Bigger, better and more explosive than in years past, the 4th Annual NYX FACE Awards rocked Los Angeles’ Club Nokia on Aug. 22, 2015.
3,000 initial entrants, a thousand more than last year, threw their make-up skills into the ring for a chance to be named NYX Cosmetics’ 2015 Beauty Vlogger of the Year. After a grueling series of elimination video rounds that tested both the contestants’ creativity and techniques, the competition was down to six. Elsa Rhae, Glam & Gore (aka Mykie), Lolo Love, Patrick Starrr, Rosy McMichael and FreshBlush (aka Erin Timony) each took the stage to present his or her final video creation for the True Colors theme and learn which would win the top honors.
At stake was a $25,000 prize. But perhaps more importantly, it was the opportunity to take their cosmetic ambitions to the next level.
“The role from the beginning has been to give a voice for these up-and-coming young artists to express themselves. It’s our way to give back to the community of beauty vloggers,” said NYX CEO Scott Friedman. “Each year has grown exponentially—number of votes, number of contestants. It’s been better than we could have imagined.”
Kelly Osbourne hosted the proceedings. Redken, Target, LuLu*s, GHD Professional Haircare, HTC and Audio Network partnered with NYX as official awards sponsors. The panel of judges included Oscar-winning make-up artist Ve Neill, Nylon magazine’s Senior Beauty Editor Jade Taylor, Instagram beauty sensation Vegas Nay and top YouTube Vlogger Grav3yardgirl, aka Bunny Meyer.
Osbourne gave the art of make-up and the six finalists their due. “Do you know what I love most about tonight?” she said later in the evening. “The excitement in the room for each one of these finalists. It just shows the difference that they are making in this world.”
It was a sentiment shared throughout the event by the four judges.
“I have to take my hat off to all of you. I never expected to see this amount of special effects and these ingenious ways of figuring out the different things,” said Neill. “I didn’t know exactly what all this vlogging was about, so I went into all your YouTube channels and started looking around. It really is a great way for you ladies to inspire other girls.”
Finalist Timony came out first, presenting a mesmerizing video that emphasized her struggle to break down the barriers of self-doubt. Her make-up metamorphosis featured her blossoming into a butterfly.
McMichael’s video celebrated the many roles make-up can play in life, starting with a representation of an everyday office professional in a suit, before shifting to everything from a glamor girl to a rocker. She topped it off with a vibrant, colorful transformation into a glittery salsa dancer.
Featuring the most intricate make-up effects of the evening, Lolo Love’s interpretation of the True Colors theme featured the artist turning herself into a dragon. Love indicated that a recent loss of someone close played a big role in her make-up choices.
Neill was particularly impressed with the technique. “You did an amazing job blending the special effects and your beauty make-up,” she told Love. “You can tell from that make-up alone what a great painter you are.”
The make-up veteran then pressed for details. “The scales I made out of clay. Then I individually dipped them in to liquid latex and blow dried them, individually. Then I put gold pigment on them,” Love replied, adding it took her 12 hours to apply the make-up.
Mykie lived up to her Glam & Gore name with a video that featured the artist juxtaposing a glamorous Marilyn Monroe clone and a hideous demon creature. The fact that the demon was both creepy and funny, doing such things as smearing a bloody handprint into a mirror and shoving her head into a cake, made her a judges’ favorite.
“I’ve got to tell you that is probably the most entertaining video of the night,” said Neill.
For her video, Rhae paid tribute to her home state of Kansas, playing off its fame as the Sunflower state by covering herself with intricate sunflower make-up.
The evening’s final—and only male—participant, Patrick Starrr chose to emphasize his vulnerability and the fear that faces a man who uses make-up to find the beauty in himself. “I feel so proud that I, Patrick Starrr, as a boy, as a son, as a friend can make it this far with such a big platform as the NYX FACE Awards. That I can share that it’s okay to be you. It’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to be fierce.”
As the Club Nokia audience enjoyed a performance by dance troupe Maker Empire, the judges were offstage making their decision. At the same time, more than two million viewers worldwide were casting their votes online. In addition to the cash prize, the Vlogger of the Year receives consultations with pro make-up artists and a year’s supply of NYX Cosmetics. Each runner-up received a check for $10,000.
When the moment of truth arrived, each contestant was honored in the individual categories. Rhae won the Composition Award, Love – Technique, Timony – Innovation, Starrr – Kinetic, McMichael – Illuminative and Glam & Gore – Dynamic.
With Emcee Charisma Star needing both hands to hold up the giant trophy, Osbourne announced that Mykie was the NYX 2015 Beauty Vlogger of the Year.
“I’m sure it’s just a dream and I’m going to wake up tomorrow and just there’s no way,” Mykie told Make-Up Artist magazine directly following the event, admitting it still hadn’t quite sunk in. “It doesn’t seem like I deserved it more than anyone else.”
Mykie credits her fans for inspiring the idea for her winning video. “I went through a bunch of other options. At first, they were a lot more serious,” she continued. “But then I realized that none of them really fit my channel well. I really wanted the fans that have gotten me to this point to feel that they put me here for a reason. And that I showed them something that was 100% glam/gore.”
Mykie’s ultimate goal is to put her glam and gore talents to use in film and television. “I want to be able to make custom prosthetics for the full body. I want to create entire creatures,” she said. “I want to continue to reach out to an audience and say, ‘It’s okay to be a girl and to love effects make-up. You can love beauty. You can love the gore. That’s cool.’”
Watch the video below for the complete 2015 NYX FACE Awards.