We spoke with Ana Mae Villagracia from Toronto, who took home the Fan Favourite of the Year award at the 32nd annual Contessa Awards.
Congratulations again on being the fan favourite winner! How did you feel when you heard your name?
It was very exciting, and I had mixed emotions. You don’t know if you want to scream or run – you don’t know what to do because you’re just shocked.
How are you feeling now that it has sunk in?
It’s crazy because you’re wanting it and thinking about it for a very long time. All the hard work that you put into the collection—all the hours that I practiced and all the hours I put into my look—it just all paid off. I feel very humbled and grateful for the experience. It’s something that I could put on my resume and always use for the future now that it’s under my belt.
This is your first time ever entering in the Contessas and you not only placed as a finalist but won! What is that feeling like?
It’s just crazy. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s something I can always use for the future—that I won one of my first Contessas ever!
Your collection was amazing! Besides 90s fashion, what are your inspirations? What types of techniques and colours do you like to work with?
Everything inspires me every day. It could be art; it could be fashion. I could be just walking down the street and see a cool pattern or something. In terms of colours, I love bright and bold shades. I’m a trendy person, so in terms of techniques, I just follow the trends for the year and what’s relevant.
Was this shoot done during COVID or was it one you had done previously?
It was very last minute! I did the looks during the night and we shot them and sent them in the next day. I bet some people didn’t compete this year because of COVID, so I know if people had more opportunities with more photo shoots there would be more entries. I think [competitions are] a great way to stay modern and to always know what’s happening and trending in the beauty industry. They’re a great way to get more experience.
What has this year been like for you?
Unpredictable. I definitely had to adapt to COVID but I’m kind of glad that we’ve gone through what we have gone through. If it happens again or if we have to shut down again, at least we know what we’re going through and what to expect. It’s something we don’t really have to worry about anymore, in terms of how to handle it and the precautions and stuff. In a way, I’m glad that it happened.
It was very interesting because you don’t think, especially doing nails, that you would be working from home. Our boss paid us the whole time we were off and made sure we were still working in some way. We were working with social media, doing training, learning and we did classes with each other, so I felt good in that sense.
What does it mean to you to end off the year with a win like this?
It’s really good because of COVID, there was just nothing to look forward to so this was something to look forward to for me. And I’ll be able to look back and say “Oh COVID happened that year bit I won a fan favourite award.” It doesn’t hurt to try it once—to enter the Contessas. You know it’s hard but it’s going to be worth it.
Name/Nom: Ana Mae Villagracia
Category/Catégorie: Fan Favourite of the Year | Prix du Public
Salon: Tips Nail Bar, Toronto
Photos: Ana Mae Villagracia