Beauty Battle Creates Illusions
A battle of fashion that combines performance artistry with cosmetology skill challenged students to discover the unseen.
The popular Killeen ISD Career Center Beauty Battle ended the fall semester for cosmetology students.
This year’s event drew in more students from more areas of study than ever before. For the first time, it was the only beauty battle scheduled for the school year, raising the stakes even higher.
Seniors Kaliyah Young and Andrea Young and junior Melanie Santos took first place in the event conducted December 11 in the wide commons area of Killeen ISD’s career-focused high school.
Second place went to Alexus Dixon, Cassidy David and Kendreonna Kelly with “School Girls” and third place went to Sarina Santos, Sasha Tyler and Alyssa Major with “Greek Statues.”
Working with the theme of “Beauty is an Illusion,” the winning trio created an optical illusion called “Mother Butterfly,” with each student portraying parts of a monarch butterfly, spreading their wings to reveal the full design for the contest judges.
The week after returning from the two-week holiday break, Kaliyah Young acknowledged it was important to her and her regular partner and fellow senior with the same last name to do well.
The Youngs, not related, but close friends, are in their second year in cosmetology. They took part in the two beauty battles last school year and wanted to go out this year with their best effort.
They carefully looked for a partner and went to Santos, a junior that impressed them with her diligence and creative makeup skills.
“She came up with the butterfly idea,” Kaliyah said of the junior.
The three team members divided the roles of costume, makeup and hair and labored for the two weeks leading to the culminating fashion show “battle.”
“That day, Melanie said she couldn’t do it,” Kaliyah said, explaining that the butterfly wings were flapping awkwardly causing a problem while they put the final costume together. The three pulled it together and came up with an impressive display.
“I was surprised,” Santos said. “It took four tries to get it all together and still wasn’t the best, but I’m proud of how it turned out.”
“I liked that the color stood out,” Andrea said, explaining that the outfit featured a dark red progressing to yellow. “We could all do it and make one thing together and form an illusion for the crowd and the judges.”
As always, the beauty battle drew together a cadre of Career Center programs. Students in television and radio broadcasting and digital graphics promoted the event in advance and provided video and broadcast of the show. All 140 cosmetology students participated.
“We walked the stage and then waited for the judges to decide,” Kaliyah said. “When we heard our No. 8 called, we ran up there. We were so happy. I started screaming ‘that’s us, let’s go.’”
“Andrea and I are always together in beauty battle. We had to come up with something. I’m so proud of Melanie. We all won,” the senior said.
The battle, now an annual event, incorporates the students’ knowledge of hair and makeup, but adds other elements of aesthetics. It also challenges students to get on stage in front of a large audience of friends and family members.
“It’s kind of embarrassing, but we want everyone to come,” Kaliyah said. “We want them to see what we’re learning. We’re not going to write an essay about it. We’re going to show this is what we do.”
The temptation for the cosmetology students is to make up a flamboyant costume, but Kaliyah said she has learned to work with the theme. “It was an optical illusion, not just a costume,” something that judges pointed out in critique, she said.
On stage, the students formed a butterfly with the Youngs as each wing and Melanie as the body. “The whole outfit was an illusion with the left wing, right wing and body,” Kaliyah explained.