The 1960s may have been the era of big hair, but one local stylist team is ready to bring it into the 21st century.
And that team is family — like father and daughter family.
Ben De Cordova and his daughter Portia will be on their way to Las Vegas in October to compete in the Battle of the Strands. The career hairstylist and the young up-and-coming makeup artist will join another daughter, Chris, to compete against some of the best artists in this hemisphere.
And all of them will vie for more than $100,000 in prizes.
“It’s in the avant-garde realm, but it goes a little bit beyond that,” Ben De Cordova said. “All of this takes you out of your element, out of your comfort zone, and more into a different artist mode. You have to be ready for anything.”
De Cordova comes from a long line of those involved in hair. In fact, he’s fourth generation, and many of his siblings and relatives are also involved in the industry.
“We were all raised doing hair,” he said, noting that his mother was a hairstylist. “There were a lot of things that were instilled in us from the beginning of our lives.”
De Cordova has been doing hair for more than 30 years, originally working with famous names in Hollywood, by his account, and then moving to Florida nearly two decades ago.
Right now, De Cordova can be found at Hair, a salon located on North Dale Mabry Highway near the intersection of Van Dyke Road. But soon, he hopes to open a new salon, which he’ll call Art of Hair by De Cordova. And he’ll hopefully enlist the help of his 22-year-old daughter, Portia, as well.
“Everyone would love to pick up a huge job, but I’m not reaching for that right away,” Portia De Cordova said. “I want as much schooling and as many different opportunities as I can find to help build my resume. Once I do that, then I know I’m ready to go after those huge jobs.”
Winning the Battle of the Strands would be a great addition to anyone’s resume, she said. And they’ll have to do it by working quickly, strongly, and creatively.
The De Cordovas earned the spot in the Las Vegas competition by winning a qualifying round in Orlando in June. Using a wire framework, they were able to create hair that resembled waves of an ocean, and even the mast of a ship. It took the both of them to place the work of art on top of their model’s head, and both held their breath as the model moved slowly down the runway.
Chances are, they will have to create something similar in Las Vegas. But with so much prize money and prestige at stake, there’s no telling what the judges will ask for once they arrive.
“You are working with a bunch of talented people,” Portia De Cordova said. “These are not the average hairdressers. These are not your average makeup artists or wardrobe creators, either. This is a completely new level.”
Competing teams will come from New York, California, Panama, Puerto Rico and more. They will face judges that include the editor-in-chief of the beauty magazine American Salon, Kelley Donahue, as well as popular YouTube stylist Kandee Johnson, who has racked up nearly 200 million page views in her time online.
“It’s not just building something,” Ben De Cordova said, “it’s creating something. You have to make it stand out. You have to make it form something extraordinary. You have to make a big difference.”
To follow the De Cordovas’ journey to and at the Battle of the Strands in Las Vegas, visit them at www.SalonDeCordova.com.