Behind Justine Marjan’s Ascent From Salon Receptionist to Celebrity Hairstylist

Welcome to Big Break, where some of the most influential figures in the beauty industry reflect on the moments that made them — from the good to the bad and everything in between. Here, celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan shares how she earned her A-list clientele, including Ashley Graham, Olivia Culpo, and Khloé Kardashian.

Justine Marjan’s interest in hair all started with a bowl cut. In the ’80s, at 4 years old with hair all the way down her back, her mom took her to get what she thought was a trim — and she left the salon with it all chopped off.

It was traumatizing, in hindsight, but from that point on, Marjan was obsessed with beauty. At just 12 years old, she would flip through magazines with friends after school, pulling out trends they could re-create on each other. “I remember really vividly we were like, ‘We have to do an icy, snowy makeup look for winter,'” Marjan told POPSUGAR.

When the flat iron came out when she was in middle school, she knew she had to have it. “That was a life changer for me because I have naturally poofy and frizzy hair,” Marjan said. “If you look in my yearbooks before the flat iron came to market, everyone had poofy hair in all of their photos, and then all of a sudden, everyone had straight hair.” She would get up every morning before school and flat iron her hair for hours trying to get it just right: “Of course, it was still a mess in the back, but I enjoyed doing it.”

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