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A Discussion With Sharon Dorram “Colorist To The Stars” On Finding Balance In Your Life

Sharon Dorram – colorist to the stars – is known for creating beautifully natural color reminiscent of children’s hair. A legend in the industry, her signature coloring style is low maintenance and down to earth, creating just the right shade for everyone who sits in her chair. Whether it is the perfect baby blonde, a […]

Sharon Dorram
Sharon Dorram

Sharon Dorram – colorist to the stars – is known for creating beautifully natural color reminiscent of children’s hair. A legend in the industry, her signature coloring style is low maintenance and down to earth, creating just the right shade for everyone who sits in her chair. Whether it is the perfect baby blonde, a deep mahogany brown, or a fantastic cedar red, you can spot Sharon’s signature look from a mile away. Her roster of clients has included everyone from Barbra Streisand to Renée Zellweger, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Priyanka Chopra, Hillary Swank, Marlee Matlin, Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet, Meg Ryan, Linda Evangelista, Candice Bergen, Kevin Kline, Edie Falco, and Christie Brinkley.

Sharon graduated from Bennington College in Vermont and followed her love of the arts to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and Winchester School of Arts in the United Kingdom. Her artistic eye and color sense led her to train under Louis Licari in the late 80s followed by stints with some of the world’s most prestigious stylists, including John Sahag, Oribe, Frédéric Fekkai, and John Frieda.

Throughout her career, Sharon Dorram has been a spokesperson for various hair care product companies including Matrix and Nexxus. Sharon is also an ambassador and spokesperson for Virtue Labs.  In the late 90s, she was named the Creative Consultant for the John Frieda brand. Additionally, Sharon has formed close relationships with many of the most important beauty directors and editors in the industry, including Glenda Bailey of Harper’s Bazaar.

In early 2009,  Sharon collaborated with celebrity stylist Sally Hershberger to open Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger in the beautiful and exclusive townhouse on the Upper East Side at 17 East 71st St.

What made you choose to go into (industry)?

I was straight out of Winchester School of Art, Winchester UK and was waitressing in NYC to help pay for my rent. In addition I was working for my father’s architectural firm as a draftsman. I started dating this devotee of Vidal Sassoon and he said I would make a great colorist. I remember asking “what’s a colorist?”. I had studied weaving in England and was obsessed w/fabric color and textures. It was completely foreign to me at the time but I walked myself into hairschool after 4 1/2 years of art school (Bennington College, FIT and Winchester School of Art). I owe my career decision to a wonderful man named Richard Principe. He was obsessed w/hair, Vidal Sasson and Rick Pippino (who worked at the time w/Edward Tricomi).They were rock stars of our industry.

What do you find most challenging about your career?

The most challenging part of my career is waking up at 5:00am but once I’m in my car and driving to work, I love my commute. I love the mornings before work, the peace, the quiet, the stillness before the chaos begins. I start my days at 7:30 am

What is one piece of advise you would give someone starting out in your industry?

The best advice I can give anyone starting in this business is you have to LOVE what you do. For me work is not a 4 letter word and if it is it is P L A Y. I love what I do, I love my staff and most of all I love my clients. I live by these words “Hard work pays off”.

If you could change anything about your industry what would it be and why?

I would really love to see my business pull together and not compete against each other. I’ve always had great relations w/my competitors: John Sahag, Oribe; Frederick Fekkai; John Barett. I am always so disappointed to hear hairdressers backstabbing each other, bad mouthing each other and trying to poach each other’s business. I live by the law of abundance….there is always more and enough for everyone.

How would your colleagues describe you?

You would have to ask them but I’ve remained friends with many of my colleagues for decades. I am very loyal and I believe in generosity. To me loyalty goes a long way. I’ve had the same assistants for more than 15 years. I think that speaks for itself.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

I am definitely a very disciplined and at times extreme person. I like to be ALL work when at work and then when I leave I flip a switch and wear a different hat. My family is everything to me. I am completely as devoted to family time as I am to my work. I love the balance, ying yang. I feel so complete as a result. I steal away for a simple mani pedi or make time for a swim, to meditate or for our favorite family walk w/our daschund “Daxi”. I wouldn’t change my life for anything.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

Undeniably my phone….texting!!

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

My hardest obstacle is happening now, COVID-19. I am so determined to bring the business back to NYC. I love working in Ct. as it is close to home but SDSH is my family, my baby, my home in business. The clients are everything! They are so supportive and loyal. We are getting ready w/PPE precautions. Like 9/11 we will bring it back!

Who has been a role model to you and why?

Trish McEvoy was the catalyst for me early on in my career, my mentor. There was no one more positive, more generous of spirit and with more boundless energy. She taught me never to say no. I learned from her how to be successful and to create a family of clients and staff who stand by you no matter what happens. She is an amazing force, so hardworking and passionate. I hope I imbibe those attributes.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Louis Licari who I trained with said to me early on “Hard work pays off”. I have lived my career and life by those words.

What does success look like for you?

Success in business looks like…

My entrance to my beautiful salon above the Row every morning I walk through the black iron gate doors. I’ve worked with every A list actor in Hollywood from Barbara Streisand to Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kevin Klein, Meg Ryan, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, Linda Evangelista, Hillary Sawnk,Priyanka Chopra, Candice Bergen, Stephanie Seymour and many others.

All that said real success for me looks like my two children who I never cease to admire as my miracles.

What is one piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?

Work is all about passion. The day you find yourself only caring about the end goal….$$….that’s the day to consider retiring. I love what I do. I love helping people feel better about themselves. My motto is Everything is fixable and the more specific a client becomes the easier my job becomes! I live by this “there is no mystery in hair color”!

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