Laura Sanchez_NYX FACE Awards
NYX FACE Awards 2016 Winner Laura Sanchez

NYX Cosmetics named Laura Sanchez the Beauty Vlogger of the Year at the 5th Annual NYX FACE Awards Live Event, held Aug. 20 at The Novo by Microsoft in Los Angeles.

This year’s edition of the NYX FACE Awards began this spring with a series of themed video make-up challenges (including Anime, Fairy Tale and Optical Illusion) for beauty vloggers to meet; viewers chose their favorite entries. Over nearly five months, thousands of award entries from 16 different countries were whittled down to a final 30, 20, 12 and then six before the live event. Sanchez competed live against Brianna Fox, Alexa Poletti, Kristi (RawBeautyKristi), Haley Wight (CosmoByHaley) and Fernanda Machado (Pompberry).

Laura Sanchez_NYX FACE Awards
Laura Sanchez reacts as she is named Beauty Vlogger of the Year

Contestants—working from the theme “Emotions”—collaborated with Vice Media at the event to produce a video featuring beauty looks they had created. The unveiling of each video onstage drew cheers from adoring fans. All the contestants wowed the crowd with their colorful designs and skilled artistry, but with her mesmerizing final work and catalog of looks she created throughout the competition, Sanchez ultimately secured the title: a $50,000 prize and a years’ supply of NYX Cosmetics products.

Contestants made it clear that self-confidence was an important part of their make-up work. Kristi of the channel RawBeautyKristi drove that point home when she spoke about beauty faux pas on the NYX pink carpet. The 28-year-old finalist said, “There are so many restrictions saying, ‘You can’t do this or you can’t do that,’ but you know what, who cares? If it makes you feel beautiful, remember it washes off at the end of the day and even if it’s not considered the ‘correct’ way, it’s fine.”

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Host Kandee Johnson speaks onstage during the 5th Annual NYX FACE Awards
2016 NYX FACE Awards
Crowd

Kandee Johnson, a make-up artist to the stars and famous YouTube vlogger herself, hosted the live event bringing her charming and hilarious personality out to play. “I think so many people whether it’s YouTubers or in real life are afraid to do things because of other people’s opinions but don’t think about that,” Johnson encouraged the crowd. “Are you going to sit in your house and do nothing or are you going to go out and make something. There’s always going to be someone like, ‘I don’t like that…I hate your voice’ but don’t listen to that. Just block and delete, block and delete.”

Megan McIntyre, beauty director of Refinery29, served as a judge for the show alongside Nylon Editor in Chief Melissa Giannini, YouTube sensation Ingrid Nilsen and Oscar-winning make-up artist Ve Neill.

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FROM LEFT: Judges Megan McIntyre, Melissa Giannini, Ingrid Nilsen and Ve Neill

McIntyre praised the thousands who entered for putting their insecurities, talents and personalities on the line during this competition. She referred to the beauty vlogger phenomenon as a movement within the beauty industry: “Make-up is no longer to fix a flaw or to hide something, make-up is a way to express yourself, to show your interests. Make-up is a way to get creative and confident.”

The five runners-up each received $15,000; all the finalists were ecstatic and said they couldn’t wait to experience the career opportunities that the competition would bring. Sanchez planned to focus on her 840,000 YouTube subscribers and 562,000 Instagram followers once the competition was over.

“We just want girls to feel comfortable in their own skin no matter what they like or what makes them happy,” she said.

You can find the winning videos and entries throughout the competition on the NYX Face Award’s Video Entries Feed.