Hairstyling grad and prof make the cut at 2017 Contessa Awards


Hairstyling professors Kris Weaver, Joe Abbruscato, Julia Falvo and Marilyn Vendittelli strike a pose at the Contessa Awards.

Hairstyling grad Miseo Kim wins the covenant trophy and Student/Apprentice Award at the Contessa Awards.

Hairstyling grad Miseo Kim wins the covenant trophy and Student/Apprentice Award at the Contessa Awards.

Niagara College’s Hairstyling program was well represented with two award winners at the 2017 Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards – known as the ‘Contessas.’

Sponsored by Salon magazine, the Contessas are the gold standard in Canadian beauty awards which have been bringing the best of Canada’s talent together to measure their creativity in a photo-based competition since 1988. The winners were announced at an event November 6 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

NC Hairstyling Techniques and Apprenticeship coordinator Joseph Abbruscato, who called the Contessas “the Oscars” of the hairstyling industry, was proud of recent graduate Minseo Kim and professor Marilyn Vendittelli who won awards at the event

Kim won the Student/Apprentice award and took home the covenant trophy from the event, where she competed against contestants from across Canada. Before she graduated from NC in 2015, Kim competed in the Ontario Skills competition in Waterloo where she won a silver medal. She is currently working as an apprentice in the Toronto’s Yorkville salon, Taz Hair Co.

“Whenever we put students through the program, they take a piece of us with them. I’m a strong believer in competitions and when one of our own does well, it’s like we as educators also succeeded,” said Abbruscato. “We introduce our students to the world of competition through assignments within our program and through Skills competitions. I like to think of what we do here at Niagara as the platform for them to jump … sky’s the limit!”

Faculty member Vendittelli, who a placed among the top 10 in the country, is the defending champion in the Session Hairstylist category, where hairstylists create looks with an editorial or commercial feel and would likely appear in or on fashion magazines, fashion runways, television or film. Entries were judged on a combination of hair, makeup and fashion according to editorial and commercial appeal.

“This is a great honour to even have your work recognized across the country. We are so proud to have her on staff,” said Abbruscato. “She brings professionalism, creativity and an award-winning resume to our program.”
Vendittelli and her husband David also recently opened a salon in St. Catharines, Industry Hair, with her husband David.
For info about the awards visit

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