Though it is less than gracious for contest winners to be so openly criticized, it is blatently clear that many of you feel you need explanation of why this particular entry was chosen as the winner of this week's contest. Since many of those being the most vocal on this issue are new users to the forum, let me fill you in on the contest particulars.
This contest is something Marlena chooses to host out of the kindness of her own heart and love for the community that has been forged on the Makeup Geek Forums. Recognizing that we have a wide range of skill levels competing, including both professionals and non-professionals at an extremely high skill level, the decision was made to award a prize to one entry based on skill and another randomly chosen entry. This gives all who enter an equal chance to win. Eliminating this random winner in favor of a separate "amateur" category would likely decrease chances of winning, since we have many users who have professional level skills but do not work as a makeup artists. Additionally, there is nothing that we could legally require as proof of entry that would ensure that those that say they're amateurs truly are.
Many forum users have pointed out that Azin's makeup is far beyond the skill level of most entries. However, if you look through the "Show Your Face" forum and previous contest entries, you will see that we have many users on this forum (both professional and amatuer) who are at a very high level. To suggest that this one entry was far and beyond the skill level of others on the forum is not only inaccurate, but offensive to other artists.
Second, weekly challenges are a contest of SKILL. I was asked to help with judging because I, like Marlena, am a professional makeup artist and am able to use my education to evaluate the entries on that level. Since many you have stated that the winning entry was a level above other entries, then it should be obvious that that is exactly why she won
I've read posts that seem to suggest that as judges, we should essentially "throw a bone" occasionally and choose an entry at a lower skill level as winner. This is not only contrary to the idea of the contest, but is unfair to everyone who spends hours designing, applying and shooting a look. You all deserve honest evaluation, and that is what we attempt to provide when judging these contests.
When judging the Weekly Challenges, we take into consideration many factors- first and foremost, skill in application. This means things like cleanliness of lines, care in blending, and consideration of facial anatomy and skin tone. We also consider creativity, originality and adherance to the theme. It's been suggested that we tend to favor the more dramatic, theatrical entries. I can understand why one could have this perception, looking at the last few winners, but I assure you, Avante-garde is in no way a criteria to win. As a matter of fact, the runner up for the Valentine's entry was a very classic look; easily wearable and one that many of you could recreate. What set that particular entry apart was expert choices in shades along with clean, flawless application. The scales were tipped in the winner's favor because we felt the winning entry simply reflected the theme of the contest better.
While this week's contest was a bit more open in theme, we looked for traditional "Arabic inspired" hallmarks. Favoring a cut-crease, liquid liner that meets at the inner corner of the eye in a point, as well as a dramatic angle on the outer edge are common markers of Arabic inspired
makeup, and Azin's entry included all of these. This is not to say those elements were necessary to win, I'm just pointing out why this entry fit the parameters of the contest.
Finally, in regards to contest security: as you're all aware, there were several illegal submissions to this contest. We appreciate all of the help forum users provided in politely reporting suspicious entries. Please know that we are as concerned as you are about this problem, and are taking such issues into consideration for future contests. The fact is, the world wide web is a huge place- there are an almost infinite number of images contained therein. We do our best to filter out illegal submissions, as was the case in this contest. Several contestants were asked to validate their entry, including the winner, and many submissions were removed for failure to prove that the work submitted was their own. Of course, any competitor in a contest like this could hire a makeup artist and professional photographer to complete their entry. Considering that the cost of such a project would far outweigh the prize given for winning, it's highly unlikely that someone would go to such lengths. The only 100% accurate way to ensure that work submitted was completed by the hand of the person entering it would be to require video submissions. Aside from time and technical constraints, such a restriction would be unfair; many forum users simply do not have the equipment or time necessary to film and edit a video.
We sincerly hope this helps to clear things up for those of you that had questions or issues about this decision. We remind you that this forum is meant to be a place for open sharing of ideas and thoughts; for that to happen, discourse must remain civil. Attacking other users, over this or any other issue, simply will not be permitted. If you are unsure of what constitutes proper conduct in the forums, please read this before further use:viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3696
Thanks for your time!