The Silhouette Awards – Bringing Young Talent Out of the Shadows and Into the Light

by | Feb 4, 2022 | News

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction,” said John C. Crosby, former politician and member of Congress.  It is out of a belief in the importance of mentorship that the Silhouette Awards was hatched.  Eve Gaut of Parrot PR and Marketing and Katia Kolovea of Archifos came up with the idea one day while catching up and discussing the importance of mentors.  “Having people to guide you and support can really make a difference in your career.  Often, people are too scared to ask for help.  The Silhouette Awards was born exactly on this concept,” said Katia.  The mission of the Silhouette Awards program is to promote young talent in the world of lighting.  They aim to celebrate growth in the industry, form collaborations between up-and-coming talent and veteran lighting designers, and most importantly, inspire action.

The submission period for this year’s awards ran from September through November of last year.  Applicants were asked to submit a 3-minute video in which they described themselves, their mentorship goals, and another passion outside the lighting industry.  Twenty lighting designers from across the globe agreed to serve as mentors and judge the applicants.  After reviewing all submissions, the mentors chose twenty winners.  The recipients receive much more than just recognition and a trophy – they get the opportunity for a six-month mentorship with one of these established professionals.

The inaugural winners were announced on Monday, January 31st.  Congratulations to the Silhouette Award 2022 winners and their mentors:

  • Cristina Gil Venegas, paired with Victor Palacio
  • Laura Arroyo Rocha, paired with Fernando Mazzetti
  • Rosa Alvarez de Arcaya, paired with Beata Denton
  • Qistina Ahmad Ali, paired with Martin Klaasen
  • Swathi Madhi, paired with Lara Elbaz
  • Àfrica Sabé Dausà, paired with Monica Luz Lobo
  • Francesca Feltrin, paired with Dario Nunez Salazar
  • Doreen Colling, paired with Star Davis
  • Beatrice Bertolini, paired with Melissa Mak
  • Valeriya Gorelova, paired with Anna Sbokou
  • Elena Volpi, paired with Michael Grubb
  • Alessandra De Martino, paired with Jonathan Rush
  • Gabi Korac, paired with Sam Koerbel
  • Momena Saleem, paired with Marci Song
  • Rebecca Mintz, paired with Suzan Tillotson
  • Elsa Sawma, paired with Linus Lopez
  • Iris Molendijk, paired with Rouzana Kopti
  • Janice Lu, paired with Ruth Kelly Waskett
  • Frankie Boyle, paired with Marcus Steffen
  • Dipali Shirsat, paired with David Gilbey

The mentors had high praise for all the applicants.  Beata Denton said, “Every video was like opening a present.”  Several mentioned just how difficult it was to select only twenty.  Jonathan Rush described the process as “quite daunting.”  He also noted the interesting range of styles in the submissions.  From music to props, he really enjoyed the personal flare that applicants added to the videos.  “Who knew there were so many dancers?” he joked.

When looking at the panel of winners, one thing stands out – all twenty are women.  Anna Sbokou felt that this was simply a consequence of the applicant pool – 79% of the submissions came from women.  “It was something that we all noticed post-mortem.  It was never judged under that criterion,” she said.  Linus Lopez added that, in the future, he would like to see greater participation from men.

Another thing of note, when looking at the group of winners, is the diversity in work experience.  Almost a quarter of the winners – 23.7% – were current students or recent graduates.  On the other hand, over a quarter – 27.1% – have six or more years of experience in the field.

For more information about the program, or to keep up with the winners and their mentors, visit the program’s website. Watch the 2022 awards ceremony here.

Good luck to all the mentors and mentees!  This program is a great opportunity for them, and a great thing for the lighting industry.