The model's white-blond hair is carefully sectioned and tied together with tiny bands, creating an intricate diamond pattern all across...

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MINNEAPOLIS — The model’s white-blond hair is carefully sectioned and tied together with tiny bands, creating an intricate diamond pattern all across the scalp. The perfect latticework draws the eye to a halo of curls surrounding her head.

“I chose looks that were powerful,” said hairstylist Maureen Anlauf. “For me, it was about geometry — shapes on shapes.”

The diamond pattern is called “the grid,” and it’s one of five stunning looks created by a team that included hairstylist Anlauf, 34, and makeup artist Angelia Senevisai, 38 — two Minneapolis women who took top honors this past summer at the North American Hairstyling Awards, considered the Oscars of the beauty industry.

Stylists started early

As a child growing up in Cambridge, Minn., Anlauf gave her dolls sleek haircuts and discovered she could look at someone and picture the ideal hairstyle for that person.

She is the youngest of seven children and the only artsy one in the bunch. When she was in eighth grade, she gave her best friend a perm and to this day, that friend claims it’s the best one she ever had. In high school, Anlauf served as hairdresser to the rest of her friends, charging them for cuts she gave in her basement.

After high school, she moved to Minneapolis to attend the Aveda Institute and become a professional stylist. There, she had a teacher who encouraged her to further her training at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, Calif. Anlauf heeded his advice and found herself performing three-hour haircuts at the legendary cosmetology school. “I got the tools I needed to create what I saw in my head,” Anlauf explained.

In addition to her work at the Juut Salon/Spa in St. Paul, she also styles hair for local print advertising and magazine fashion spreads. That’s how she met Senevisai. They began working together and discovered they were artistic kindred spirits.

“We feel the same way about what we do and bring 150 percent every time,” Anlauf explained. “We constantly have to express our art. She pushes me and our work pushes me, but it also goes together.”

Senevisai grew up in Ohio, always drawing, painting and creating art. She attended high school in Minnesota and soon she had taken all the art classes her high school offered. “It gave me a sense of confidence and I knew I wanted to try it all,” she said. In her final year in high school, she was also a postsecondary student, taking art classes at the University of Minnesota.

Her path to becoming a full-time makeup artist was less direct than Anlauf’s. For years, she worked for the Guthrie Theater, dressing actors and preparing wigs. She moved to Los Angeles, where she did costume design for a play with Don Cheadle and worked on some UCLA films.

She returned to Minneapolis and eventually became a freelance makeup artist working on print advertising. She also has done makeup for a few famous faces, including Jane Seymour and Matt Lauer.

Doing makeup came naturally to her, she says, because it is akin to painting. The skin serves as a blank canvas and both arts use brushes and rely on light as a key element.

Then there’s politics

Though they’re in perfect sync at work, Anlauf and Senevisai are political opposites. “I’m 100 percent Republican. I’m as conservative as they come,” says Anlauf. Senevisai is a neighborhood activist and runs a T-shirt company on the side for kids and babies. One shirt slogan says: “My first word will be impeach.”

Their relationship, however, is anything but acrimonious — even when they talk politics. Passion understands passion, and these two are as close as friends can be.

“I would say Angelia is like my sister,” Anlauf said. “You understand where your sister is coming from even if you may not handle things the same way. We hang out quite often and I talk to her several times a week.”

Even greater than the awards moment has been the lasting effects the title has had on Senevisai’s career.

“Now it gives people an opportunity to see here’s this girl in Minnesota who knows what she’s doing. It’s exposure I wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Anlauf agreed. “The biggest thing for me now is that people know that I’m a serious hairdresser,” she said. She has raised her price from $90 to $110 for a haircut. Soon, she will teach classes for hairstylists through Juut.

In the meantime, she and Senevisai are already hard at work on their entry for next year’s competition.