Tucsonan Giovanni Dominice took first place in the imperial category at the 2011 World Beard and Moustache Championships in Trondheim, Norway. By night, Dominice is an electronic music producer who also performs as DJ Datwop. During the day, he runs the video post-production department at Pink Visual, an adult-entertainment studio based in town. Dominice grew up in Tucson and was the only Arizonan at the competition. To view some of the other winners, go to www.worldbeardchampionships.com.
How did you get involved in international facial-hair competition?
A friend of mine at work sent me a link to a website showing photos of the champions from four or five years ago, and we thought it was amazing and hilarious. Then we had a competition at work. ... Who could grow the best porn 'stache? I let everybody get a two-week jump on me, because I knew that I could win. Two months was the growth period, and I easily won. After that, I just never stopped. It took a while to figure out what kind of style I wanted. I just kept looking back ... at the International Beard and Mustache Championships (site) to see what I liked the best. I settled on the imperial style, because I thought it suited me.
What is the imperial style?
... It can be either bushy or it can grow from the center of the upper lip. As far as the competition rules go, it can't grow below the upper lip at all. And it can go only about, for the international competition, 1.5 centimeters past the edge of the upper lip. And ... it curls upward.
What did you have to do to keep your mustache in tip-top shape?
Well, it took a while. I had heard of mustache wax, and that seemed like an interesting concept to me, so I started looking for it in drugstores and asking around, and found some different products. It took a while to figure out what I wanted to use, and I ended up settling on hairstyling product, which is more of a spiking glue. That seemed to work out; it takes a while to set, but then it's almost invincible.
What was the best part of the trip to Norway?
Probably hanging out with all of the other beardos and mustachioed people, and drinking beer in another country. It's more about the camaraderie and the fun of the competition. It's a facial-hair competition, so even though things get tense, and these guys don't mess around, it's still important to remember what it's all about.
Are there facial-hair competitions locally?
In the U.S., there are. There seem to be more popping up, too. Beard Team USA has a lot of local chapters. There isn't one in Arizona. I found out about the nationals last year, which were in Bend, Ore., and decided to go. And I found out that I was the only person from Arizona who even showed up. I figured that out because we had a parade through the middle of Bend, and the people from various states were given a flag. I was the only one with the Arizona flag.
Tell me more about what you do outside of showing off your mustache.
I started a record label with a friend of mine about a year and a half ago. I'd been making electronic music for about 10 years. We started working together on a musical project called Ploy, and we were really happy with the results of what we were doing. We decided that we wanted to put out a record, even if it was the only record that we ever put out. We did a 12-inch vinyl, limited-edition, white pressing ... and started this record label. We were doing live shows; we also were both DJ'ing. I've been a DJ since I was in high school. It's something I've always been drawn to. I have my own studio, and when I'm not at my day job, I'm usually working on music.
Do you plan to compete in the future? Are you keeping this mustache year-round?
The way it's styled now, it is my daily mustache. It is the way it looks. There might be slight changes, but it's always toward being, at least in my mind, the most ideal imperial mustache that it can possibly be. ... I might try a tighter curl or flare it out a bit more, but I will be competing in the future. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it to nationals this year, but I will be definitely competing in other facial-hair competitions.