2021 Winners Our 2021 Award-Winning Pros The Byrdies

Our 2021 Award-Winning Pros

Get to know the ones making their mark in beauty.

The products on shelves make beauty an active part of our daily lives, but the industry is also heavily rooted in the people behind the products. Experts, innovators, and tastemakers are a crucial part of beauty as we know it. Now more than ever, we look to their expertise to help make the industry a more fun, informative, helpful, and inclusive place. 

Their knowledge helps us make better decisions for our lives and health; their artistry inspires creativity and memories, and their innovations make experiencing beauty safer and more efficacious. For our sixth annual Byrdie Beauty Awards, we're honoring the professionals who continue to push the beauty world forward. Get to know those that have made the biggest impact on us this year, below.

The Dermatologist: Dr. Alexis Stephens

Dr. Alexis Stephens

Designed by Byrdie

"Dr. Alexis Stephens is one of the leading voices in dermatology. She creates content that is impactful, educational, and comprehensive. Dr. Alexis has an incredible way of breaking down confusing skincare terms and myths in a way that everyone understands. She's incredibly sweet and patient and is always willing to help her clients and followers." - Sean Garrette, esthetician and skincare influencer

The Esthetician: Sofie Pavitt

Sofie Pavitt

Designed by Sophie Pavitt

"I found Sofie Pavitt through the impressive before-and-after acne photos on her Instagram. Ever since I went off of birth control, my skin has not been the same, and I’ve been dealing with cystic breakouts and clogged pores. After a year of struggling alone, I finally decided to enroll in Sofie’s acne program. The moment I sat in Sofie’s chair, she explained why acne occurs better than any dermatologist that I've seen. Her methods are based on education and results-driven facials. She understands acne in all its forms and explains everything so clearly that you start to actually feel in-control of your skin. Throughout her program, she maintains an open line of communication with clients and provides bi-weekly skincare regimen adjustments. She is truly a leader in the acne space and the results that I’ve seen are amazing. The knowledge and product recommendations I’ve received from Sofie will be my baseline and guide for treating my acne forever. - Star Donaldson, senior social media editor

The Formulator: Joyce de Lemos

Joyce de Lemos

Designed by Byrdie

"Joyce De Lemos is a clinical cosmetic chemist who has had a hand in making some of the best, most effective products on the market. Formerly of Skinceuticals (a Byrdie favorite), De Lemos co-founded skincare company Dieux (another Byrdie favorite) with Charlotte Palermino and Marta Freedman. She cares first and foremost about research and results, which allows consumers to have have a trustworthy relationship with her products. And, the fact that they all work so well means I'll pretty much buy anything she formulates." - Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

The Hairstylist: Lacy Redway

lacy redway

Designed by Byrdie

"If you’re a Black person old enough to read this, you likely remember a time where the only messages that were ever conveyed about our hair were negative—it’s too short, too dry, too unruly. That anti-Blackness kept us from a very important piece of information: Black hair can do just about anything. Lacy Redway’s artistry showcases this beautifully. In her editorial and red carpet work, Redway designs sculptural braids, sleek silk presses, and cloud-like, pillow-soft afros, sitting atop heads like those of Amanda Gorman and Lil Nas X. (Her work with Tessa Thompson alone will surely go down in red carpet history.) The significance of her work can best be described by one of those works itself: braids for the rapper Chika, styled in the shape of a crown." - Eden Stuart, associate editor

The Influencer: Jackie Aina

Jackie Aina

Designed by Byrdie

"Jackie Aina has left an indelible mark on the beauty industry without question. Since launching her YouTube channel 12 years ago, Aina has become a trusted beauty resource for Black women and women of color. We've been able to turn to her for unfiltered conversations about products that work for melanin-rich skin. She's also never been afraid to hold brands accountable for their lacking shade ranges, calling them out publicly on her social channels.

"Her commitment to increasing diversity in beauty has allowed her to work hands-on with brands to create more inclusive products. In 2018, she collaborated with Too Faced Cosmetics to formulate nine deeper shades for their Born This Way foundation line. In 2019, she worked with Anastasia Beverly Hills to create a limited-edition eyeshadow palette with shades specifically created to enhance Black and Brown skin. Aina has also devoted herself to empowering her community through self-care and storytelling. In 2020, she launched her lifestyle candle brand Forvr Mood to encourage Black women to care for themselves. That same year, she also signed on to executive produce Social Beauty, a documentary about the influence of Black women creators on the beauty market. When analyzing the beauty mogul's impactful moves, it's clear that Aina is a true advocate and a prime example of what it means to use your platform purposefully." —Olivia Hancock, associate editor

The Rising Star Makeup Artist: Sam Visser

Sam Visser

Sam Visser / Design by Cristina Cianci

"Deemed by many as the next Kevyn Aucoin, 22-year-old Sam Visser is Dior's newest U.S. Makeup Ambassador and the ultimate force in makeup. While it's fun to compare him to the previous greats, Visser has carved out a career and a style all his own. His clients include Bella Hadid, Janet Mock, Kim Kardashian, Kaia Gerber, Lily-Rose Depp, and more—but that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of his artistry. Visser's editorial makeup is high-concept, awe-inspiring, and, simply put, fucking cool. He is inventive and innovative; playing with imperfections and grit as often as he does classic glamour. To be this talented and genuinely humble is a feat. His work is a rollercoaster ride of inspiration and I can't wait to see what he does next." - Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

The Veteran Makeup Artist: Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin / Design by Cristina Cianci

"Daniel Martin is an industry staple with clients including: Meghan Markel, Gemma Chan, Priyanka Chopra, Michelle Yeoh, among others. But what makes him standout is his ability to connect to a wider audience. The New York-based artist takes his red carpet creations and simplifies them for the everyday person, making everyone feel and believe that they, too, are their own celebrities. Martin has been outspoken about advocacy and this year has spoken out against anti-Asian hate in a way that is inclusive, educational, and like his beauty abilities, approachable." - David Yi, founder of Very Good Light

The New Guard: Olamide Olowe

Olamide Olowe

Olamide Olowe / Design by Cristina Cianci

"Olamide Olowe is a young visionary shaping the future of skincare. Her interest in skincare began at a young age after dealing with acne, hyperpigmentation, folliculitis, and boils. After noticing the continued lack of inclusivity in the chronic skincare category, a seed was planted in Olowe's mind to create the brand she desired growing up. As the CEO of the buzzy brand Topicals, Olowe is helping people with chronic skincare conditions through science-backed products and mental health advocacy. Though her brand launched a little over a year ago, the 25-year-old has already made history as the youngest Black woman to raise over $1M in funding ($2.6M, to be exact). Through Topicals, Olowe is helping us transform the way we feel about our skin, and it's thrilling to know she's just getting started." - Olivia Hancock, associate editor

The Plastic Surgeon: Dara Liotta

Dr. Dara liotta

Designed by Byrdie

"I trust Dr. Liotta's intricate surgical craftsmanship so much that I went to her to get my stretched earring holes repaired. (Byrdie also entrusts her expertise as a reviewer on our Beauty, Wellness, and Medical Review Board). Her bedside manner is gentle, educational, and tailored specifically to each individual patient. She's perhaps best known for her rhinoplasties, which are actual works of art—I've never seen results that are so natural-looking. Dr. Liotta is kind, approachable, humble, and recognizes plastic surgery not as a 'fix' but rather a personal journey of self-love." - Lindsey Metrus, project director

The Wellness Leader: Shannon Boodram

Shannon Boodram

Designed by Byrdie

"Shannon Boodram, also known to her digital community as Shan Boody, is one of this generation's most revered intimacy experts. The certified sexologist has mastered the art of delivering information about sensuality, dating, and self-love in a thought-provoking and relatable way. She's not afraid to tackle any topic and has created powerful content on subjects like open relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, and the female and male anatomy. As a leader in the sexual health and wellness space, Boodram's voice is helping to dismantle longstanding sexual taboos and transform lives. After watching one of her YouTube videos, listening to her podcast, or reading one of her best-selling books, you're bound to walk away with a refreshed perspective on your relationship with yourself and others. As someone who has followed Boodram's career for years, I have always appreciated her authenticity, candor, and commitment to empowering others to live sex-positive lives." - Olivia Hancock, associate editor

The Founder: Diarrha N'Diaya-Mbaye

Diarrha N'Diaya-Mbaye

Designed by Byrdie

"Diarrha is such an inspiration to me. She's a young Black woman who's created this special beauty brand for people of color. Her brand Ami Colé has been one of my favorite beauty launches this year. The skin tint is one of the first that actually color matches me perfectly and looks just like skin. I'm excited to see what she has coming next!" - Sean Garrette, esthetician and skincare influencer

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