September 15th, 2016
Hairdressers Journal, Warpaint Magazine‘s sister publication devoted to all things hair, is full of brilliant features, information and inspiration. When we heard that they had interviewed Jen Atkin, founder of hot new hair brand OUAI and celebrity stylist, we knew we had to share this with all of you. Huge thanks to HJI for letting us share the love – you can find the original article here.
The Kardashian’s go-to hair stylist, Jen Atkin is the hands behind some of the most glamorous Hollywood dos. Between launching her own line of products, working on an exciting collaboration with BeautyWorks and bringing to London her highly anticipated education concept, Mane University, we caught up with the A-lister’s favourite to talk dream jobs, inspiration and the products she can’t live without.
You’re living the dream right now, working with celebrity clients and travelling the world. Describe your career journey to this point?
I’ve always loved doing hair and was obsessed with Natalie Imbruglia’s short haircut in her Torn music video when I was younger. Living in Utah, no one could give me the cut I wanted, so I went to the store, bought a pack of shaving razors and started cutting my own hair. It wasn’t long before I was cutting all my friends’ hair in my parent’s garage. Once I finished high school, I drove to California with about $300 and my Honda Civic.
I called all the salons in Allure’s beauty directory until one day, someone finally returned my call and I started working as a receptionist at Estilo Salon in Beverly Hills. After a while I met Andy Lecompte and started assisting him just before he went on tour with Madonna, where I ended up styling all the dancers’ hair.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into celebrity styling?
Find someone whose work you admire and assist them. Celebrity hairstyling isn’t as glamorous as it’s made out to be. You need to be catering to your clients and willing to put them first. It’s not about you, it’s about who you are working on.
What inspires you and how do you keep looks fresh for each client?
I look to so many places for inspiration. I love magazines, especially when I travel. I also look at websites like Fashion Gone Rogue, The Coveteur, WhoWhatWear and WWD to see what’s happening in fashion as that always translates for hair. I love Instagram, particularly looking at new models and how they do their hair, especially when they’re off duty. Some of my favourites to follow are Freja Beha Erichsen, Jourdan Dunn, Gigi Hadid and Natasha Poly. And of course Kim, Khloe, and Kylie are such trendsetters.
You’ve recently launched your own product line; how did this come about and was it something you had always envisioned?
Throughout my career, I’ve used every hair product on the market and spent years working around the globe talking to clients about haircare, listening to my followers and ManeAddicts.com readers. With a major lack of cool and curated products in the marketplace, I’ve struggled finding a haircare brand that my friends or I could relate to.
With OUAI, I wanted to create a “breath of fresh [h]air”—a line for real women. Luxury products that are simple, affordable, and classic; I didn’t want to work with a giant haircare company or make those elaborate, unrealistic advertising campaigns. I was lucky to partner with investors who understood my vision and collaborate with industry experts in the design and formulation.
You can find more great features from Hairdressers Journal here.