She cut a path to success
Celebrity hairstylist says Instagram was instrumental to her success
Touted as the most influential hairstylist in the world by The New York Times, Jen Atkin boasts a long and loyal list of famous clients as well as more than two million followers on Instagram.
From giving US model Bella Hadid a faux fringe at last year's Cannes Film Festival to a short lob for US model Chrissy Teigen at this year's Grammy Awards (her most-liked post, receiving about 20,000 likes on Instagram), the 37-year-oldhas also worked with Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Alba, Lily Collins and Katy Perry.
Dancer-actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum has been with Atkin for eight years, her longest client.
Atkin is most known for being part of the Kardashian glam squad for the past five years.
US reality TV star Kim Kardashian was quoted as saying that Atkin has "become one of my best friends", and even turned her into a character on her game app Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Atkin, in turn, views the Kardashians as "family".
She was in town this week to promote her line Ouai Haircare, which is available at Sephora Singapore, and avoided talking about the Kardashians specifically during our interview.
She told The New Paper: "I like to do things that let my clients feel good and confident.
"The most important thing as a hairstylist is to put your ego aside and know when to step back a little bit. Like, when the dress is really elaborate or when we are doing a strong make-up look, we have got to do something that complements it and not take away from it.
"It is important to know that you are not always going to have a hair 'moment' but are there to be part of a collaborative effort."
Although most of her long-time clients trust her completely and allow her to "decide for them", Atkin has also received extreme requests - the strangest being the time she was instructed to save her client's hair clippings to be used to help birds build nests.
When she was a teenager, she used to give her friends haircuts in her garage.
Seventeen years ago, Atkin drove to California with only US$300 (S$406) to her name and worked as a receptionist in Estilo Salon at Beverly Hills, before studying under editorial and celebrity stylists to work at the runway shows in Paris and New York.
She ended up meeting many celebrities and publicists over the years, and that gradually led her to the big time.
Despite having amassed a solid celebrity clientele, she said the biggest factor that contributed to her career, media exposure and success is Instagram.
She said: "Instagram from day one felt natural to me. I love sharing my story, inspirational pictures and my work. I think it is also an incredible marketing tool because it is free. It is really my biggest cheerleader, and there is no shame in trying to promote myself."
Atkin believes every woman should try having a fringe at least once, adding that short hair seems to be the latest trend as more than half her clients have been requesting to have their locks snipped off.
She said: "Don't be afraid to try different or new looks as you might find something you love or looks good on yourself."
Last month, Atkin, who usually trims her own tresses, took the plunge and asked her Los Angeles hairstylist friend Anh Co Tran to give her a haircut.
She recalled with a laugh: "I wanted to feel that really nervous feeling that clients have in the chair. I was always telling my clients to change their hairstyles, but I was never really changing it myself."
Atkin smiled throughout the entire process on her Instagram Live, but was actually "freaking out" on the inside.
She said: "I was like, 'What am I doing? This is my identity, am I making a mistake?'
"It was really scary but I embraced it. This is what I wanted - a new change, a new haircut can be really liberating."