Unmasking the beauty queens

An initial description of the scene would read — especially at this time of year as we celebrate the macabre — like the climax of a horror film. Disembodied heads are scattered around a room, some gently cradled in the laps of the living around them, some wrapped up in suffocating plastic bags or mounted on clamps and tripods displayed like the slain enemies of a medieval lord. Their lifeless eyes staring out from their cold, motionless heads. Around them practitioners unsheathe sharp tools and scalding irons, preparing to go to work.

But this scene isn’t from a scary story. The heads are mannequin heads. They are instruments of art used by people attending the Cosmetology Educators of America convention at the Planet Hollywood Resort in July. Flowing from each head is long, straight voluptuous hair ready to be sprayed, curled and pinned by educators learning techniques in a class called “Making of a Beauty Queen.”