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Breaking the Rules

Two-time NAHA winner and maverick colorist Adriana Balea sweeps the coveted NAHA 20 Colorist of the Year award.

There’s no doubt about it: Adriana Balea, full-service stylist for Francesca Salon & Spa in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has been on a roll since 2006 when she walked away as the winner of both the Canadian Contessa 17 Makeover Colourist and North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) 17 Colorist of the Year awards. Taking
a break to nurture her clientele and her family, Balea once again entered the most recent Canadian and American competitions. “I was a finalist in the Contessa, but I didn’t win,” laments Balea with her rich Romanian accent, having only immigrated to Canada eight short years ago. “I told my photographer, Babak, ‘No way am I going to enter the NAHAs. I didn’t win in Canada, so how could I possibly win in America?’ But he persisted, even preparing my images for NAHA 20 without my assistance. ‘You’ve got to do this,’ he told me. ‘You can’t quit now.’”

Balea is naturally thrilled that she took Babak’s advice. But sitting in a hushed audience at the star-studded NAHA 20 ceremonies in Las Vegas this past July, Balea admits that she was so certain that she wouldn’t win, that she didn’t have even a brief speech prepared or a list of people to
thank. And when her name was called as the winner, she just sat there, not comprehending that she had won. “It was like I blacked out,” she laughs. “When I finally did go up on stage—something I don’t remember doing—I couldn’t say anything except ‘thanks.’ I left the stage and the presenter called to me and said something like, ‘Come back; you’ve got to say something.’ I couldn’t. If I’d returned, I would’ve died of stage fright and shock!”

[for•mu•la bar]: 

Haircolor: Wella Professionals
Existing Haircolor: Level 3
Prelightener: Blondor + 40-volume developer
Fashion Accent: Koleston Perfect Special Mix, 3 ml 0/68 (violet); Color Touch, 27 ml 0/00 (clear) + 1.9% developer
After Care: Kérastase Reflection Bain Miroir Shampoo and Conditioner; Wella Performance Plus


Photos: Courtesy of PBA;
Photographer: Babak;
Hairstylist/Haircolorist: Adriana Balea