the students' creation.

Brilla said that Becerra’s and Jelks’ work ethic and entrepreneurial spirits coupled with their talent demonstrated in their winning designs provide virtually unlimited career opportunities upon graduation.

"We can't wait to see where Gilberto's and Danielle’s careers take them upon graduation,” Brilla added.

As finalists, Becerra, Jelks and their Junior Style Stars entries will be featured in leading hair and cosmetology publications. Their accomplishment reflects the opportunities that are available in the cosmetology industry.

“Cosmetology remains a profession where earnings and opportunities are limited only to one's dedication and commitment to continual learning," noted Jim Cox, executive director of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools.

Careers in beauty remain a bright spot in the employment arena. U.S. News and World Report rated cosmetology as one of the top careers in 2014. Job growth in cosmetology, including hair, skin and nails, is projected to outpace growth in many careers in the future.

About the company:
Why choose the Academy of Hair Technology? They have serviced South Carolina from their Greenville location for over 28 years. They are widely recognized as South Carolina’s Premiere Cosmetology College. Their graduates are in high demand and work in the best salons in the area. Students will experience hands-on training in a structured environment that produces consistent winners in hair contests around the country and successful graduates.

Academy of Hair Technology instructors have years of experience in salons and teaching and have even won styling and cutting contests at national and international events themselves. Their focus is on providing students with quality training with full access to the most advanced training material available anywhere. The Academy of Hair Technology is a Pivot Point Member School which means they offer the finest in cosmetology training worldwide. Visit their website today for more information,

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Robert MacElhany
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