True Confessions of a Celebrity Hairstylist

Updated 07/21/17
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justine-marjan
Justine Marjan

Justine Marjan is swiftly climbing the ranks to be the biggest hairstylist in Hollywood (she's got an impressive client roster that boasts the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Kerry Washington, Olivia Culpo, and the Kardashian crew). And while we're sure the young stylist is able to pave her own path (and has), it doesn't hurt that she worked under Jen Atkin's wings at Mane Addicts. Since then, she's gained a huge social following and become the brand ambassador for Ghd and Tresemmé. 

This weekend, she'll be coiffing the tresses of Olivia Culpo and Jurnee Smollett-Bell for the 89th annual Academy Awards (you know, the biggest night of the year). Given the extreme beauty buzz surrounding the Oscars red carpet and the pressure to create something beautiful and (if we're being honest) newsworthy, we wanted to ask Marjan what it's really like to style a celebrity for such a high-profile event. Ahead, her answers.

BYRDIE: Are you nervous on award show days? Why or why not?

JUSTINE MARJAN: I usually am not nervous. I always try to keep a calm energy so that my client feels calm and comfortable. I feel confident in my ability to create hairstyles, so I’m not usually nervous about executing a look. It’s all about maintaining an atmosphere that is enjoyable. We’re in such a fun industry, so we have to remember that we are lucky to do what we do and that beauty is something that should always be fun!

BYRDIE: What sort of tasks do you do leading up to and on the day of an award show?

JM: I usually pack my kit the night before to make sure I’m prepared for anything. Sometimes the whole concept for hair can change mid-way through a look, so I literally bring a giant suitcase with me wherever I go so that I can whip out a hair accessory or a different colored extension at a moment’s notice.

BYRDIE: How many days in advance do you need to prep for a big show like the Oscars?

JM: I usually work with my clients in the week leading up to a red carpet to figure out the look based on what they’re wearing. This way I can prepare myself by getting the right hair extensions, hair accessories, etc.

BYRDIE: How do you come up with the final hair look? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

JM: This depends on who I’m working with. Some people like to be super involved, and we will send references back and forth until we can find something perfect. Other times I work with people who know exactly what they want, and I try to bring life to their vision. Usually, it’s a collaboration and it’s always about the total overall look—bringing the dress, hair, and makeup together. I search everywhere from previous red carpets, Pinterest, Instagram, runway, and editorial spreads for inspo.

BYRDIE: Which products do you anticipate using this season and for which type of styles?

JM: I have my trusty Ghd Platinum Styler ($249) and both the Ghd Curve Classic Curl Iron ($199) and Curve Soft Curl Iron ($199). I always have the Tresemmé Tres Two Hairspray ($5) for hold, Ouai Texturizing Hairspray ($26) for dry texture, and Fatboy pomade ($21) for super-sleek, shiny looks.

BYRDIE: What are you most looking forward to at this year's Oscars?

JM: Olivia Culpo is partnering with Marchesa, Stella Artois and Water.org to create a custom gown to bring awareness to the global water crisis. I love how so many fashion brands and designers have been using their voice to bring attention to important issues around the world. 

BYRDIE: What's something people would be surprised to know about getting a celebrity ready for a big show?

JM: That it is always so much fun! I love seeing the entire look come together. The entire process is very much a collaboration, and I’m lucky enough to work with so many people who I enjoy collaborating with.

BYRDIE: Have you ever had a disaster moment happen when getting a celeb ready?

JM: An essential quality we have to have as celebrity stylists is [knowing] how to problem solve. If a “disaster” situation comes up, it’s our job to make sure it doesn’t turn into an actual disaster. We always have to find a way to make it work and be creative to make something out of nothing or use a hair piece or tool in an untraditional way. I’ve definitely had moments when I needed more hair for a look, but only had wigs and no clip in extensions. I’ve cut up a ton of wigs behind my client’s head without them knowing in a frenzy and attached it to the head in an untraditional way. Most client’s don’t care what it takes you to get the job done as long as they look amazing in the end.

Up next, take a look at the crazy thing you never noticed about previous Oscar winners.

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