When U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas, 16, fell on the balance beam at the London Olympics, it was amid a firestorm of criticism about her hair. Now, the teen athlete has a new player on her team: celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson.
Douglas’ new hairstylist believes her struggles in performing that day are to blame on the negativity she had been dealing with at the time, with people focusing more on what was on top of her head than the record-breaking gold medal she was wearing around her neck.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Gibson said, “I couldn’t believe it and still can’t. You have this young girl doing amazing things, and the conversation becomes about her hair? It was ridiculous and shameful. I believe all that talk had to take a toll on her...you’ve worked so hard for something and then people tear you apart for little or nothing.”
New York-based Gibson, who is one of the most sought-after hairstylists in the business, has fashioned the locks of everyone from Angelina Jolie to Demi Moore and Anne Hathaway. He has now added Douglas to his A-list client roster after her team reached out to him following the hair controversy.
As TODAY.com reported, both Douglas and her mother Natalie Hawkins went on the defensive when criticism about Douglas’ hair being “unkempt” and “embarrassing” began.
Hawkins defended her daughter in several interviews. She told Fashionista.com that Douglas lives and trains in Des Moines, Iowa, and that there isn’t one black hair salon in the area. “We had to work really hard to find a stylist to come and do her hair...It’s really been African-American women that have come out and attacked her. They don’t know about gymnastics. She has to keep her hair in a ponytail 28-30 hours a week."
Looks like the search is over for Douglas, and as she does her post-Olympics round of interviews and appearances she can count on Gibson taking care of her locks.
Gibson, who is African-American, said he works with people from all walks of life, and that he is looking to give Douglas something that looks great whether she’s on the street or flying through a set of uneven bars. “I hope to create something that makes her feel good about herself as well,” he said. “That’s so important and a big part of what I do for all the women I work with.”
No word yet on what Gibson and Douglas have in mind for her new ‘do, but Gibson has said he isn’t planning on giving her just a new style. “It’s about the hair,” he said, “and then it’s about much more.”
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