international-hairdressing-awards dee-parker lisa-polini international-hairdressing-awards dee-parker lisa-polini

Australian golden girls Dee Parker and Lisa Polini took out International Avant-Garde Collection of the Year and Best International Women’s Commercial Collection respectively at the recent International Hairdressing Awards, Madrid. 

Yet again the standard of Australian hairdressing shone bright among a sea of global competitors at the recent International Hairdressing Awards. Over 1,000 attendees from 30 different countries descended upon Madrid in one universal celebration of hair recently, the awards (currently in its second year), driven by a mission to ‘earn worldwide respect and admiration for our profession.’

Flying the Aussie flag in 2020 were Lisa Polini (2019 AHFA Creative Colourist Finalist) and Dee Parker (2019 Hair Expo Australian Hairdresser of the Year), the two leading ladies taking out Best International Women’s Commercial Collection and International Avant-Garde Collection of the Year respectively.

We took a moment between celebrations to quiz them each on inspiration, girl power and why international (awards).

TJ: What inspired your winning collection?

LP: A collection of images influenced by the late Alexander McQueen’s controversial Fall ’95 collection, Highland Rape. It’s a story around pushing creative ideas to levels where bold is classified empowering. The light, dark and shifting exteriors of tartan inspire colour dimension – contrasting and complementing accent shades – strong lines and soft, blended base stretching.

DP: I entered my winning Hair Expo collection from 2019, Shallow, and selected four of the most technical looks so to showcase as many skills possible. My hero image of this selection would be the look with braids.

TJ: What drew you to enter an offshore competition platform such as the International Hairdressing Awards?

LP: I’ve been blessed to both assist and train under some of last year’s winners including SACO and X-presion Creatives. When my publicist Claire Maher notified me that entries were open for 2020, I thought it would be great to see if the collection translates well in the international market. We went with the old saying of ‘what do you have to lose?’ and entered without hesitation.

DP: I entered because the platform is in its second year and growing year-on-year … they also fly us to Spain for the evening, but for me, it was the chance to hang out and network with industry greats. I couldn’t believe all my hair heroes were there and that I stood up as a winner in front of them! Further to this, the shows executed on the night were excellent.

TJ: What are some of the benefits and challenges of entering international based awards?

LP: Personal and professional growth. To be announced a finalist and make the journey to Madrid was so exciting. It was simple to enter and the process of becoming a finalist (and arranging the prize-associated travel) was seamless. It’s been an exciting adventure from entering right through to the awards ceremony.

DP: It was amazing to be involved in such a big production … the challenge is always the length of travel there and back.

TJ: Is it empowering to see more women taking out prominent titles such as this?

LP: It was wonderful to be a finalist with four fellow finalists from Down Under – Dee Parker Attwood (AUS), Danny Pato (NZ), Kylie Hayes (NZ) and myself. We were all proud to represent our respective countries and felt welcomed in Madrid with open arms. Both Dee and I commented on how amazing it felt to take out a win for Australia, and truly represent our local industry on a global stage. I don’t believe it matters if it’s a female or male hairdresser that takes out the award … I love that the passion defining Australian hairdressing is recognised on a global level. We have so much talent in our country and it’s wonderful to be recognised by who we consider to be industry leaders.

DP: There were three females awarded on the night, but many who finalled which was wonderful. There were a few jokes made to Lisa and I that Australia came in and cleaned up, so we each felt super proud in that sense.

Nice work ladies.