Oh, what a night! We are still reliving all the magic from the industry’s night of nights, the Hair Expo Awards, held in Melbourne this year.
With everyone still buzzing from the gala entertainment (burlesque show, anyone?) and the 2018 winners freshly crowned, we decided to check in with Head Judge and Awards Ambassador, Julie Piantadosi, to get the inside word on the awards process and how she’s feeling about her first year in the role.
Julie, you’re well known for your coaching roles and motivational speaking. What made you decide to take on the Head Judge role for the Hair Expo Awards this year?
My reputation has been my secret weapon for my business success and I’ll only ever work with a company who shares the same sets of values and beliefs that I do. This is why I chose to take on this honourable role.
Can you tell us a bit about what your role actually involves? What kind of authority do you have as Head Judge?
I oversee the entire process! Every decision that was made with regard to judging and submissions came through me, and my decision was FINAL.
What about the judging? How does it work?
We had two rounds of judging; the first round was completely anonymous for our judges for all CREATIVE categories. Our judges scored all entries based on the entrants’ creative photographic collection and no judge knew whose images they were scoring! We call this blind judging.
Judges also assessed the four business categories in the first round – these weren’t anonymous due to the nature of the entries where entrants must be able to talk about their achievements and the successes of their businesses.
Following the finalist announcement on 30 April, the second round of judging involved the written submissions scoring for CREATIVE category finalists. Each category was broken up into a series of qualifying questions and given scores for each. It’s a mammoth task for our judges who match qualifying criteria with the appropriate score for each question.
Who sits on the panel? And who judges what?
We had 10 local judges and 10 international judges; I also personally introduced three business judges to score the second-round written business submissions and the business categories.
The judges I chose excel in leadership, customer service experience and entrepreneurship. They are leaders in their fields and one is an award-winning business-owner, while the others hold roles at Qantas and ANZ Bank.
The written submissions of the finalists for Australian Hairdresser of the Year and New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year were judged only by these three business judges and our stellar panel of 10 international judges.
We also recuse judges from entire categories if they are an entrant in that category or are in any way involved with an entrant or their entry.
At the end of second round, the scores from round one and round two are combined with an equal weighting for creative categories, giving us the overall winners.
I watched the entire process on my personal computer, and see every judge scoring and commenting! I watched the leaderboard for both the finalists and winners unfold – it was simply mesmerising.
So, now that you’ve had a chance to sit in on the Hair Expo Awards, do you have any feedback for our entrants or judges?
I’ve been completely blown away with the positive feedback from the entrants and judges, making this really an epic year for Hair Expo!
I want to personally thank every single entrant for believing in themselves enough to find the courage and time to enter – I am so very proud of every one of you. I’d also like to thank my amazing line up of judges – words simply can’t express my love and respect for you all- I appreciate you all so very much.
If you’re still wondering about any aspects of these prestigious Hair Expo Awards, just ask me – we are an open book. And for anyone thinking about entering awards next year, these are the ones to enter!
Yes, I’m here to stay so let’s BRING ON 2019!