Jen Atkin, Mary Phillips & Justine Marjan Building Talent Agency

Jen Atkin, Mary Phillips and Justine Marjan have created a new talent management company.

Called Highlight Artists, the agency will represent Atkin, Marjan and Phillips, in addition to men’s groomers and a hearty roster of hairstylists and makeup artists.

“We all have history and we’ve all worked together in the industry,” Atkin said of Marjan, her former assistant, and Phillips, with whom she first started working with more than a decade ago. “We’ve put our flag in the ground as celebrity hairstylists and makeup artists, and I’ve always found mentoring and teaching craft, bedside manner and professionalism to be so rewarding for me.”

Phillips added that three former assistants have also joined the Highlight Artists roster, and that she regularly passes on jobs to them. “I love watching them flourish now and doing a lot of my clients when I can’t,” Phillips said. “It keeps it all in the family, and I can tell them what the client likes or doesn’t like.”

All three agreed that the nature of the business has changed, with the industry becoming more collaborative than competitive, and with social media growing in importance for hair and makeup professionals.

“We grew up in such a competitive time when it was pre-Instagram and everything was about word-of-mouth recommendations,” Atkin said. “Not only can we teach craft, but now, you also have to be a social media guru: take the right picture, write the right caption and make sure you’re tagging the right people.

“It was a natural next step for us to create a 360-degree agency where we’re not only representing talent for bookings, but also doing brand partnerships and helping create these artists as brands themselves,” Atkin added.

That sentiment was echoed by Marjan, who said the goal was to build “a community where we’re all supporting each other, mentoring the younger stylists that are newer to the field, and giving them opportunities.”

Highlight Artists represents Hayley Heckmann, Irinel De Leon, Kathleen Riley, Amanda Lee, Shelley Gregory, Dina DiPietro, Seinree Du, Sabrina Porsche, Cherilyn Farris, Caylee Jolene and Mitchell Ramazon in hair; Diane Buzzetta, Shelby Smith and Kristine Studden for makeup, and Shenise Sheena, Brittany Sullivan and Paige Pelfrey for both areas. Pelfrey, Du and Sullivan also work as men’s groomers.

“We are in one of the few fields where you need a true apprenticeship. It’s the only way you learn how to be a part of it,” Marjan said. “It’s a hands-on craft. That’s what we get to teach our rising talent in our agency.”

SOURCE: Women’s Wear Daily

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