A hairstylist and makeup artist won recognition from the beauty industry.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The model's white-blond hair is carefully sectioned and tied together with tiny bands, creating an intricate diamond pattern all across the scalp. The perfect latticework draws the eye to a halo of curls surrounding her head.
"I chose looks that were powerful," said hairstylist Maureen Anlauf. "For me, it was about geometry -- shapes on shapes."
The diamond pattern is called "the grid," and it's one of five stunning looks created by a team that included hairstylist Anlauf, 34, and makeup artist Angelia Senevisai, 38 -- two Minneapolis women who took top honors recently at the North American Hairstyling Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
Considered the Oscars of the beauty industry, the contest featured entries from 600 professionals from Canada and the United States.
Anlauf won the Hairstylist of the Year award and Senevisai was crowned Makeup Artist of the Year. It was a Minnesota sweep -- and a rare one at that. "People from the U.S. don't usually win this competition, the Canadians do," said Senevisai. "And if the winners are from the U.S. they're never from Minnesota."
Mary Brunetti, a NAHA judge for the past 15 years and author of "The Inside Track to NAHA," said the awards are significant because they are a nod from the industry and give stylists national exposure that can lead to all kinds of career opportunities.
Passionate about work
Both Anlauf and Senevisai attribute their success to a shared passion for their art and a commitment to be the best.
As a child growing up in Cambridge, Minn., Anlauf gave her dolls sleek haircuts and discovered she could look at someone and picture the ideal hairstyle for that person.
When she was in eighth grade, she gave her best friend a perm and to this day, that friend claims it's the best one she ever had. In high school, Anlauf served as hairdresser to the rest of her friends, charging them for cuts she gave in her basement.
After high school, she moved to Minneapolis to attend the Aveda Institute and become a professional stylist. There a teacher encouraged her to further her training at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, Calif. Anlauf heeded his advice and found herself performing three-hour haircuts at the legendary cosmetology school, honing her skills. "I got the tools I needed to create what I saw in my head," Anlauf explained.
In addition to her work at the Juut Salon/Spa in St. Paul, she also styles hair for local print advertising and magazine fashion spreads. That's how she met Senevisai. They began working together and discovered they were artistic kindred spirits.
Formerly from Ohio
Senevisai grew up in Ohio, always drawing, painting and creating art. She attended high school in Minnesota and soon she had taken all the art classes her high school offered. In her final year in high school, she was also a postsecondary student, taking art classes at the University of Minnesota.
For years, she worked for the Guthrie Theater, dressing actors and preparing wigs. She moved to Los Angeles, where she did costume design for a play with Don Cheadle and worked on some UCLA films.
She returned to Minneapolis and eventually became a free-lance makeup artist working on print advertising. She also has done makeup for a few famous faces, including Jane Seymour, Matt Lauer and the Minnesota Twins' Torii Hunter.
Doing makeup came naturally to her, she says, because it is akin to painting. The skin serves as a blank canvas and both arts use brushes and rely on light as a key element.
Though they're in perfect sync at work, Anlauf and Senevisai are political opposites. "I'm 100 percent Republican. I'm as conservative as they come," says Anlauf. Senevisai is a neighborhood activist and runs a T-shirt company on the side for kids and babies. One shirt slogan says: "My first word will be impeach."
Their relationship, however, is anything but acrimonious -- even when they talk politics. Passion understands passion, and these two are as close as friends can be.
At the North American Hairstyling Awards ceremony, Senevisai made her way onto the stage to collect her award -- a handblown, Italian glass sculpture engraved with her name. Even greater than that moment has been the lasting effects the title has had on her career.
"Now it gives people an opportunity to see here's this girl in Minnesota who knows what she's doing. It's exposure I wouldn't otherwise have."
Anlauf agreed. "The biggest thing for me now is that people know that I'm a serious hairdresser," she said. She has more clients and has raised her price from 90 to 110 for a haircut. Soon, she will begin teaching classes for hairstylists through Juut.
In the meantime, she and Senevisai are already hard at work on their entry for next year's competition.