Sandra Madjdi is an Iranian-born immigrant who has built a successful business as a stylist and image consultant here in Miami…she’s worked with names like David Justice, Clinton Portis, David Ortiz and former Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson. MiamiMan caught up with Sandra to talk about her success and what makes her stand out in a bustling fashion city.

All I know about fashion is my wife likes when I wear blue because I have blue eyes. I’m 6’4”, and I weigh just under 210. Do you have any fashion tips?

I do…try lavender for your color! It would definitely nail it to where you will see the difference. 

Can you review for MiamiMan’s readers everything you do?

I’m a full image consultant. I do hair, makeup, and wardrobe, but my focus is the entire image of the whole.

I’ve built a strong clientele, and I continue to, but the pandemic happened. I had a storefront and a studio, and we had to close. I moved my business into the garage in my home, and I’ve been operating there.

I’m a member of a not-for-profit called Fashion Group International. Recently I’ve been nominated and chaired as the Regional Director for South Florida’s chapter.

Currently, I am working on coming out of this setup and opening another storefront.

I read that you attended a football game in Washington, and that sparked your interest in styling athletes.

Dad took me over 35 years ago, and I fell in love with the sport and everything to do with sports. I started thinking, these guys are in these boring uniforms, do they ever dress up? And if they do, why not me?

My first client happened to be [former Redskins RB] Clinton Portis, then my career just evolved from there. Actually, it started before him, with David Justice. That was very brief, I was working with his then-fiancée, and with them as a family.

I’m a great “manifest-er”. I was like, “I want to work with this sort of person, and I will do everything I can to flood the network of my community, to put it out there.” And God just brought him to me, a very serendipity kind of thing.

Your family is from Iran. When did you move here?

We initially moved in 1979, but my mother was missing home. We were on the last flight back to Iran when the hostages were taken. We circled in the air for three days. We went to Turkey, to Pakistan, back to Turkey and then we finally landed in Iran.

Our passports and travel documents were taken, and we were forbidden to leave the country. Because of political and religious reasons, we became exiles to a convent in Northern Italy. We were there for almost two and a half years, then we came to the U.S. in late 1984.

You started in NYC?

We landed in Northern Virginia; I went to college in Virginia. I graduated and went to New York at 21.

I did every job possible, working in a hair shop, working in major department stores. I was schlepping around clothes, scissors, makeup cases. There was no Uber, it was me and my MetroCard.

What would you say your big break was?

I think when I realized what AOL meant. I started emailing people, and they were like, why is she emailing? I was like, I want to create a business. I have a clientele and the power to do so. That was in 2007, and right when I said that I landed my biggest client. 

I was like, wow, I can do this!

How would you describe #TheSandraEffect?

Everything that you’ve wanted to try, say, do, or be, I come in and tell you it’s okay. I guarantee you, at one point in our journey together, I will help you allow yourself to be free of some of those fears.

Style is deeper than clothes and skin. There’s a whole different side of it. I am the architect of that.

Can you describe your image consulting process?

I’ve always treated people as people. You are sharing your vulnerability; I am not going to tear it down. I’m going to give you that being your next strength. We dive deep into what you want, your dislikes, and why did you choose to work with an image consultant?

For me, it’s relationships, that relationship with every product and entity that touches them, that clothing, the hair product, or the new style they’re adopting.

You had Lewis Brinson perform exercises to become comfortable in his own skin. What are some exercises you do with people?

One of them, it’s ridiculous, but it’s true. I make people write three positive statements each day for six weeks in a journal, that has to do with a body part. Just stand naked in the mirror, and not judge yourself. You’re just looking at yourself and saying, what am I fighting here? Is it really my body, or my insecurity?

That’s interesting!

Try it! And people pay me to say that, so you’ve just gotten a free lesson! (Laughs.) You’re gonna find something really incredible about yourself, I promise you.

You’re also training other stylists. What is the most important thing you teach them?

To be authentic and true to themselves and that client. And trust the process. Nothing is given to you. Wisdom is earned by experience and failures and triumphs.

Contentment is your biggest failure in life. It’s incredible, as a teacher, a mentor, a business owner, a mother, and a wife, to witness how much we, as the human race, thrive on contentment.

Do you think Miami is the ideal place for what you do?

I think right now, God has me in the right place at the right time, for the right reason. I’m very much a woman who follows quickly to His lead, and I know I’m here for this moment in time in Miami.

I’ve been here for 13 years, and in just the last five years, seeing her grow from being just a boutique, Riviera-type thing of the U.S., to now being a possible competitor in the fashion game and competing with New York.

It’s a beautiful city. It’s grown, and I’ve grown a lot too.

Sandra thanks so much. My wife thanks you for the lavender advice!

[Laughs.] You’re welcome, anytime! 

Photos courtesy of Sandra Madjdi