A Few Stolen Moments with Sonya Dove

Frankie Sanderson

March 7, 2022

I was so excited when Sonya said “yes” to be interviewed. The “Sonya Dove”. Not only is Sonya Wella’s color council director for North America, but also Wella’s professional global ambassador, Ulta pro team member, and Hairdreams ambassador. She’s also an educator and the kindest human being you’ll ever meet.  Sonya’s career has taken her around the globe and has had her hands in the hair of Hollywood’s most famous stars.  Throughout it all Sonya remains grounded, calm and the coolest cat in the industry!

After all her successes, trials, and tribulations, Sonya remains at the top of her game.  Her portfolio of work is one masterpiece after another.  How does one keep up? I thought I’d do a deep dive into Sonya’s world and find out how a global hair icon keeps it real and keeps it going.

I asked some rapid fire questions, not necessarily in any order, to have some fun. Here we go!

Did you always want to do hair?

No.  I wanted to be a nutritionist, but you had to do this thing called “biology.”  I tried many times but I couldn’t make the grade.  My mother in law, at the time, said “why do you want to do this?“ I told her “because I want to help people.” She then said, “there are plenty of professions where you could help people. Have you ever thought about hair?” So, that was it and I never looked back.

Was being a colorist on the top of your list?

I do all of the disciplines of cut, color, and style.  I’ll do a show or class and do all three myself.  It’s the same when I’m in the salon.

How did you find yourself in the hair world after school?

Being passionate. I’m a Taurus and once I make up my mind I go for it.  I’ll have a vision and I like to see it through to the end.  

Who has been an inspiration throughout your career?

Christopher Dove.  He is a visionary.  Christopher’s creativity was amazing!  He is a future thinker. He has that type of mind and I am an analytical mind. I can think of the steps to get there but Christopher does the vision. That’s where we work together.  Also, Trevor Sorbie. We spent a lot of time together in the 80’s and 90’s . Genius.

What would you like someone to know about you that would surprise someone?

I love house music. I’m going to a music festival in a few weeks time. I can fist pump anyone into the night.

I read that you enjoy Burning Man.  What was your favorite burner experience?

At dusk, between the late afternoon and the sunset. You can see all of the playa. You’ve got 18,000 people transform the desert space into a sci-fi/blade runner experience.  So much inspiration! Future thinking and tech people come here, it’s really quite unbelievable! The average age of burning man is 50’s to 70’s. You have to have lived life to really experience burning man.  If you’re young and you think you’re going to a rave it’s not the place for you. 

Who do you have your eye on in the industry right now?

Not a particular person but a trend.  All this virtual education like Chris Appleton and Anh Co Tran, etc. I find it really intriguing.  Someone told me 7 or so years ago when Facebook and Instagram were peaking that I didn’t have to worry about it because it was for younger people.  That was enough for me and I said “game on”!  That’s all it took. This online education has given us another realm to experience education, learning on tiktok, reels and I try my best with it.  I love watching the movement in tech regarding education.  I did two years of work in Covid and was busier than had I flown anywhere.

What was your most memorable campaign?

It was with Wella.  It was a bond builder called Wellaplex.  It’s a bond builder that goes inside bleach to protect hair while it’s lifting.  They chose me over every other hair stylist in the world.  It was an honor.  They wanted me to turn Sophie Turner’s hair from red to blonde for ‘the game of thrones’.  Sophie had years of copper in her hair.  11 years of red.  I had to explain to her it takes several attempts to get there.  Over a period of time I got Sophie’s hair light and the hair quality was great.  She appreciated me being honest with her and later told me that I was the only person that spoke the truth and did not ruin her hair.  I was able to go to her wedding with Joe Jonas.  That’s what it’s about.

What advice would you give your younger self?

To trust in myself. Believe in myself and to know that everything comes out just perfect.  I’m a big worrier.  I read a lot of self help books and have many post-it’s on my desk that say “believe”, “trust”, and “ you’re perfect as you are”.  It’s always a battle.  A daily battle/ practice. 

What are the current hair trends and where is hair going in the future?

Within one collection you have a curly afro, a short bleached blonde, a straight bob, etc. It tells me it’s about the individual and what’s best for their eye and skin color. There’s always trends; short fringes and textured, layers, movement in the hair.  Color is everything, chocolate brunettes, blonde is more pinky/ taupe blondes,  unusual blondes.  White blondes will always be there. It’s a classic. There’s always some sort of in fashion color because it’s about the hues. The pantone is periwinkle 2022.

Who is your musical influence for house?

Commercial: Swedish House Mafia

Underground: Maga

How would a budding stylist interested in runway hair break into the scene?

Follow a certain stylist with a particular style and ask to be an unpaid assistant. Write, call or dm that stylist. Put yourself out there and offer yourself up. We all started from somewhere. Never forget that someone will eventually say “yes”. Have that in your head last thing at night. Never give up. Let the universe take care of it.

Are you a dog or a cat person?

As a matter of fact I have my dog in my lap.  She’s an 11 month old puppy.  I have a pom-chi.  It’s a very cold day in Mexico and she’s got her little jacket on.  I’m definitely a dog person.

A woman after my own heart!