The second time proved to be a charm for Tiana Whitman at the Skills Canada competition.
In just her second appearance at the national event, the Grade 11 student at the Estevan Comprehensive School captured first place in the secondary hairstyling division. Fresh off winning gold at the provincial competition, Whitman travelled to Edmonton last week and was announced as the winner Wednesday. She also won the best of the region award which went to the person with the highest mark from both the secondary and post-secondary divisions.
Whitman said it was obviously exciting to capture the gold medal but admitted she was surprised to finish first.
"I was more confident this year, than I was last year," she said. "The heads (of her competitors) were messier than last year so I thought I might have a chance but I didn't think I was going to get gold."
The event is a somewhat of a grind for the students as they competed for six hours on each of the two days. During day one, they worked on different types of men's hairstyles while on day two, the focus was on women.
"It was hard on the back and I had sore feet," said Whitman who placed fourth at nationals last year.
Joyce Mack, the hairdressing instructor at the Estevan Comprehensive School, said the men's portion of the competition was broken up into two styles - bombage and progressive.
"The best way I can explain (bombage) is it's like an Elvis hairstyle," she said. "Progressive is a very extreme, colourful, many textures, many lengths (hairstyle). It's something you would see more in Europe.
"For the women, you had ladies' hair where you have long hair and cut it short. You also colour hairpieces in that time. The next test in the afternoon is you have to take that short hair and make it look like long hair by putting hairpieces in."
Whitman said the biggest challenge for her was keeping track of her time. In fact, she noted that the Edmonton competition was the first time she had completed all of her work in the allotted timeframe.
"The week before we were practising and I had never done it in the time limit they had for us," she said. "You have to really watch when you are getting to the end of your time. If you don't have everything finished, you have to completely finish it or if you have hair (undone) you have to cut it off and make it look neat."
Mack said they entered the competition with an idea of how they planned to style the heads assigned to them. She said colour and shapes are two major components for the judges.
"I would say colour is one of the selling points, what you choose for colour. And then it is how you create different shapes and how clean you make it and how accurate you can get it in the time you've got.
"And then there are 20 competitors out there and they are sharing five sinks. So you have to plan when you can get to the sink and do different things at different times which keeps you on time."
Whitman said she plans on defending her title at next year's Skills Canada competition. Despite her success, Whitman doesn't plan on making hairdressing her career as she has aspirations of becoming an electrician.