25 June 2022

Confessions of a Miss Universe Hairstylist

The 63rd annual Miss Universe Competition contestants brought beautiful women from across the globe under one roof to Doral, Miami last Sunday night. The pageant drew in more than 7.6 million viewers, making it the most watched since 2006. 

Little do most people know the magic that goes behind making these women look amazing as they hit the stage for this live televised show.  Let’s think about the amount of minutes the competition goes to commercial and then try and picture that short amount of time making a transition into a next segment. Not often enough do we get to hear from the people backstage that make these ladies completely flawless. 

Thanks to Farouk Systems and the Miss Universe Competition we got to catch up with a few of the hairstylists that put in the work to give these contestants the extra confidence they need to impress the judges with the “CHI Miss Universe Style Illuminate Styling Line.” There, members of the international press and other guests got the opportunity to get the royal treatment. The experienced stylists personalized the products and styles for each guest via selection of choices in a style menu which included anything from sophisticated curls. Estetica Magazine was able to get the scoop on how it feels to be a hairstylist at the competition and some juicy behind the scene details on exactly what happens behind the scenes!

From a balcony overlooking the Miss Universe stage where contestants were practicing there the four hairstylists stood. Busy at work in each of the guests hair and ready to answer any questions anyone had. We were interested to find out first, why the CHI brand was chosen as the leading product to help style the contestants hair at the competition. According to Efrain Leiva who has been working with CHI and the Miss Universe Competition for the last six years says, “this is the 10th year that CHI has been a sponsor for the Miss Universe Competition.” Esther Hopstaken who this is the second year for her working with the pageant says, “CHI maximizes the girls look for the pageant, it gives them the ultimate shine.” Julian Macias who has been with the competition since 2007 says, “it effectively helps to style and restyle the ladies hair.” Albert Luiz who has been working with the Miss Universe competition since 1993 describes CHI as the perfect product because “it works for women all around the world, of different ethnicities.” As we spoke to each hairstylist it was evident that they all believed in the product and were excited to be a part of the competition. 

We were then curious to find out how crazy it gets behind the scenes the day of the 3-4 hour show. According to Efrain, “there are eighty nine girls and fifteen hairstylists. It’s actually crazy because we as stylists are under a lot of pressure. Eighty nine girls are the most I’ve seen in my six years and their are only fifteen of us and we have to finish their hair in a certain amount of time. Sometimes there are 2 to 3 hairstylist working on one head, depending on what we are doing. Once the finalists are selected though, other stylists can help one another.” Albert said, “between preliminary night and final competition it really gets hectic. Some contestants bring books, other girls bring certain styles and other girls have no idea of what they want. There have been other years where girls may have doubt and change their minds on a certain style.” The stylists do make recommendations but as Albert says, “ultimately they make the decision, it is their night.” Esther says, “the beauty of the CHI product is once the curling of the hair is done, to change the looks it makes the transition of segments easier.” Julian says, “we have to trust in our products to get the job done. Like I love my Titanium Curling Iron and the Blow Dry Spray serves as the primer.”

Like we’ve mentioned before all of the stylists were excited to take part in the competition. Albert says, “I’m hispanic. So beauty competitions are right up there with the Olympics, The Super Bowl and the World Cup. We would watch Miss USA and Miss Universe every year in my family.”  While Esther describes being chosen to take part as “the cherry on the cake, it’s like another world. It’s fun to be here.” 

Beyond the competition the stylists have been able to work with some of the past contestants on other projects. For the actual show on Sunday night an expert panel from CHI was able to chose the award for Miss Photogenic Universe, where Ms. Puerto Rico, Gabriela Berrios reined supreme.  What was evident in each hairstylists whether they took part in the competition for either a long period or a short period of time was their passion and excitement to achieve the CHI and Miss Universe goal of ensuring each contestant had that extra boost of confidence to win.

By Diana Dias / Photos: CHI



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