Fashion Beauty Battle

By: Todd Martin
Imaginative, artistic fashions mark a growing tradition at the Killeen ISD Career Center – the Beauty Battle.

Following a “steampunk” theme, the school’s junior and senior cosmetology students presented a semester culminating fashion show Friday with 32 groups showing off their extravagant fashion sense.

Working in groups of three students each, the cosmetology students took three weeks to design hair, makeup and recycled clothing to present on a runway set up in the broad commons area of the school.

Career Center cosmetology teachers LaMisha Stinson, Shanna Casey and Linwood Darkis said the show, a twice-a-year event the past four years, has grown from a small affair for parents to a campus-wide event.

Last week’s Steampunk Beauty Battle included Career Center photography, audio visual, radio broadcasting and marketing students in the preparation and presentation of the event.


In the end, the top prize went to seniors Thai Dixon, Lyla Galarza and Kaitlyn Poppe for a look modeled after Tinker Bell.

“We wanted to stick with the steampunk era, but make it original and we thought about Tinker Bell because she is a tinker fairy who works with her hands,” Galarza explained. “We wanted to make her grungy with a post apocalyptic look.”

While all three collaborated on all aspects of the design, Dixon focused on the hair. “We wanted the hair to be put together, while at the same time messy and big,” she said. They used Dutch and French braids, a fishtail, green tips and chains.

The two main designers said they were most proud of the fact that they barely spent any money, mainly using their own hands to put together the fairy wings, earrings, boots, gears and other accents. “The most satisfying part is that we spent almost no money,” Dixon said.

“What I like is how the final product came together and how we brought together the community,” Dixon said.

“All the hard work comes together,” Galarza said. “It came together perfectly. There were so many amazing projects.”

Second place went to the team of Lindsey Bentley, Diana Narvaez and Aaric Giddis. Third place went to Andrea Ortiz, Briana Delgado and Veronica Vasquez.


After four hours or more in the school’s salon, the students-turned fashion designers and models posed for studio portraits and then made their way to the stage.

Darkis thanked the audience and judges for their support and explained the purpose of the event to allow students to explore their creativity. Stinson introduced each model, describing the look each presented.

The steampunk theme, she explained, takes elements from industry and creates a fashion genre using gears, metal and clocks among other pieces.

The students used their skills with hair and makeup and added the unusual imaginative fashion accents. They combed through thrift stores and made their own items to create the industrial theme.

“They learn teamwork and communication skills,” Casey said as the students prepared for the spring show.

“They find that some are stronger in different skills and they get to see how others do it. It’s lots of preparation time. They work on this continually for three weeks,” she said.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase their skills,” Darkis said. “They get to explore the more creative aspect of the field. It tests their limitations.”

Joan Pizarro-Ruiz, a senior and president of the Skills USA chapter, took part in the Beauty Battle for the fourth time, her last before graduating from high school this month.

“It’s stressful putting it all together,” she said. “At the end, we come together, look great and we have fun.”

She agreed with her teachers that the show challenged students’ communication abilities and said that her fourth time around she was determined to not get stressed out, but to enjoy the event.

“I get nervous, anxious when I’m out there, but it’s a good experience,” Pizarro-Ruiz said. “We see a lot of imagination and creativity.”

“We learned that you can’t do it by yourself,” said Galarza. “There is a camaraderie with your team.”