I don’t even know where to begin with this chick. Not only is she one of my dearest friends, but she’s got talent radiating from her head to her toes. The best part about it? She's humble as hell. It was only obvious that she was next up on the docket for talented up and comers. When she speaks about something she loves, she’s got serious passion and that is something truly admirable. Not many people can make you feel as intensely enthralled about a subject you previously had no interest in, but this girl can tell a story and the entire room will want to know more about it. Who could it be? It’s the bangin’ Miss Jessica Cook, duh. I initially met Jessica when she was working at Ulysses Salon in downtown Salt Lake City, but she’s been all over the map since then. Lucky for us she’s sharing her love for the outdoors and her passion for making others feel and look beautiful the entire way. Currently residing Los Angeles, she works at a charming salon in Echo Park called Neighborhood Salon. Aside from her incredible talent in hair and makeup, she’s also got style for days and days. Whenever I visit LA she’s always more than willing to lend not only a place to sleep, but she’ll do your hair, your makeup, and if you’re lucky like me… you get to raid her closet. This girl is a gem unlike any other, and now, I get to share a little bit of her with all of you.
UM: When did you realize you wanted to be a hair stylist/makeup artist?

JC: This sounds silly, but I love it because it’s real. Once upon a time when I was about 13 or 14 years old, I was approached on the street and told to come into this salon because they could show me some great ideas with my hair, this is a move that any good hairstylist should be pulling!! Not only can it up your business, but you never know who you are about to effect in a life changing manner… haha! For real. In this case, it was me. A few days later I found out that a girl in school that I highly looked up to, had been going there to get her hair done. I was literally so insecure at that point in my life as any young teenager is, and decided to save the money to go to this "high-end" salon downtown, at that time for me this was a pricey endeavor, I REALLY HAD TO SAVE. It took me weeks to do so, and really I had no idea about hair or any possibilities that could go with it. I walked into the salon extremely shy, timid and mostly intimidated.  Everyone looked so good, stylish and put together, with ideas and creativity I had never witnessed before. So… with the mousiest brown most hideously styled hair ever I sat down. I had absolutely no concept of fashion at this point, and kind of constantly got made fun of at school for it. I felt awkward all the time, and never knew how to change it, my parents were busy at work trying to get us kids to a better place, and my siblings were older and always seemed to have fashion/friends come naturally, so I just did what I could to keep up but never really knew how to put myself together like all the other girls at school. The first time I got my hair done, not only did the salon treat me great, teach me a few style/make-up tips, but they asked me to start hair modeling for some of the hair shows that they would put on for Redken. This changed my life, it made me feel better about myself from then on out. I gained so much confidence just from some simple tips and a new style.  When I started modeling in hair shows, I learned that I loved the creativity and energy behind stage, the freedom of expression. It all was very magical to me. About a year or two later after religiously going to that salon, and being featured as a cut and color model, I decided that I wanted to be able to make others feel the same change or magic that I did in themselves. I started to hang out at the salon watch & assist. When I was 16 years old I got a job at Snowshack and started saving up for hair school, I haven't stopped since.  

UM: Do you prefer one to the other and why?

JC: I have always loved doing hair a bit more than make-up, I love them both so much, and I absolutely adore seeing a final product when I have had the pleasure to do both. I think that my passion is rooted in the hair industry though. It’s a wonderful thing that has lead me to such beautiful art forms such as make-up, but I will always have that deep rooted seed that was loving the hair industry that got me started in this whole bundle of love.

UM: Do you enjoy working in a salon or working on editorial projects more?

JC: I couldn't answer that to save my life. If I knew it would probably make me breath a bit easier on the daily. I am obsessed with both. I love the energy and the feeling of a killer photo-shoot or wrapping on a commercial or video. But I absolutely live for helping someone walk around feeling a little bit better about how they're looking. Not that hair is always needed for that, but when it is... I want to be there. I love the control of cutting hair, and the science behind coloring it and nothing feels better than finding a good salon to call home, because believe me.. it’s hard to do. When you do have a positive environment to work in, and are able to share your passion with talented individuals who have a constant desire to grow and create, it a damn wonderful thing.

UM: What matters to you most working as a hair stylist/mua?

JC: When everyone, including me is happy! 

UM: What is your favorite/least favorite part about your job?

JC: It’s a hustle, and it can be inconsistent. I loved that about it the first 6 years, but as I am getting older I am finding that I appreciate balance more and more. Correct me if I am wrong, but… I think that’s every artists complaint. 

UM: What's been your biggest accomplishment so far? 

JC: I had 3 big goals at the start of all this, it was living in NYC and/or LA, and getting nominated for NAHA (North American Hair Styling Awards),  I have now accomplished all 3 of those things. I get hyped whenever I think about all of that.

UM: What are your favorite products?

JC: Right now I am into Davines! It’s all-natural, has a great back story, a wonderful color line, smells damn good… and just all around does what it says it will do. Who doesn't like that? Oh, and the Oi line by Davines, it’s magical. 

UM: Do you have any hair tips for our readers? 

JC: Right now, let loose a bit. Keep it maintained but step out of your box. 

UM: Do you have any major goals as a hair stylist/mua?

JC: Always!! I am genuinely working on upping my freelance game so that I can start working more out of NYC & LA, not just primarily LA, which has been the past year. I'm also discussing entering NAHA again, if I can conjure up the time for that before the deadline, I will. A long-term goal is to start school for chemistry at a university to take things to the next level on the science side of hair, but that won’t be for a minute. I feel that I still have a lot that I would like to accomplish in the industry before I send it that deep. I will absolutely go for it when my bod has had it on my feet! :)

Works of Art By Jessica Cook

*Photos taken by Jorden Keith and Jozef Mitchell 
Awards season is truly the greatest time of year for a girl like me. I’m sure I’ve said this over and over but from a very young age I’ve obsessed over it and watched shows like The Golden Globes and The Oscars year after year… I remember specifically one year I had done something that got me into some trouble (what it was, I don’t remember), but my punishment was that I couldn’t watch The Oscars. The fit I threw was RIDICULOUS. I mean seriously, ground me from my friends? Fine, but ground me from watching The Oscars? It was downright criminal. Anyway, I’ve put together my best dressed list from The Globes last night with some major babe contenders. Take a looksee at my favorites and tell us who yours were!
Emma Watson in Christian Dior
Emma Watson in Christian Dior
Kate Beckinsale in Zuhair Murad
Olivia Wilde in Gucci
Margot Robbie in Gucci
Lupita Nyong'o in Ralph Lauren
Emilia Clarke in Proenza Schouler
Lizzy Caplan in Emilio Pucci
Emma Roberts in Lanvin
*All photos have been credited