What’s Next Awards – FAQ

How do I enter?

Follow these steps below:

  1. Decide if you will be entering the National or Regional competition (learn about the difference through the “National Competition” and “Regional Competitions” tabs).
  2. Select the category you will enter in
  3. Review the Creative Brief (found on the “About” tab).
  4. Select a model
  5. Find a photographer
  6. Upload your entry

What category do I enter?

There are three categories to enter: Affiliated Artist, Professional, and Student.

Affiliated Artist

Open to stylists who are contracted by the Wella Company as a Professional Educator including but not limited to Top Artists, Core Team Members, Design Team Members, or Brand Educators.


Open to stylists who are licensed cosmetologists.


Open to aspiring stylists who are enrolled in an accredited cosmetology program by 1/09/17.

For Official Rules, please visit the Rules and Regulations page.

Attend one of our Sebastian classes at Studio NY or LA (optional).

For more information, please visit here.

Do you I need to enter a Regional Competition to be able to enter the National Competition?

The National and Regional competitions are separate from each other and one does not need to enter a Regional Competition to be able to enter the National Competition. Stylists can enter the National Competition with their inspiration from the Eclectic Collection and also enter the Regional Competitions with photos of their best 3 pieces of work in their portfolio. Additionally, Regional winners will automatic be entered as a semi-finalist in the National Competition.

What are the key dates for all WNA Competitions this year?

Key Dates for National Competition

  • August 15, 2016 – Entries Open
  • January 9, 2017 – Entries Close
  • January 16, 2017 – Semi Finalist Announcement
  • February 1, 2017 – Finalist Announcement
  • March 5, 2017 – Finals Live in Dallas, Texas

Key Dates for Regional Competition

Orlando, Florida Regional Competition

  • August 15, 2016 – Entries Open
  • October 9, 2016- Entries Close
  • October 17, 2016 – Finalist Announcement
  • November 13, 2016 – Regional Live Show in Orlando, Florida

Los Angeles , California Regional Competition

  • August 15, 2016 – Entries Open
  • October 9, 2016- Entries Close
  • October 17, 2016 – Finalist Announcement 
  • December 4, 2016 – Regional Live show in Los Angeles, California

Where should I draw inspiration from for my entry?

Most importantly, be bold. Be fearless. And stay true to yourself. But it is also important to source inspiration from Sebastian’s Eclectic collection. See the About page to learn more and download the 2017 Creative Brief.

How do I pick a model?

First, all models must be over the age of 18 and photographers and models must give consent to use photo in competition. See Rules and Regulations.

Modeling agencies are the best sources but can be expensive. Additionally, some models can not stray from their existing look (i.e., they won’t allow you to cut or color their hair dramatically). Make sure you discuss this upfront before you begin work on your model.

You can also use your own network of clients, friends, relatives, friends of friends, post listings at gyms, coffee shops, nightclubs, or online networks such as Model Mayhem or Facebook.

Models should radiate the essence and attitude of Sebastian Professional’s “Fighting for Creativity Beyond Convention” mantra, fit the creative brief and be molded to bring your vision to life. Stylists should also choose models that are photogenic and open to doing something visually creative for their portfolios.

How do I find a photographer?

Begin with word of mouth. Then try using online bulletin boards, Facebook or even posting “photographer wanted” flyers on college community boards (i.e., Art Center College of Design, New School, Brooks Institute, Art Institute, Hallmark Institute of Photography and Pratt Institute).

Make sure to review the photographer’s portfolio before hiring them. Their style may not be suitable for you. A great photographer will understand your vision and help to capture your creativity.

What makes a great entry?

While hair is the focus, What’s Next Awards is about creating the whole package. Wardrobe and makeup should both compliment the look you are trying to achieve.

Lighting is everything in photography. We highly recommend you work with an expert in photography – either a working professional or student. Make sure to find angles that best illustrate your hair look.

All will need to submit a close up (chest and above) so that judges can see both your mastery and talent.

How to find answers to my questions not addressed here?

If you have questions related to the What’s Next Awards contest, please reach out via social media (linked at the bottom of the page). Feel free to tweet, direct message on Instagram or leave a comment. We will get back to you within 1-2 business days.