Career Code: How Jen Atkin Built Her Hair Empire

In honor of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s upcoming book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($17), we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honor of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the beauty industry.

We decided to kick off the series with a big one: Jen Atkin. Compressing the celebrity hairstylist extraordinaire’s bio into a pithy paragraph is no easy task, but we’ll give it shot. With mentors who rank among the industry’s finest (Guido Palau, Andy LeCompte, Danilo, and Renato Campora) and an incredible work ethic (seriously, the woman is never not doing something—if you follow her on Snapchat, you already know this), it’s not surprising Atkin worked her from front desk to mega-mogul. Her client roster reads like your dream dinner party guest list—Emma Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Gwen Stefani, and Jenna Dewan Tatum, to name a few. And her work has been featured everywhere from the pages of Vogue, InStyle, and Elle to the runways in New York and Paris—not to mention virtually every red carpet in Hollywood. But being the world’s most influential hairstylist (to quote The New York Times), wasn’t enough for Atkin. She founded hair inspiration destination and the haircare brand Ouai, which garnered a cult following before it even hit shelves. And we have a feeling this bio is far from finished.

To summarize, the self-made entrepreneur and all-around hair genius is a dreamer and a doer. And an inspiration. So scroll through to see what we learned from 17 questions with Jen Atkin.

If you could ask Jen Atkin one question, what would it be? Comment below!