09/14/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
Some of the hottest cuts in Nashville have the same lyrics: snip, snip, snip. That's the siren song of hairstylist Maria Smoot, 39, who draws a Who's Who of country stars to the Mirror, her salon in a two-story blue brick house on Nashville's Music Row. "She has this great way of making you feel beautiful no matter how bad you might feel inside," says Mary Chapin Carpenter. Adds Trisha Yearwood: "I never have to worry about bad hair days when Maria's around."
For Smoot, a Kentucky-born former Army brat and waitress, "The idea is that natural can be glamorous. I like hair to look soft and free; I like to see it move." Travis Tritt, Pam Tillis, Rosanne Cash, Hal Ketchum and others have all sought the Mirror image. (A basic cut costs $25 for men, $40 for women.)
Looks aren't everything at the shop. "I go in just to get the Maria vibe," says Yearwood. "It's like a little sanctuary." Smoot establishes the tone, sipping cappuccino from a Mason jar and chatting easily with clients. The three stylists she employs—Loren Haston, 29, Paige Simmons, 23, and Debra Wingo, 34—are also her longtime friends. "There's a great spirit to these women," says Ketchum. "You feel it when you walk in the door. They like what they do, and they're good at it."
Smoot says her celebrity clients never ask her to close the shop for a private session. "They're not that way," she says. "Besides, when your hair's wet, nobody knows who you are."