Not only did a Central Alberta hairstylist represent Canada in the world’s biggest beauty competition – she placed in the top 10 in one of the categories.
Lee Cenaiko was the only one to represent Canada in two hairdressing categories at the OMC World Cup this year: Prestige Bridal and Prestige Gala.
The Olds hairstylist placed ninth in the bridal and 13th in gala in Paris in September.
She put Canada on the map in the bridal-style category, which is often dominated by Eastern European countries.
“Last year, the Russians and Ukrainians took first, second and third,” said Cenaiko.
“This year, the Ukrainians took first and Russians took second and third, and it’s all these Eastern Bloc countries – Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – were ahead of me. And then it was Canada, and then there was Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Hungary after.
“It was just like – there’s Canada nestled in amongst it,” she said.
In the past, Cenaiko has taken part in hairstyling competitions within Canada. This was her first time representing Canada and not just her Olds salon, Zebedeez Hair Design Is An ART. That realization, she said, was overwhelming.
“There’s bigger weight to it, there’s people everywhere, amazing artists all over the place … There was a moment when I hesitated, and I went ‘this is it. I’m representing Canada, not just the salon.’
“I had to draw my thoughts back to focus on what I was doing instead … I had to just stay focused to do my best.”
Kelly Kalmbach, Canadian team manager, said about 50 countries took part in the OMC World Cup competition this year.
She said five other Canadians took part in Progressive CutAvant Garde – a progressive, edgy hairstyling category. The accumulated scores of the five made them the winners of the American zone.
“Then the three top scoring of the five scores were accumulated, and they then overall, as a team, placed second in the world.”
The stakes are high and only the best artists are able to make it at the international level, Kalmbach, based in Barrhead said.
“Their skill is world calibre, to practice, to train, to become this level, to become a champion, to become top 10, your work ethic, your skills, your ability as a hairstylist behind the chair has to be bar-none the highest.”
Speaking of Cenaiko’s achievement, Kalmbach said Central Alberta “should be elated that we have somebody with such talent.”
Cenaiko is the first Canadian to add hair weaving to the bridal category, Kalmbach said.
Cenaiko said weaving is her signature – something she has perfected over time. Her bridal look in Paris included a weave and a figure eight on top, a chignon in the back, with curls. The bridal look came together in 30 minutes, as per the rules.
The Prestige Gala category comes with fewer restrictions, Cenaiko said. There’s no time limit and hairstylists can include hair pieces and ornaments to the look.