When The Competition Bug Bites You: Q&A with Sarah Politi

It was her first time entering a competition and it’s definitely not her last. We learn more about the Student Category Winner for Wella’s Regional TrendVision 2016 Competition held in Philadelphia.

I remember walking up to Sarah and asking her how she was feeling and to tell us about her look. Without even batting an eye, she eloquently walked us judges* through which Wella trend she chose, explained her mood board in great detail and gave an incredibly thorough and confident step-by-step break down on what she created on her model. She did it all without skipping a single beat. It’s not because she knew exactly what the judges wanted to hear; it was because she went into this competition with a clear, uncontrived plan and was able to execute without overcomplicating it.

This category, the Student Category, is exactly that. You have to either be a currently enrolled student or fresh out of the gates (no more than 12 months) to compete. You can say it’s definitely a nice way to dip your toes into the competitive pool. For Sarah, winning this Regional competition is more than just something she can go back to school and brag about it. It’s more than just giving her teachers and mentors a chance to pat themselves on the back and say, “Ahh see, there goes a good one and she’s one of mine.” No, no, this is a bit more. Sarah is on her way now to compete in the semi-finals of Wella TrendVision 2016. Since she won this Regional competition, she automatically advances as a semi-finalist.  Come July 25, 2016, she’ll be in Las Vegas getting another taste of the competition bug, one that bit her deep in Philadelphia.

Before we talk about your experience in Philadelphia, tell us a little more about who are you and where you’re from. 

I’m from Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and I’ve always been interested in beauty. After high school I, decided to pursue a career I am passionate about. Deciding to go to Metro Beauty Academy was spontaneous, but ultimately rewarding. I couldn’t have asked for a better school or more committed teachers. While I know that we never really stop learning as stylists, there is something to be said about laying a good foundation.

Is this the first time you’ve entered a competition before?

This is the first time I’ve entered a competition but it is definitely not the last! 

What do you think makes you a good competitor?

I think any good competitor is always a bit nervous, even scared, to put themselves and their work out there to be critiqued. The important part is to put aside the apprehension and let your work shine.

Why did you enter the regional? What was it about this particular one that drew you in and made you go for it?

I had heard people at school talking about the competition and decided to look it up. There was something about all of those unique minds all under one roof, creating living versions of their inspirations.

Sarah Politi Wella TrendVision

At any point in the process did you ever feel like giving up and throwing in the towel? If so, what made you keep going?

I recall several points during preparations for this competition that I just thought, “Why should I do this if it’s so stressful?” The answer to that is the feeling I got when I was standing there watching Michael Pool take photos of my model. It was completely worth whatever stress I went through.

There’s an emotional, physical and mental reaction that happens to a person when they compete. Which of these three was most prominent for you during the entire competition?

While all three reactions were present, the most prominent feeling I had at the competition was a mental response to worry. Worry that I’d get on stage, flatline, and make a fool of myself. 

What did you learn about yourself during this competition?

If there’s one thing I learned during this competition, it’s to trust my instincts and to not second-guess myself.

What do you think was the one thing that really caught the attention of the judges?

I really do think that no matter how good your skills are, if you don’t have the personality to match, those skills can’t take you as far. No matter how nervous I was, I wanted to bring the judges into my creative process. 

What kind of advice do you have for those who have never entered a competition before?

As nervous as you are, as much as you think, “I’ll never win,” just do it. Dive in head first, breath through it, and do your best!

Now let’s learn more about Sarah’s model, her vision and how she created the look from head to toe, start to finish, HERE.

Photo Courtesy of Wella

*Industrie Co-Founder Kerri Lee-Young was one of the three judges during this regional competition in Philadelphia.

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