Jen Atkin gets candid about her success story

When the New York Times called Jen Atkin "the most influential hair arbiter of our time," the celebrity hairstylist recalls the surreal moment as one that has changed her life.

"I get goosebumps every time anybody talks about it. It’s so crazy, I don’t even know how that happened. It was so weird, it happened right before OUAI launched and honestly that changed my life. You are talking about all of the major moments in my life. It’s totally something I’ll never forget and one of those things you have to frame and have in your office," Atkin told AOL exclusively during an NYFW Disney celebration for Minnie Mouse’s 90th year anniversary.

Jen Atkin has come a long way since growing up in a Mormon household in Hawaii and fleeing to L.A. at age 19 with just $300. Before launching her best-selling haircare brand, OUAI, Atkin was working in a hair salon which eventually led her to John Galliano through the people she met. 

"So, I started doing hair for John Galliano when he was at the head of the house of Dior. It was incredible. I got to go to Shanghai and actually be there for Paris Fashion Week and be in his VIP tent with Kate Moss and Anna Wintour. I learned so much from him and his partner, Alexis Roche, they are amazing! Oh, my god, that was eleven years ago and that was my first entryway into the fashion world."

From Met Galas to Cannes to global Vogue covers, Jen Atkin has been an essential part of modern-day's most iconic beauty moments. Her roster includes every member of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, Kaia Gerber, Chrissy Teigen, the Hadid sisters and Adelle, and she is constantly expanding with Hollywood's elite. Atkin's career has brought her around the world and back but her busy schedule and world-tour lifestyle don't necessarily give her time to reflect on all of her accomplishments. 

"I swear to god; I do not remember anything if it’s before two or three days ago. I just took a staycation and my husband forced me to sit and just go through photos. I don’t have time to ever really stop and really reflect. That for me was actually amazing because it’s weird, I don’t think we ever stop to think about the big things that got us to where we are now."

One of the most impressive elements of Atkin's success is her fan-base and massive Instagram following of 2.5 million. Jen has become a celebrity in her own right and even counts Adelle as a fan of hers.

"I remember going to cut her hair and she was like "why do you have this cape with ‘OUAI' written on it," and I said "that’s my brand!" and she goes ‘shut up!’ and had our products in her bathroom. I’m the biggest [Adelle] fan, she’s so cool and her makeup artist is the greatest. She’s the ultimate goals and her concerts are so fun, she’s so funny!’

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Jen Atkin out and about
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Jen Atkin out and about
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: (L-R) Mario Dedivanovic, Jen Atkin and Marianna Hewitt attend the #MinnieStyle Suite celbrating Minnie Mouse's 90th Anniversary at Nomo Soho Hotel on September 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Disney)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 08: (L-R) Mike Rosenthal, Jen Atkin, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend The Daily Front Row's 4th Annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 8, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Daily Front Row)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 08: Honorees Emily Ratajkowski (L) and Jen Atkin attend The Daily Front Row's 4th Annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 8, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Daily Front Row)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 08: Honoree Jen Atkin (L) and Kris Jenner attend The Daily Front Row's 4th Annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 8, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Daily Front Row)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Jen Atkin seen and about in SoHo on February 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 16: Jessica Alba and Jen Atkin attend Refinery29's HER BRAIN Insights Series Presentation at The Honest Company Headquarters on February 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Refinery29)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JUNE 18: (L-R) Rachel Zoe, Emma Grede, Kelly Sawyer Patricof, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jen Atkin attend the BoF West Summit at Westfield Century City on June 18, 2018 in Century City, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion)
CULVER CITY, CA - JULY 11: Jen Atkin attends the Finery App launch party hosted by Brooklyn Decker at Microsoft Lounge on July 11, 2018 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Finery)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: Jen Atkin and Camila Coelho attend the Lancome x Camila Coelho launch event on September 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Lancome)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Tv personality/model/author Chrissy Teigen (L) and Founder of Ouai Haircare, Jen Atkin at the Create & Cultivate Los Angeles conference in the Simon G. Jewelry Green Room on February 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Create & Cultivate )
CALABASAS, CA - JUNE 25: Founder and She-E-O Jen Atkin attends OUAI And Jen Atkin Personal Appearance Event At Sephora at The Commons in Calabasas on June 25, 2016. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Sephora)
CALABASAS, CA - JUNE 25: Founder and She-E-O Jen Atkin (L) and Khloe Kardashian attend OUAI And Jen Atkin Personal Appearance Event At Sephora at The Commons in Calabasas on June 25, 2016. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Sephora)
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