Meet Mia Santiago: Ohio Native Turned A-List Hairstylist on NYC's Upper East Side

Mia Santiago

Ohio native Mia Santiago (@miasantiagohair) fell for hairdressing after watching Sally Hershberger on an episode of Shear Genius. So, she did what many aspiring stylists do: enrolled in school, headed to New York City and landed an assistant gig. Many long days and haircuts later, Santiago has become a sought-after stylist at Sharon Dorram at Sally Hershberger on New York City’s Upper East Side, and finds herself styling loyal clients in the salon and A-listers on photo shoots. Yet, despite her great success, she remains in hot pursuit of her next big dream.

Aha Moment

I was living in Las Vegas and saw Sally Hershberger on Shear Genius. I knew I wanted to do hair and work for her in New York. The first step was cosmetology school, so I packed my bags and headed back to Ohio. 

Training Days

I went to cosmetology school at Casal Aveda Institute in Austintown, OH. I’ve been at Sharon Dorram at Sally Hershberger for nine years, where I assisted master hairstylist Tim Lehman for four years and received my advanced education with renowned hairstylist Mary Brunetti.


Claim To Fame

I’m known for updos and cool, effortless hair. One of my proudest professional moments is working with Mariska Hargitay. She recently got bangs, so be on the lookout for the new 'do! 

Social Butterfly

Instagram is my go-to. I can spend hours gathering new ideas and trying them on my clients or friends. Jen Atkin is one of my biggest inspirations on Insta. She is a serious boss lady with a cool, chic style. 

Words To Live By

“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”—Jim Carrey

Tool Kit

Go-tos are my Hot Tools 1 ¼-inch curling iron, Creative boar bristle brushes, Shu Uemera Texture Wave, Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam and the Dyson Blow Dryer. 

My Mentors

Brunetti and Lehman taught me so much—being an assistant is so important and I encourage everyone to do it. Another is my friend, renowned eyebrow specialist and makeup artist, Robyn Cosio. She told me to pretend my goals are a ball, then throw the ball. Once you reach it, throw it farther. When I set a new goal, I think, how far can I throw the ball this time? 

Bright Future

I plan on continuing editorial work and being in the salon, but my new dream is to be a brand ambassador. I threw the ball pretty far this time. Who knows where it will land once I catch it. 

Shu Uemura

Photography: Courtesy of Mia Santiago Hair