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From Horror Show to Awards Show: Germantown Woman Wins Worldwide Hair Stylist Award

It started with a horror show. There were freaks in the forest running around with weapons scaring people. It was horrifying, and Madison Pizer was in the thick of it. She knew who the monsters in the woods were; she knew when they would strike.

She did their makeup.

Last month, 23-year-old Madison Pizer won the Student of Year Award at the biggest trade show for hair stylists in the world, but her journey to hair stylist stardom started in the woods in Dickerson “styling” the monsters and scary denizens of Markoff’s Haunted Forest.

“I got into the hair business because I started doing special effects makeup for Markoff’s Haunted Forest. I got into that and wanted to be licensed in hair and makeup, and that is why I enrolled in Hair school.”

Pizer, who grew up in Germantown and attended Poolesville High School, is currently a student at The TEMPLE: A Paul Mitchell Partner Cosmetology School in Frederick, and last month she won the HotShot Student Award at the annual Behind the Chair Hair Awards held at the JW Marriot in San Antonio.

Behind the Chair is one of the largest publications for hair stylists in the country and they produce a trade show every year and part of that is an awards ceremony for hair stylists with numerous different categories. To enter the contest, hair stylists post photos of their work on Instagram using specific hashtags. Pizer’s hashtag was #BTCOneShotStudent2018.

“I entered my photo in March and found out in August that I had made the cut of top 25, from more than 300,000 entries from more than 80 countries,” she said. “The staff of judges from Behind the Chair picked the finalists. In my category, 25 people were nominated.” Once the 25 finalists were announced the vote goes to the public, and the winner is determined by whoever gets the most votes from the public.

“I honestly did not think I was going to win. I was so excited to be nominated at all. Behind the Chair is a really big deal for hair stylists,” said Pizer. “Most of the people that get nominated for the Behind the Chair Show are extremely popular, well know hair stylists who have been around for a while. As a student, it was kind of daunting being on the stage with so many great artists. I was just very grateful to be nominated at all.”

Pizer’s winning entry was a vivid rainbow hairstyle which required days to create using her friend and model, Alaena Bowman, who is from Poolesville.

“Alaena has very long hair,” explained Pizer. “She has a ton of hair it took hours to do that hairstyle. First, we had to bleach her entire head with lightener which took a couple of hours, and then we wash it out and go through with the vivid color applications which takes a few more hours to meld it properly and let it sit and rinse that out.”

“We usually do the styling sessions, where we will take photos, on a separate day because it takes so long to do her hair. That styling portion of the process was really pretty easy and quick. It was a simple bun, and we blow-dried her hair to get it straight, and silky and shiny. Finally, we put it in an interesting bun,” said Pizer.

“When I was at the awards show, and the announced that I was in the top five, I was tearing up because I knew I was up against such great work from the other hair stylists and the entries were very diverse,” she said. “When they announced my name, it was full on tears, and I was dumbfounded. My heart was pounding getting to speak to 3,000 hair stylists in that room, many of which I look up to daily at school. These are people I aspire to be like as a professional. It was a really cool moment for me.”

Pizer, whose Instagram handle is @eclecticmadness, is planning to graduate in October and is weighing her options as to where her career will take her. “While I am still in school, I can’t do hair outside of school unless it is supervised. I am currently trying to figure out where I will be working after graduation. I have my eye on a couple of salons in the area. I am looking for a place where I can grow as an artist.”

“Social media has completely changed the game of hairdressing,” said Pizer who has used the social media to become a star in the profession even as a student. “It allows clients to find stylists. It allows the stylist to share and inspire others with new styles and techniques. I have had clients come into the school and ask for me to do their hair based on something they found on my Instagram feed. It has allowed and required the hairdressers to step up their game both in terms of skill and marketing.”

She said using social media accounts allows hair professionals to can keep up with the trends much quicker, and it allows clients to do the same thing. “It has also helped the industry because clients come back faster because they will see a new style that they might want. Social media has empowered stylists so much more to go after bigger aspirations and bigger dreams because they can see other people doing it and know that is attainable.”

Madison Pizer’s win as Student of the Year is a testament to what is attainable through dedication to the craft and social media and a little bit of a horror show.


Top: Madison Pizer accepts her Student of the Year Award at the Behind the Chair professional hair stylists’ trade show held in August in San Antonio.

Next: Prism Power, the hairstyle which earned Pizer the award in a worldwide vote on Instagram at the 4th Annual OneShot Hair Awards.

Next: Pizer and hair model Alaena Bowman in a behind the scenes photo during the photo shoot while for the award-winning hairstyle.

Photos by courtesy Behind the Chair and Madison Pizer @electicmadness

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