HIGH MAIN­TE­NANCE Celebrity hair­styl­ist Jen Atkin’s world.

Celebrity hair­styl­ist Jen Atkin’s client list is like the rolling cred­its to Life­styles of the Rich and Fa­mous. She’s keep­ing up ap­pear­ances — in more ways than one.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Con­tents - By ANNA LAV­DARAS

ASLIM BRUNETTE wear­ing a full Cé­line look shim­mies out of a chauf­feur-driven Mercedes, win­dows black­ened, with a team of as­sis­tants and pa­parazzi nip­ping at her heels.the doors to Bahrain’s most ex­clu­sive sa­lon are be­ing held open by a bevy of giddy hair­dressers. Jen Atkin has ar­rived. With 1.9 mil­lion fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram, a ros­ter of le­git­i­mately fa­mous clien­tele (in­clud­ing the Kar­dashi­ans) and a back­log of new clients vy­ing for one of her $1100 cut-and-blow-dry ap­point­ments, she has a celebrity pro­file ri­valling those of her A-list clients. And be­yond the fame, there’s also the for­tune. Pri­vate planes, lav­ish gifts and ex­clu­sive ho­tels are all part of the pack­age. This for­mer sa­lon re­cep­tion­ist doesn’t just tend the hair of bil­lion­aires — she lives the life of one, too.

Don’t be fooled into think­ing this is just a Kar­dashian-celebri­ty­cir­cus spin-off.atkin was work­ing on su­per-stylist Guido Palau’s team at the Paris shows when Kim was still vy­ing for Reg­gie’s af­fect ions. toil­ing in the back­stage trenches of John G all ian of or Dior long be­fore In­sta­gram was a thing.“at that time, it was a very dif­fer­ent play­ing field — it was def­i­nitely word of mouth and stylists re­ly­ing on their clients’ re­fer­ral a lot more than they do now,” says the 37-year-old. She paid her dues, build­ing solid re­la­tion­ships with her first big clients (“I was man­ag­ing a sa­lon in LA when I met Jessica Alba about 15 years ago, and we’re still good friends today”).

The dif­fer­ence be­tween Atkin and her peers is she ad­justed faster and bet­ter when so­cial me­dia changed the beauty game.“i was an early adopter of In­sta­gram and that re­ally helped cat­a­pult my ca­reer,” she says.“i’ve seen it com­pletely grow into a huge marketing busi­ness for hair­styl­ists, so now I think it’s much eas­ier to get your work out there.”atkin has done more than just get her work out there. She now has a hair­care line (Ouai, pro­nounced the way cool French kids say ‘yes’; avail­able ex­clu­sively at Sephora); a tidy pile of prod­uct col­lab­o­ra­tions in­clud­ing the new Dyson hairdryer; and an agency, Styled, used by Mid­dle Eastern royals to book her for wed­dings. She is more than just a hair­styl­ist. Atkin is a mod­ern busi­ness­woman.

Don’t be­lieve us?this is what her Fe­bru­ary looked like:“i started in Dubai, then I came to Aus­tralia to launch Ouai, then I went to meet the girls [the Kar­dashi­ans] in Costa Rica for their fam­ily trip and then I went to New York fash­ion week, then to Doha to do

“I don’t want to get into too much de­tail, but I def­i­nitely get spoilt.”

a wed­ding in Qatar, and Paris fash­ion week, then back to Bahrain and Dubai to work in the sa­lon [she works two days a month tend­ing loyal cus­tomers at Sash in Bahrain, and Belle Femme in Dubai] and then I met Chris­syteigen in Morocco and capped off the month in New york to launch our new sup­ple­ments .” while this may sound ex­ces­sive, it hasn’t gone to her head.

Atkin grew up in a Mor­mon com­mu­nity on Oahu, Hawaii, wor­ship­ping pop idols on her mod­est TV set: Paula Ab­dul, Ge­orge Michael, Madonna. While her par­ents ex­pected Atkin to marry her high-school boyfriend and set­tle down, she had other plans.“i felt this need to pur­sue what I wanted. A friend and I packed up our Honda Civic hatch­back and moved to LA in 2000. It was very Romy and Michele,” she re­counts.this hum­ble up­bring­ing can ac­count for a lot of her am­bi­tion, but it’s also what keeps her down to earth.

Through shar­ing medi­ums such as Snapchat and In­sta­gram Sto­ries,atkin has shown how the life of a hair­styl­ist can par­al­lel the ex­trav­a­gance of her rich­est clients.“my sched­ule is so crazy that I, for ev­ery­thing, am a fly-in, fly-out,” she ad­mits.while most of us will never have the good for­tune to fly in a pri­vate jet, it’s an oc­cu­pa­tional perk for Atkin. Like­wise, su­pery­achts are noth­ing to write home about for her.“dur­ing the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val it can get a lit­tle hec­tic, and there are times when a client has got­ten a boat or a ten­der to get me to where their yacht is — that’s hap­pened be­fore.”as for ho­tels,atkin fre­quents the best of the best, hop­ping be­tween Eden Rock in St Barths, Ho­tel du Cap Eden-roc on the French Riviera, the Viceroy in the Mal­dives and her per­sonal favourite, the Four Sea­sons Ge­orgev in Paris.

Her royal fol­low­ing in the Mid­dle East may have started thanks to the cred­i­bil­ity she earned styling the Ar­me­nian hair of the Kar­dashi­ans, but she’s kept their loy­alty through her hu­mil­ity:“i mean, I live a very blessed life ... But I work hard.”

De­spite the ex­or­bi­tant wealthatkin is sur­rounded by, the level to which her clients spoil her sits un­easily with her.when pushed for de­tails on the gifts she re­ceives from her bil­lion­aire clients, she plays it down:“i don’t want to get into too much de­tail, but I def­i­nitely get spoilt.the women in the Mid­dle East are so, so gen­er­ous. I re­cently spent my birth­day work­ing in the sa­lon in Bahrain, and, I kid you not, I’ve never been more spoilt in my life.”

While Atkin’s moved on from work­ing back­stage at the shows, she still gets flown to Paris each sea­son to at­tend par­ties in her own right. Oh, and she man­ages to squeeze a few clients be­tween ap­pear­ances. “I did Kar­lie Kloss for a Swarovski event and then Ken­dall Jen­ner’s hair for a CFDA [Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica] event she was host­ing … and the next day I was with Bella Ha­did for a Sun­day Times shoot.then I kind of rushed over to touch up Gigi [Ha­did] for some­thing she was host­ing that night for CFDA, went back to Bella to change her for some­thing else that she was go­ing to, then I my­self went to the Dior Beauty party to sup­port Bella ... ” She goes on.

You know, just an­other day.

From top: in Cannes; with Chrissy Teigen; with Rachel Zoe (far left) and Kim Kar­dashian (far right); on set with Khloé Kar­dashian; with Ken­dall Jen­ner; in Palm Springs; work­ing in Dubai.

Louis Vuit­ton bag, $6400; Ma­son Pearson Large Ex­tra Pure Bris­tle Brush, $395; Ouai Wave Spray, $40; Philé blan­ket, $330, phile.com.au.

Ouai Dry Sham­poo, $37.

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