It was a star-studded crowd that filled the La Biosthetique Academy for the Australian F.A.M.E. Team judgement day on February 15th. 11 of Australia’s next generation talents and a judging panel consisting of some of the industry’s biggest names convened for a vigorous competition to decide the final four.

Australian F.A.M.E. Team Finalists and Judges

The 11 finalists consisted of Nephen Pepin, Missy Veyret, Clayton Wheeler, Simone Menenti, Nicole Kae, Jordan Hone, Alex Newman, Chloe Hegan, Luke Harris, Maria Unali and Nadia Semanic, hailing from top salons including Wild Life, é SALON, TONI&GUY, The Murphy Gozzard Hair Community, Chumba Concept Salon, Fruition, Sloans and more. These 11 finalists all represented the future of Australian hairdressing, with the criteria that they had to be under the age of 30.

Australian F.A.M.E. Team Finalists

The esteemed judging panel included Shane Henning, Benni Tognini, Pat Wood, Australian Hairdresser of the Year Frank Apostolopolous, Paul Frasca, 2014 F.A.M.E Team Creative Director Leesa Smith, Australian Hairdressing Council CEO Sandy Chong and INSTYLE’s very own Deputy Editor Lauren King.

Frank Apostolopoulos with finalist Nadia Semanic

The morning began with the introduction of the F.A.M.E. Team’s new Creative Director – Brett McKinnon of the Murphy Gozzard Hair Community, followed by a structural overview of the F.A.M.E. Programme and a message about the importance of teamwork. Then the competition was underway, with the 11 stylists showcasing their creative and technical chops in an intensive skills test. They then presented a pre-done model and underwent a question and answer segment.

Brett McKinnon, Lauren King and Jordan Hone

“Education is a gene that cements success,” said Brett. “The power of F.A.M.E is fuelled by a content rich programme, delivered in very diverse environments, by an incredibly unique pool of talent. By combining mentorship with peer consul over a period of 12 months, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these young people, to join a force that is greater than they will individually ever experience. I am thrilled to be part of this project in 2015.”

Finalist Chloe Hegan

The 4 F.A.M.E. Team members will be announced at the Australian Hair Fashion Awards on March 29th. They will spend the year undergoing group and individual mentoring sessions with local and international figures in education, business and creativity, as well as partake in the Generation Next Show and on the Main Stage at Hair Expo. The appointment also includes an editorial fashion spread, an international tour and the opportunity to present at Salon International in London.

Finalist Clayton Wheeler

With so much on the line the stakes were undoubtedly high.

Good luck to all the finalists.