The list of celebrities that have Nancy Braun on speed dial is a long one. From Jane Fonda to Jessica Biel and beyond, Brauns paintbrush has swept beachy and buttery blonde on many a beautiful head. Despite the glamour and glitz of her work world, Braun remains humble and focused—a colorist with a mission to teach the art of balayage.

Braun grew up the daughter of a hairdresser in Louisville, Kentucky, and always loved being in the salon environment. What makes Braun special is that she never forgets her roots—she credits her mentors, her education, and her mother with putting her on the path and helping her find her focus.

Originally a haircutting specialist, balayage became Braun’s main focus after she saw a demonstration at a hair show, and it lit a spark that continues to burn. She and her business partner, Roy Teeluck, co-own salons in Beverly Hills and New York. With brush in hand, Braun is a fan fave at haircolor shows and education events because she makes balayage easy to learn, and she backs it up with real-life success. —Karie Z. Bennett

Q&A

What time is your alarm set to wake you up in the morning?

5 30 a.m.

What’s for breakfast?

Cafe mocha and egg-white omelet.

First item you like to cross off your to-do list?

Texts.

Which do you check first: email, Facebook, Twitter or voicemail?

Email.

What time do you go into the salon?

8:45 a.m.

How much time do you spend at the salon?

9 hours a day, Tuesday through Friday.

What’s for lunch?

Shake, or a peanut butter power bar for a quick fix between clients.

Who do you wish you could have lunch with?

Oprah.

What’s your daily fitness ritual?

Spin or personal trainer, sometimes yoga.

Biggest waste of time on a daily basis?

Facebook.

What do you do when slacking off is an option?

Workout or watch bad reality shows.

When do you get your best ideas?

On the massage table.

What would surprise people about you?

I can do a mean set of acrylics.

What’s for dinner?

II Picolino, best restaurant in West Hollywood.

Do you cook? What’s your favorite meal?

I don’t cook, and I’m a pizza-holic.

How do you unwind

Hot bath and meditation.

What time do you go to sleep?

Around midnight.

What career would you have tried if you didn’t become a colorist?

Stand-up comedienne or geologist.

What do you love about your life?

Every facet from salon owner, to colorist, to educator, and most important mentoring future hairdressers.