Young volunteer Khalil Coleman, 8, of Somers Point, was unrecognizable on a recent Wednesday night - his face, painted perfectly to match a ghoulish black and white skeleton.

"I don't think (the students) know how talented they are," Jolie Hair and Beauty Academy aesthetic teacher Madaline Barris said behind realistic cat makeup.

That night, Barris required her 10 aesthetic students to partake in the school's first makeup competition as a part of their final grade. The twist: a Halloween theme and child models.

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"I have told them along the way, this is a specialty. When you have people coming in off the street, they want this because they can't do it themselves," the teacher said in regard to the techniques her class used that night. "We have them do children because children are actually harder to do than adults because they are fidgety."

The students are prepared for anything, explained Barris, who has been working at Jolie's Northfield location since this summer. Barris has worked in the industry for nearly 40 years, working as a teacher and sales representative.

The location is one of four, said the school's director, Corey Matthews. "We've been here for a little over a year. We have about 115 students," he said as he watched over the transformations. The school offers day and night classes in cosmetology, aesthetics and manicuring.

"Most everyone here already has a job in the field. They will become licensed aestheticians, allowing them to go into the medical field for skin care, laser treatment and permanent cosmetics. They can work in salons, be sales reps for beauty companies and teach skin care to clients. There are a lot of opportunities out there for them," Barris said.

The 10 women had about 90 minutes to transform their young models into pieces of art, with a particular Halloween costume in mind for inspiration. Incredible Hulks, angels, and more marched past the judges: two classrooms of cosmetology students. Trophies were distributed to first-, second- and third-place creations.

"The vote is based on creativity and how closely they matched their costumes," Barris said. Students practiced design and contour and played with colored face crayons, glitter, false lashes and glue-on jewels.

First-place winner Leslie Niglio of Egg Harbor Township, was responsible for Khalil Coleman's eerie makeover.

"I had an awesome model," she laughed as her subject showed off his trophy.

Niglio, who works at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, also runs her own skin care business, specializing in permanent and corrective cosmetics, scar camouflage, medical tattooing for cancer and Vitiligo patients and burn victims, as well as general skin care.

Allie Castellani, of Linwood, took second place, while Kindra Cianilli, of Marmora, took third for her fairy creation. Castellani, who specializes in bride makeup, works at Esthetica Salon and Spa in Northfield. Cianilli just began working with Euro Color Salon, also in Northfield.

"This will teach them about competition and what's out there in the world," Barris said.

The students all graduated with certificates the following day, Thursday, Oct. 18. The class also included Shannon Bailey, of Atlantic City; Maria Cortes-McCartney, of Margate; Danielle Berenotto, of Egg Harbor Township; Shantay Barley, of Somers Point; Ellen Hiltner, of Margate; Luz Ramirez and Holly Gibson, both of Egg Harbor Township.

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