When did you launch your business? What is the message behind your brand?
I’ve been doing hair for nearly 15 years and have been working as a freelance artist in LA since 2015. I’ve been working with an amazing hair accessory company, Kitsch, with a capsule collection of #kitschxjustine hair accessories since 2018. I think I’ve used my platform to empower women and give them the skills to embrace their beauty and have fun with their hair. I love to post hair tips and tutorials and my collection of hair accessories are as low maintenance as can be. Each piece can be mixed and matched with other pieces in the collection for a look that is truly unique and represents your individual style.
What were defining moments in your career that taught you the biggest lessons?
One of the biggest defining moments of my career was taking a risk and moving to LA. I knew no one in LA, had no connections, and was leaving a successful career behind to pursue my goal of working with celebrities and becoming a freelance artist. It was a really tough decision for me but ultimately I trusted my gut and my whole life fell into place when I got there. I worked really hard, reached out to people I admired, and ultimately climbed my way up from assisting. The biggest lesson I learned was to be nice to everyone, help everyone in the room, and never think you’re too good for something. One connection led to another and I was able to build my career through social media and word of mouth.
Sometimes we're all BAD MUTHAs (as we should be). When did you go against traditional advice that propelled you forward?
I’ve gone against traditional advice in almost all aspects of my life! First I didn’t go to college, which was insane to my immigrant father, and instead pursued a trade. Then when I started a freelance career, I decided not to sign with a traditional agency. Instead I asked for representation from a team of women I admired that were doing amazing things on the brand side, and who still represent me to this day. We joke that I pursued my career backwards, working with brands first and then the clients, where most artists do it opposite. In my personal life, planning a home birth has been something unconventional that I’ve been drawn to. I’m pregnant with my first and had to really convince my husband that this was the right choice for me, and now he couldn’t be more supportive.
"DON'T BE AFRAID TO CREATE YOUR OWN LANE - THERE'S NO BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS."
We all need a champion. Who in your life has consistently supported you?
My husband has always been my biggest cheerleader. We always say that your partner should be your biggest fan and I feel so lucky to always feel so supported by him in all aspects of my life. He always encourages me to take the big job, to travel, and to do what I need to do in my professional endeavors. He gets up with me when I have an early call time and will make me juice and coffee and he’s always there to help in any way I need him. We’ve been together 10 years and have grown and changed so much throughout the years, but there’s truly no one that knows me better or believes in me more.
Reverse that. Who in your life do you support without judgement?
In my own life, I hope to support my future child without judgment. It’s probably been my biggest goal as a mother and something that my husband and I have had the most conversations about. I want my son to feel empowered to be whoever he wants to be and I hope we can be supportive in their choice of self expression. I did a lot of things unconventionally in my life and I want to be able to support the growth of my son in whatever ways he needs.
Rewind. What is the best advice you’ve received throughout your life?
The best advice I’ve received is to trust the timing of your life. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others or beat ourselves up if we haven’t accomplished something, but I really like to believe that everything happens when we are ready for it. Our journey can’t be compared to someone else’s as we are all on our own paths.
Fast forward. What insight can you give to aspiring women in their careers who want to be a leader in their space?
My best advice for aspiring women is don’t be afraid to create your own lane. There may not be someone out there doing exactly what you’re doing, or you may choose a path that looks different from someone else’s but that is ok. There’s no blueprint for success and you can absolutely do things your own way.
How do you like to MUTHA yourself and ensure you still have some 'me' time?
I’ve really tried to let go of comparison and trust that my journey may look different. There will always be someone doing more than me, working harder than me, more beautiful or more successful than me, but that doesn’t take away from my own accomplishments. In the past I may not have allowed myself to relax, unwind, or actually take care of myself because I was so focused on being productive at all times. Pregnancy and covid have really taught me to slow down and be okay with not always accomplishing something. Taking care of ourselves mentally and physically is far more important than all the professional pursuits we could accomplish in the world. If we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. I personally love to read, do yoga, go for long walks with my husband and dog, take epsom salt baths, watch a movie, cook, and spend time with family.
What is your secret to managing career and all other aspects of life?
There’s absolutely no secret to managing career with other aspects of life. I think it’s something all women struggle with. I think something really pivotal for me was when I realized you can have it all, but just maybe not all at the same time. It’s okay to shift focus during different phases of your life and that doesn’t mean you can’t pick right back up where you left off!