With all of the COVID-19 related anxiety and uncertainty, The Tease is bringing you uplifting stories from women who are #MakingHairstory, #BakingBeauty and #DoingItForTheCultuHer. Learn how these influential women are breaking barriers, disrupting their industries and empowering others to do the same all month long.
Justine Marjan is a celebrity hairstylist and beauty expert creating looks for our favorite women in entertainment, including Olivia Culpo, Dove Cameron, Ashley Graham and more. She currently holds the title of Brand Ambassador at GHD, she’s the lead hairstylist at Project Runway, she’s Tresemmé’s Global Stylist and she designs an incredibly popular accessories line with Kitsch. Additionally, she was recently named Brand Ambassador for the iconic brand, WetBrush.
Always on the go, Marjan divides her time between Los Angeles and New York, where she has served up looks for Fashion Week and beyond. You can find her now on TikTok, where she showcases her incredible hairstyling for all to see.
We had the chance to speak with Marjan about where she began and what’s coming next.
The Tease: How did you get started in the salon professional industry?
Justin Marjan: I started working at a salon as a receptionist right out of high school. I loved it so much, I went to cosmetology school during the day and would work at the salon as an assistant [during] evenings and weekends. I ended up working in that salon in my hometown for 8 years before moving to LA and starting over as an assistant.
How would you describe your relationship to hair?
I view it like fabric. I think of it like a textile and how I can work with it to create the texture and shapes I want. I like to think of it architecturally and geometrically when working.
Women are often discouraged from sharing their accomplishments, but we want to hear about them. List some of your career highlights. What are you most proud of?
I’m probably most proud of my brand partnerships. I’m honored to be the Tresemmé Global Stylist going on my 4th year. Working with them has given me amazing opportunities, like leading shows backstage at NYFW and becoming the lead stylist for Bravo’s Project Runway. I’ve also been the GHD brand ambassador for over two years and just became the brand ambassador for the WetBrush. I launched the #kitschxjustine collection of hair accessories with Kitsch in 2018 and am working on the next drop with them!
What are the biggest challenges you have experienced within the industry and how did you overcome them?
Sexism is still very prominent, as the industry is very much male led. Fortunately, there are more prominent female hair stylists than ever before, but I would love to see more women excelling. I also struggle with the freelance blues. As artists, we are most critical on ourselves and only feel as good as our last job. There’s no consistency, so it’s hard to ever feel comfortable.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?
I’ve learned to always remember that above all, we are in the service industry and our job is to service our client.
Are there any women in the industry who inspire you or your work? If so, who?
I’m definitely inspired by Jen Atkin. I assisted her for years when I first moved to LA, and she was so instrumental in helping me build my career. I’m also inspired by Jenny Cho, Lacy Redway, Nikki Lee, Ursula Stephen and Kim Kimble.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other women within the salon professional industry?
Don’t let yourself get distracted by what other people are doing. Focus on yourself and your goals and know that everyone’s path and timelines are different. It’s ok for you to pave a new path for yourself.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a new collection of hair accessories with Kitsch! You can shop the current collection at shopkitsch.com/justine2 and follow me on Instagram @justinemarjan for tutorials and beauty tips!