Road to Red Carpet Stylist: Jill Crosby’s Journey to Success
By Katie Harrington
This is Jill Crosby, a celebrity stylist whose clientele has included some of the biggest names in Hollywood (think Cindy Crawford, Amy Poehler, Ellen Degeneres and Diane Keaton). Jill routinely cares for the tresses of some of the most high-profile stars in the industry. But you’d never know it—the stylist behind the 18-hour workdays, high-pressure photo shoots and long days spent prepping stars for the red carpet is about as affable and level-headed as it gets.
Jill has worked her way up from salon apprentice to wig maker to ultimately become one of the most sought-after artists in the business. Now, having found her true calling as stylist to the stars and spokesperson for a major hair care brand, she’s sharing her journey to success and the lessons she learned along the way.
The Right Fit
For Jill, the road to A-list stylist stardom wasn’t typical, and she admits she didn’t have a particularly ambitious start to hairstyling. “I got out of school and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do,” she says. “But I thought, ‘I’ve always loved hair, I’ve always loved beauty. Let me see if this fits.’” So Jill enrolled at Pivot Point International, a beauty school in her hometown of Chicago, and quickly discovered she had a passion for hairdressing.
Upon graduating, Jill embarked on a three-year apprenticeship with esteemed French stylist Charles Ifergan at the Charles Ifergan Salon in Chicago. There, she learned about discipline, creativity and gained an appreciation for all the unique elements of the craft. “I think that’s when I started to make some definitive connections between design, art, creativity and actually implementing that in the work that I do,” she says. “Charles also imparted on me a dedication to work ethic. I think when a stylist has creativity and a good work ethic, that’s a really powerful combination.”
A Celebrity Following
With a newfound appreciation of hair as an art form, and an interest in film and television, Jill left the Windy City to pursue a degree in wig making from the University of Cincinnati. After graduation, she took her wig making skills to Los Angeles and set her sights on a career in film. It wasn’t long before she landed her first gig as a stylist for Murder in the First, starring Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater.
“One step leads to another,” Jill recalls, “and when you’re working with actors, they talk about who’s good in the business. Suffice it to say, I was very focused on working with the best.”
Along the way, Jill’s goal was always the same: to push herself to drive her art form further. “When someone has a high expectation of you, you have to find new techniques, new tricks, new possibilities for them that make you more cutting edge,” Jill says. “That’s what has always propelled my career.”
When Life Gives You Lemons
Throughout her career, Jill has become known as a “thinning hair expert,” and there’s a good reason for this. Jill herself has thinning hair, so she gets it. She can relate to her thinning hair clients on a different level than other stylists.
“It’s funny; you know how life always offers you what you need? I always think, ‘Maybe I chose this path because I knew somewhere down the line, I’d need it,” says Jill. “Going through hair loss directly relates to self-esteem. It can be devastating, and women tend to retreat into themselves as a result of this. They’re often very scared, and I get it.”
Through her deep connection to the condition and ability to empathize with her clients, Jill is often sought out by clients and celebrities who look to her to help create the appearance of more volume. The good news, Jill says, is that there’s no one answer. Aside from styling techniques that can be used in the salon or at home to give clients fuller-looking hair, there are also treatment options. For Jill, this has always been Women’s Rogaine, which is why last year, she decided to take on the role as spokesperson for the brand.
The Next Chapter
Jill has been with Women’s Rogaine for almost a year now, and she’s just as passionate about the brand as she was when she started recommending it to her clients (and using it herself!) years ago. “It really is a magic wand,” she says. “It’s a gift for stylists to be able to offer their clients that kind of tool.”
The role has allowed Jill the opportunity to not only offer insight into the world of thinning hair and educate fellow stylists, but it’s given her a chance to change lives by empowering women and helping them feel good about themselves by removing the stigma surrounding thinning hair.
“I get to experience the profound effect this product has on people’s lives,” Jill says. “For women who have had to walk through illness, for women who suffer from hereditary hair loss—it’s been an honor to step in and help.”