CATA Cosmetology students heading to competition at Premiere Birmingham show

Savannah Sivley and Elyse Koloski turn Aaliyah Daugherty into a “nymph forest fairy” during an in-house competition at the Cullman Area Technology Academy ahead of this weekend’s Premiere beauty show in Birmingham. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Students in the Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA) Cosmetology department on Tuesday spent time taking part in teacher Tasha Flanigan’s annual fantasy hair and makeup competition. Mannequin heads covered shelves and chair backs, made up as fairies, elves, witches, unicorns and any number of other things the students wanted to attempt under the theme “fairy tales.”

Flannigan told The Tribune, “It gives them a chance to be very creative. A lot of them don’t know what they can do until they’re pretty much in a position where they have to do it.”

Firstyear cosmetology student Mollie Hall said about being new to the program, “Sometimes it’s really stressful, because it’s just a lot of things thrown at you. But if it’s something you love, then it makes it fun and not as stressful as it could be.”

Despite the pressure, Hall said she would advise upcoming students considering the program, “Go for it, because in the long run, it can benefit you a lot.”

Tapanga Needham, also a newbie, called the competition “nerve wracking, but it’s fun!”

Two students, though, had a live mannequin in their shared chair, with eyes on a bigger prize. Elyse Koloski and Savannah Sivley, along with model Aaliyah Daugherty, were creating what Flannigan called a “nymph forest fairy” as practice for a student competition with the same fairy tale theme at the Premiere Birmingham regional beauty trade show at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex this Monday. The student contest rules, from the Premiere website, are short and simple: “Create an elevated avant-garde hair and makeup look depicting a fairytale creature including but not limited to: Unicorns, mermaids, fairies and witches.”

Sivley, a veteran of student competitions, told The Tribune that going to such events “means a lot to me, because I know this won’t last forever. So I’m enjoying it while I’m here.”

Koloski, who is entering her first competition, enjoys the creative aspects of a fantasy competition, saying, “Every time I get an option to give an idea out, I give it out or something. If something’s looking a little plain or a little too much, I’ll give the idea out. I’m just very crafty in general.”

About her first competition, Koloski said, “I’m excited, but I’m also nervous, because it’s the first of many.”

Both admit to being competitive and are looking forward to Birmingham.

Model Daugherty had to sit quietly through hair teasing, painting and the gluing on of natural materials–some picked up right on CATA’s campus–to her hands, feet and face.

She told The Tribune, “It’s really fun. I get to sit here and watch these girls work very, very hard doing something they’ve never done before.”

The Premiere Birmingham beauty show is Sunday and Monday, Oct. 20-21, with student competition on the 21st. The Tribune will follow the students and let you know how they did.

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Elyse Koloski and Savannah Sivley’s practice run on Aaliyah Daugherty nears completion Tuesday afternoon. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

W.C. Mann