The Expert

Jenny Cho

The hair artist to the stars on red carpet glam, hero haircare, and the experts she relies on herself


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Greta Lee at the Met Gala 2024

@jennychohair // Instagram

First off, how was the Met?

It was probably one of my favourite Met Galas yet! I’ve been involved for over 10 years. My first Met was in 2012, with Carey Mulligan, who wore the most amazing gold and silver metallic Prada dress. The theme was ‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.’ The year after that I worked with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and so it went on! 

It’s just a really exciting day for everyone involved, from the designer to the seamstress to the glam team and the client. This year, I worked with Greta Lee, her stylist Danielle Goldberg, makeup Nina Park, and Jonathan Anderson creating for Loewe. It’s a real collaboration. Jonathan had a very clear vision of how he wanted Greta to look. But when it came to her hair, we pivoted the night before! Jonathan felt that because the dress was so delicate and soft and weightless, he wanted to see Greta with a boyish crop, not so fairylike. Greta was open to cutting her hair a little but I thought why don’t I wake up early tomorrow morning and go and find a wig. I found one at Helena’s in New York - the last of its kind and in the wrong colour! Luckily my colourist saved the day, and I styled into a choppy, mullet-type look, channeling Stella Tennant. Greta was so supportive, cheering me on from the sidelines. That was so helpful because if she was nervous, and everybody was on the edge, it would have been hard at such a late stage! Of course we always make it work, but that really gave me the extra confidence to execute it. 

Carey Mulligan at The Oscars this year was another huge moment.

I’ve known Carey since her very first starring role, in An Education. She’s probably my longest standing client. We’ve been through a lot together - I was one of the bridesmaids in her wedding [to Marcus Mumford]. We have the best time together - it's like family time. 

It was really special to work with her at this year’s Oscars. Obviously working with anyone who is nominated for their work is amazing, but for it to be her, and with that Balenciaga dress - it was exquisite. That really inspired us, Nina Park and I, to create the glam. There was a great energy in the room that day - Carey was so happy, she’d just had her baby. 

Carey Mulligan for the Oscars 2024

@jennychohair // Instagram

Jenna Ortega for Mafame Figaro Paris

@matthewbrookesphoto via @jennychohair // Instagram

How would you describe your aesthetic? 

I hate to be pigeonholed but my aesthetic is something that is always very subtle. But it could be subtle in a way that a woman feels very strongly about. I try not to repeat a look as each of my clients are individually so different and I know their personalities and what their comfort levels are. I’m always exploring that process of if they’re ready for me to push a little bit further this time. One thing that I do best is an organic look, one that feels lived in. Generally speaking I always try to create a sort of sensuality so that the client feels confident and pretty and chic. 

Any changemaking moments in your career?

When I got a job! And the clients that I dreamed of working with were requesting me. The cover of Vogue with Jennifer Lawrence and the Dior campaign with Jennifer Lawrence and Jenna Ortega were big moments for me. But honestly every year I feel like there's been an opportunity that comes my way that is bigger than ever. I feel very grateful and lucky. I seriously could cry about it.

Who inspires you.

It was my first hairdresser, whose name I can't remember because I was in high school, who really set me on this path. I would ask her so many questions about why she was doing what she was doing to my hair. She said you need to go to Vidal Sassoon, who had schools in Santa Monica, London, all over the world, and he is who you want to learn from. So that’s what I did! It opened this whole new world. So Vidal Sassoon was the first hair icon that I looked up to. Then people like John Sahag, Garren, Frederic Fekkai, James Pecis.

The best piece of advice you’ve been given.

You’re only as good as your last job. That really stays with me and keeps me at a place where I don't take anything for granted. When it comes to that moment of creating something for a client I know that my work has to be something that is created from the bottom of my heart.

Jenna Ortega at the Dior SS24 show

@jennychohair // Instagram

Carey Mulligan's classic look for the Oscars 2024

@jennychohair // Instagram

Any day-to-day advice for keeping hair looking its best?

I believe in scalp care. Everything starts with scalp health, encouraging growth and stronger, healthier, more resilient hair. My friend has developed a gorgeous hair supplement called Burgeon which I recommend to promote healthy hair. It’s about the internal and the external. I think a lot of people pay attention to the repair but if you shift that mindset to be more preventative, you’ll notice a long term difference. Like sunscreen. So heat protection spray is a must if you’re someone who uses hot tools a lot. 

What haircare hero products will forever be in your kit?

I love an oil or cream to always keep your hair in good moisture condition. The Frederic Fekkai glossing oil is really great as it’s not too thin, which can leave the hair greasier. It’s thick and you only need a tiny bit to run through your hair from the ends to the mid shelf and top, and it creates this really nice gloss - the hair moves beautifully. Then I cannot live without my Oribe Superfine Hairspray. If I'm low in my kit, I freak out. It’s amazing for all the curling and flat ironing that I do. It also smells amazing! Lastly, I have this one product that I use in my hair too - it’s the Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream and it really takes away the frizz and adds this softness to the hair and protects from humidity. My hair is wavy so I'm always looking for a cream that does it all. It really defines my waves. That is my go-to forever! 

What does your morning routine look like?

Before anything else, I go downstairs and make my coffee. It’s a ritual to me, grinding the beans. I get up an hour before anyone else and that’s my quiet moment to ground myself. Then things get a little hectic, getting my 9-year-old son up and out the house! Then I’ll go to the gym or walk the dog. I’ve recently started weight lifting, as I’m almost 50 and every doctor is saying how important muscle mass is at a certain age. But I’m not a freak about working out, I'm also very lazy at the same time. Busy and lazy - not a good combination!

The experts you rely on.

My agent is like my second brain! Her and my family support everything I do. In terms of wellness, I see Dr. Patti Kim regularly. She’s a naturopath acupuncturist. She does acupuncture on my face. It’s amazing.

Sofia Richie at Milan Fashion Week

@jennychohair // Instagram

Ana De Armas wearing custom Louis Vuitton

@gregwilliamsphotography via @samanthamcmillen_stylist // Instagram

What does beauty mean to you.

Beauty is all about being really comfortable in your own skin, knowing who you are. And I respect someone who respects their body - takes care of themselves. That to me is beautiful.

On the wishlist this summer.

I haven't had a vacation like this in a long time: my husband, son and I are going to Japan and Korea for three weeks this summer. I’m turning 50 this year and I wanted to go somewhere really inspiring and far, far away. Korea, my homeland, and Japan, where I’ve only been for work, have been on my wishlist for a long time so I’m making it happen!

Up next.

This month, I’ll be travelling to Barcelona for the LV show with Ana De Armas and then there's a job in Monaco with a client going to Formula 1. That's for May - who knows after! More traveling which I love doing.


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