Each year the Academy Awards celebrate, honor, and award the best of the best in all aspects of film. The music industry hosts an equally prestigious event, the Grammy Awards, recognizing musical genius. There are Tony Awards for theater, Emmy Awards for television, and countless other awards throughout the collective entertainment industry. Talented celebrities from all over get dolled up and enjoy an evening of entertainment and celebration acknowledging their achievements for that year. Walking their respective red carpets, they’re asked, “Who are you wearing?” or “Do you think you’ll come away with the win?”
Rare is the question, “Who did your hair tonight?” Nobody asks, “Wow, your makeup is flawless; who do you want to thank for that?” People often overlook spectacular individuals and entire teams that are behind the awe-inspiring beauty these celebrities project, and isn’t that a shame? These talented entertainers spent hours in the chairs of equally talented hair and make-up specialists getting the right look for the movies and TV shows they acted in, music videos they shot, stages they performed on, and red carpets they walked.
Sure, there is a handful of categories recognizing hair and make-up in the big pre-show awards, but where is the night of celebration honoring the industry as a whole? Where are the artistic awards for turning drab into fab in multiple industry categories? Enter the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA). Created 27 years ago, exceptional stylists began receiving the prestigious awards they are so deserving of at the annual Las Vegas event. It is organized by the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and celebrates the top professional hairstylists and make-up artists in North America in 14 categories.
The NAHA focus is on innovative, trend setting, boundary pushing artists who are at the top of their fields – celebrity hair and makeup stylists, editorial artists featured in fashion and beauty magazines, and cutting edge stylists who showcase their work on red carpets and runways each year. The NAHA is the most prestigious award show in the industry; it’s basically the Oscars of hair and makeup. NAHA honors the industry’s elite. Stylists nominated for these awards are the top tier players in the industry.
The North American Hairstyling Awards: Past to Present
NAHA started from humble beginnings in 1989, founded by Redken Laboratories and Modern Salon Media. It was originally hosted in Chicago with only five categories. The awards event slowly garnered recognition over the years, assisted by the delivery of its first Lifetime Achievement Award given to Paul Mitchell (posthumously) in 1991. PBA took over production of the ceremony in 1992, and in 1993 an additional category was added to the awards – the Student Hairstylist of the Year award.
The following year the categories of Nail Makeovers and Permanent Waving were added. By 1995 the PBA officially took over the award show and added six more categories between 1995 and 2013. They included everything from Long Hair Dressing, to Salon Team of the Year, to the last official category to get added – Men’s Hairstylist of the Year, which marked 14 categories to date.
In 2004, just under a decade since PBA officially took it over, the NAHA found a home of its own at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Previous ceremonies took place in such cities as San Diego and Anaheim, California, so, now after more than 25 years of celebrations, everyone is glad the NAHA calls Las Vegas home. Fabulous icons in the industry have had the honor of emceeing the event each year. Nancy O’Dell, winner of the 2009 PBA Beautiful Humanitarian Award, was the emcee that year.
Others icons who have hosted the NAHA include Tabitha Coffey, who everyone knows as the star of Shear Genius, hosted the ceremony in 2011, and Brad Goreski, co-host of the Fashion Police, took on the emcee honor in 2015. These groundbreaking stylist emcees are a testament to the level of prestige the NAHA has in the beauty world.
As the most inclusive beauty event in the industry, it provides education, networking, and professional growth opportunities to every nominee, participant, and guest. The National American Hairstyling Awards are the most sought after awards in the industry, and being nominated as a finalist demonstrates you’re at the top of your field.
The NAHA Meets David Barron … Again … Times Two
David Barron has already created quite the name for himself. Born and raised in East End London, he attended the Vidal Sassoon Academy where he worked for four years before heading out on his own. His talents took him far and wide, where he graced the movie sets of Hamlet, Robin Hood, and Fried Green Tomatoes. That last movie ultimately landed him in Atlanta, where he is known as one of the top hair stylists in the area.
Stylist David Barron has worked with the likes of Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Elton John, Gwen Stefani, a Duchess, and a Real Housewife, just to name a few. He and his salon have been nominated for and won several awards, been featured in various magazines, and been seen on multiple television shows. With his impressive background, it’s no surprise he has been on the NAHA’s radar even before 2014 when he was among five North American stylists nominated for Hairstylist of the Year.
In 2016 he’s commanding an even bigger presence with two nominations at the North American Hairstyling Awards in the Avant Garde and Contemporary Classic categories. When it comes to trending power, it seems David Barron is destined to remain on top. Let’s all wish him well at the 2016 NAHAs in Las Vegas.