You know the competition is fierce when judges can’t pick just one winner. At the American Crew 2019 All-Star Challenge, Blade Pullman from Australia and U.S.-based Emma Jankowski showed off skills that garnered them the first-ever tie in the history of the contest. “This year’s event not only marked American Crew’s 25th anniversary, but also the first time the judging panel couldn’t decide on just one winner,” says Gillian Gorman Round, global general manager of American Crew. “The two winning styles from Blade and Emma were so different but struck a unique balance, showcasing what we saw as the heritage, present and future of the American Crew man.”
Pullman and Jankowski competed alongside 14 other stylists, selected from a pool of thousands. American Crew photographers, including the brand’s founder, David Raccuglia, shot the contestants’ final looks at MILK Studios in Manhattan, New York, over a two-day period. The winners were selected via a blind judging system, with their submitted photos ranked on a point scale to reflect creativity, technical ability and overall portrayal of the American Crew brand.
“It feels surreal to win this competition,” notes Jankowski, who prepared for the challenge by cutting hair daily and “going with her gut.” “It’s amazing, it’s ridiculous and it’s indescribable,” adds Pullman. “Take the chance and do it,” both winners echo, speaking to any potential applicants for the 2020 challenge.
Pullman and Jankowski each received a prize of $10,000, an American Crew All-Star Challenge global champion trophy, an invitation to become judges for the 2020 All-Star Challenge, a full scholarship to the new American Crew education program, and more.
The brand’s global artistic director, Paul Wilson, notes that in addition to being a historic competition, 2019 is a pivotal year for the brand. With 25 years behind it, American Crew is looking forward to the future. “When I think about the next 25 years for American Crew, it’s just getting more exciting,” he thrills. “Men are getting more engaged and experimental; you’ve got every hairdresser and barber in the world fully on board to take men’s grooming to the next level.”
[Images: Courtesy of American Crew]
This story first appeared in the Fall issue of MAN magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.