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Anthony Morrison wins Bravo's 'Shear Genius' reality hairstyling series


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/31/2007 

Anthony Morrison was deemed to be a cut above the rest and therefore crowned the winner of Bravo's Shear Genius during last night's finale of the reality competition series.

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"I'm so happy.  to be Shear Genius... I can't even put it into words.  It means so much," the 40-year-old Hertfordshire, England-native who works at Londoner Salon and Day Spa in Manhattan Beach, CA said  after his Shear Genius win was revealed.

In Shear Genius' finale, Morrison defeated eventual third-place finisher Daisy Duchens, a 31-year-old from Hialeah, FL who works at Miami-based AVEDA concept salon Om Beauty Co.; and second-place finisher Ben Mollin, a 32-year-old from Chicago, IL who works as a freelance stylist with personal clientele.  As the competition's winner, Morrison received the grand prize of $100,000 in seed money from Nexxus; the opportunity to style hair for an Allure magazine photo shoot; and an apprenticeship with Nexxus lead stylist Roy Teeluck.

Shear Genius' finale began with the show's salon manager, accomplished stylist Rene Fris, explaining the final challenge to Morrison, Mollin and Duchens.  The three finalists learned they'd be using all the disciplines of a hairstylist -- cut, color and creativity -- to tell a story through three distinct looks:  "Must Use Color," "The Nancy Kwan," and a "Stylists' Choice."  In addition, the finalists each selected a team of three models and three outfits to design their hairstyles around.  Prior to the beginning of the three-hour final challenge, the three finalists also got to meet world-renowned stylist Vidal Sassoon, who offered some words of wisdom.

With the challenge underway, Morrison expressed his desire to take home the title of Shear Genius.

"I would love to win so much.  It's kind of recognition for all the years I've been in the industry.  I feel I really deserve this," said Morrison, who explained his mother died while giving birth to his younger sister and he moved to America at the age of 24.  "To win it would be the ultimate."

Morrison told the story of "Modern Movement," and described himself as "confident" when time expired.  However the challenge didn't go as smoothly for Mollin and Duchens.  Mollin told the story of "Outer to Inner Beauty," but one of his models had a "completely unfinished" hairstyle.  An unfinished coif also hindered Duchens and her story of "The 'S' Curve."  After saying she was not afraid to "take risks," Duchens attempted pin curls on her final model, marking the first time she ever tried perfecting the hairstyle in her life.  She dropped her bowl of color onto the floor, had two curlers that didn't heat-up in time, and as a result, couldn't finish the pin curl.

"I know I didn't finish.  My pin curls didn't dry in time," explained Duchens.  "My hope is that the judges see that I have the capacity and the vision to do different things... It all boils down to what the judges think."

The final challenge was judged on technical ability, overall creativity, how well the story was told, and how well the hairstyles complimented the outfits and models.  Shear Genius' regular judges Sally Hershberger, an acclaimed hairstylist who owns the New York salon Sally Hershberger Downtown; and Michael Carl, fashion director of Allure magazine, served as judges for the finale, as did Sassoon, who was the special guest judge.  Sassoon was quick to offer praise to Morrison, commenting he displayed a "beautiful exhibition of cutting" and added the "color is excellent."  After reviewing the work of all three finalists, the judges deliberated and Duchens was the first to be sent packing.

"I did everything that I could.  I put every ounce of me into it," said Duchens upon learning she was eliminating.  "I'm always proud of my work.  If I'm not proud of my work, who is going to be?"

With the competition down to Mollin and Morrison, Shear Genius host and former Charlie's Angels television star Jaclyn Smith revealed Morrison was the winner.

"Second place is fantastic," said Mollin.  "I think tomorrow, when I wake-up in Chicago, I think that's when it's going to hit me and I'm just gonna go, 'Ahhhh!'  Just both hands in the air, 'F**k yeah!'"

(Photo credit Bravo/Trae Patton)

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