Industry icon Sonya Dove prioritizes inspiration, education and mentorship for her stylist community. As Intercoiffure Color Council Director for North America, Wella Professionals Global Ambassador, Ulta Beauty Pro Team Member and Hair Dreams Ambassador, Dove is passionate about sharing her knowledge with professional hairdressers at all stages of their careers. Among her many recognitions, Dove includes the Leo Passage Award for Education Excellence (Intercoiffure 2018), Icons of Color Award (Intercoiffure 2014), Industry Ambassador Award (Wella CONNECT 2014), Master Hairstylist of the Year (North American Hairstylist Association 2010) and the International Icon of the Year (National Cosmetology Association and Professional Beauty Association) as highlghts.

Sonya Dove

Sonya Dove

When not on stage, Dove can be found backstage at New York Fashion Week, producing photo shoots, film wig work (most visible being “Hunger Games: Catching fire”), or working with celebrities, like actress Sophie Turner who Dove helps to transition from red to blonde and then back to red for various roles.


Born and raised: Born in Manchester, England, raised in Devonshire, Southern England.

Known for: Color first, then cutting and styling, as well as motivating and inspiring stylists to be the best they can be in life. I teach in an authentic and honest way for the betterment of others.

I would love to makeover: The Queen of England .

Favorite item in my wardrobe: A black and gold traditional evening dress I brought in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Favorite accessory: A hard black felt Matador hat. I love wearing hats and I have a lot of them which I wear on vacation.

If I had not become a salon professional, I would be: A nutritionist. This was actually my first choice, but I could not get the grades. 

Most people would be surprised that: I am a Burner (go to Burningman) and I have a passion for going to Curated Music Festivals in the nature where you eat amazing cuisine, dance and meet people that have a zest for life.

My guilty pleasure: Maltesers, and soft, runny, stinky cheeses.

For inspiration:  I look at mother’s nature natural beauty whether it be locally or in another country. Lakes, forests, canyons, waterfalls and deserts – all of it.

Best advice: Believe in ME and trust in ME.  Failure only exists when you don’t attempt something.

My best vacation: This is hard as I have had so many incredible ones as I love to travel but Iceland because I saw the Aurora Borealis!!!

Every beauty professional should: Understand what a difference they can make in each person’s life and never look at it as a job. 

My secret weapon: I have a slight rebellious side to me. If someone tells me “it’s not for you, Sonya,” it makes me more determined to conquer this challenge. That’s what happened with social media. Someone told me I was too old and it was for young people. All I thought was GAME ON!!!

I relax by: Being in the nature without cell service and no distractions.

Shout out to someone that helped me along the way: Christopher Dove.

My goal as a professional: To let the world know that this is the most incredible industry with endless opportunities to meet fabulous like-minded people.  I would love to increase the amount of students going to cosmetology and then to lift and Inspire stylists that have burned out.

The coolest look I ever created: A color pattern on a models real hair that was a color bar code - 15 years ago.

I became a salon professional because: It was my passion to work with people. I find that everyone I meet has something to contribute.

I am most proud of: Being successful in this industry because I failed at every subject in school, including art which was the opposite of my siblings. This was difficult as I was the eldest and had to set the example.

For fun: I love to go dancing to house music. Nothing is better to me than a fabulous meal, wine and great company.

Most favorite place: San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. I just built a house there and I am going to do “Inspirational Retreats” there in the future. It is so easy to get to.

Favorite styling tip: Always break hair into segments when doing an updo. Just go one step at a time. The perfect analogy is “it’s like building a house.” Otherwise it can be overwhelming.

The one tool or product I use most often: Wella Blonder Powder lightener.

The talent I would like to most have: Remembering the names of people I’ve met! I would also love to have a good singing voice so that I can sing along to tunes without it being off key. I love karaoke.

The one word I use a lot is: Amazing.

My motto:  Be the best you can be in life not only for yourself but also for others. ALWAYS give back to yourself as no one else will do it for you.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.