Owner/Stylist, P!ay Hair Lounge, Simi Valley, CA

Licensed: Simi Valley School of Cosmetology, 1996
First job: Model for Clairol at the Long Beach show as a student
Clients per week: 40
Price point: $250 average for cut & color
playhairlounge.com, brigvanosten.com
Women of Style: Brig Van OstenWhy did you choose beauty? After watching me tragically experiment on myself through my teen years, my mom suggested it. Just 10 months of school appealed to me.

Milestones: Getting my work published in 2000; opening P!ay Hair Lounge in 2006; winning Shear Genius 3 in 2010

Big break: Nova Salon Systems & ISO gave me a stage to set foot on. Guest artist and stylist extraordinaire Francie Sorem gave me a hand up, and plenty of pointers.

Career advice you’ve received: Failing is not ever trying.

Career advice you’ve given: Stop at NOTHING! Don’t listen to anyone who has a negative point of view of YOUR goals. Kindly let them know that they are wasting their breath.

Your mentors: The amazing artists that surround me in this industry and in the design world—unique pioneers that unknowingly mentor and inspire me through social media and magazines.

You mentor: A handful of stylists at P!ay, a few more at other salons and a cool group of international stylists and students that have reached out to me through Facebook after being inspired by my determination on Shear Genius 3.

Are there benefits to being a woman in beauty? Unique opportunities exist for all in our industry if they are willing to work hard. As a woman, I find I am able to relate to my clients.

Are there challenges for women in beauty? No. I have loved seeing more women take the stage for manufacturers over the last decade, though.

Risk and lesson: I took a huge risk when I opened P!ay five years ago. I have learned a priceless amount of knowledge about running a business and about human nature, including my own.

What does “work/life” balance mean to you? Finding that balance was hard for me. Why not add clients to the beginning of the day and also to the end? I learned the hard way, through being run down, that sometimes you have to say NO. My life outside of the salon is always creative, so sometimes the two worlds blur, and that’s fine by me!

If a woman new to the beauty industry wanted to follow in your footsteps, she would have to: Set high goals. Write down a plan. Go for it. Stop @ NOTHING!

Famous woman you would like to style: I’d drop back to 1921 and cut Louise Brook’s bob! What a powerful era for women.

Next change to my personal style: Honestly? Drop a few pounds.

Reading: Atomic Ranch Magazine. I love Mid-Century Modern style. My home was built in ’51.

Playlist: I just bought 2 new CDs—Young the Giant and Cage the Elephant

Every day, just for you: I eat a bowl of cereal. Breakfast is important.

Working on: I have a photo shoot coming up with Skye Bryand, the winner of Pravana’s Show Us Your Vivids contest, which I judged. In 2012, I have more TV work coming.

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