Celebrating The Aesthetics Awards for Over a Decade

By Kate Byng-Hall / 18 Sep 2023

Three past and present Aesthetics editors take a look back on how The Aesthetics Awards became the industry’s biggest and most prestigious awards, and what you need to know before entering

For a decade, The Aesthetics Awards have represented the pinnacle of excellence in aesthetic medicine. The Awards recognise the best and brightest in the industry in the UK, applauding best practice, advanced science, product innovation and patient safety above all else.

With entry to The Aesthetics Awards 2024 open this month, Aesthetics spoke to the journal’s former editors Amanda Cameron and Chloé Gronow, as well as current editor and event manager Shannon Kilgariff, to look back on how the Awards evolved, plus provide some tips for success.

Establishing the Awards

The Aesthetics Awards first appeared in its current format in 2013, as Cameron explains. “The Awards started out under the Cosmetic News brand, which was run by Charlotte Body. In 2013 this was acquired and the Aesthetics journal and The Aesthetics Awards were born. I joined the team at that point, and we were keen for the Awards to represent the very highest standards in our industry.”

The Aesthetics team back then had an ambitious vision for what the Awards could achieve. “We wanted our processes to stand scrutiny,” Cameron shares. “Our goal was to raise standards and keep them high by encouraging people to practise with an award-winning mindset all year round. We created categories to make sure we could recognise clinics, companies and manufacturers as well as practitioners for their good work.”

Gronow joined the team in 2014, and remembers feeling amazed at the scale of the event, even in the early years. She says, “In aesthetics, there’s always a lot of discussion around serious things like regulation or complications, and while those conversations are crucial, we wanted to highlight the positives. We wanted to bring people together to have fun and really celebrate everyone doing amazing things in the industry, including those behind the scenes.”

The Awards ceremony itself has always been a jubilant evening, featuring a drinks reception to connect with colleagues, a three-course dinner to chat with peers and a ceremony welcoming the Winners onto the star-studded stage. The night is rounded off with an after party to celebrate the year’s achievements and show appreciation for the industry’s efforts.

Casting her mind back to her first ceremony, Cameron reflects, “I was presenting on the stage that first year, and I was a bag of nerves all day. We got there early on the day, and I remember the excitement building as we rehearsed and had our hair and makeup done. We didn’t have an autocue so I just had to memorise my speech from a scrunched up piece of paper, but it felt great to get up on stage and share our message of best practice (even if the room was a bit rowdy because everyone was having so much fun!).”

Gronow reminisces, “My first year I was very nervous. I hadn’t met many practitioners in the industry yet, and as I was welcoming people on the door and they were walking the red carpet looking so glam, I felt a bit star struck! Almost like I was meeting celebrities! It was very exciting to be a part of, especially when I saw just how excited the Winners were to have been recognised.”

Assessing excellence

The categories on offer for entrants have always been broad and inclusive, recognising individual practitioners, clinics and clinic teams, support partners and service providers, manufacturers and products. Each and every entrant is held to high standards, incorporating scrupulous patient care, extensive evidence-based research, genuine innovation and much more.

The Aesthetics Awards has implemented a rigorous judging process since its inception, according to Kilgariff, who joined the team in 2015. This has been the key to the event’s growth, she adds, “We constantly seek feedback from the judges and our Clinical Advisory Board and review our processes to make sure they are fair. For each category, five judges carefully critique and assess the entries and provide scores. These judges are true experts in their fields, and we’re proud to be an Awards ceremony that is judged for the industry, by the industry.”

The Aesthetics Awards judging panel reached 80 industry experts in 2023, with diversity a key focus to match the broad range of categories. Some of the judges include practitioners with decades of experience, including previous Winners, leading trainers, business experts and pioneering key opinion leaders.

Gronow goes on to share that the judging process has always been stringent. She says, “Every judge has been vetted to ensure they’re real experts, and all conflicts of interest are eliminated in whatever category they’re assigned to judge. There is a lot of detail that people need to include in their entries, and those details are based on the judges’ feedback over the years. This process gives added credibility to the Finalists and Winners, setting their wins apart as really brilliant achievements.”

All our past Winners are available to view on the Awards website, immortalising their contributions to the specialty.

Furthering achievements

The first ceremony had around 400 guests, and the 2023 event welcomed nearly 1,000 esteemed guests. Kilgariff shares that the excitement has only built over the years. “As the whole industry has grown, the Awards have become a great relaxed environment for practitioners to connect with peers, and for companies to meet their clients in a celebratory atmosphere,” she says.

She goes on, “It’s lovely to see practitioners bring their clinic teams along to reward them for their dedication. Seeing all the smiles and sequins is a highlight of my year!” Over the years, the entrants, guests and Winners alike have come to know The Aesthetics Awards as the Oscar’s of Aesthetics, owing to the ceremony’s glitz and glamour, alongside the high calibre of the Finalists.

Cameron emphasises, however, that the whole Aesthetics Awards event boils down to maintaining meticulous practice. She comments, “The high standards of the Awards helped us really earn the respect of the industry, and from there it has been a constant reviewing process. Every year, the team talks to the community and adapts the Awards to make them the best they can be.”

The festivities even continued during lockdown, with a virtual ceremony of 1,400 guests online. The event was hosted by TV personality Cherry Healey, and saw Finalists dressed to the nines in the comfort of their own homes, or even hiring private rooms in luxury hotels. It was an opportunity to applaud the industry’s tenacity and resilience in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, complete with entertainment and a cocktail making masterclass to keep the party going.

Kilgariff has seen the impact that becoming a Finalist or Winner can have for companies and careers, so recommends grasping the chance to enter. She says, “I think some people feel that entering Awards is just an ego boost, but our former Finalists tell us there’s a lot more to it than that. It can have a huge impact on a practitioner’s career, opening up opportunities for collaboration with companies and colleagues alike.” 

Kilgariff adds that the process kickstarts a thorough audit of your practice, clinic structure and more to highlight potential areas of improvement. “That’s what the Awards is all about – helping further the industry and promote best practice, all while having loads of fun!”

Achieving Awards success

Writing your Awards entry can seem daunting, but here are some top tips to simplify the process and steer you in the right direction:

  • Make sure the category criteria are applicable to you before entering
  • Think carefully about each question to make sure you address all criteria
  • Include sufficient evidence to support your claims and show off your USPs
  • Write clearly and concisely to engage the judges and stay within the word count
  • Focus on high-quality images, ensuring they’re clear, well-lit and standardised
  • Review your entry before submitting to catch any missed details, spelling or grammatical errors – a second pair of eyes can help here!
  • Avoid last-minute submissions. Allocate ample time for a well-thought-out entry

Entry for The Aesthetics Awards 2024 is open now! With 24 categories available to enter, there are numerous opportunities for clinics, practitioners, manufacturers, suppliers and other aesthetic companies to be recognised.

You must be a Full Member of Aesthetics to enter the Awards. As a Full Member, you are entitled to unlimited free entry, alongside access to the Aesthetics journal online and in print for a full year. To become a Full Member, go to aestheticsjournal.com. You must do so before entering any category. If you are already a Full Member, you will have received a free entry code. Entries close on November 6, and Finalists will be announced in the January issue of the Aesthetics journal.

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