Aug 16, 2012 02:09 PM EDT
Gabby Douglas has suffered unnecessary ridicule for her less-than-glamorous hairstyles despite the fact that she's an Olympic gold medalist at only 16 years old. The gymnastic wunderkind's gelled-back ponytail didn't please much folks. Naysayers posted vicious comments about her hair on Twitter and Facebook; some even took it to YouTube ripping the young girl to shreds. But like a champ, Douglas brushed it off. "I don't know where this is coming from. What's wrong with my hair? I'm like, 'I just made history and people are focused on my hair?" said the first-ever African-American female Olympic gymnast to win all-around title.
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Now, Douglas will truly get the last laugh. Ted Gibson, hairstylist to Angelina Jolie, Gabrielle Union, and Anne Hathaway, will now tend to Douglas' hair needs. The hairstylist tells the Daily Beast, how offended he was by the attack on the young Olympian. "You have this young girl doing amazing things, and the conversation becomes about her hair? It was ridiculous and shameful."
Gibson also notes that the majority of Douglas' hair haters are African-American females, many who have issues with their own hair and image. "Women of color spend millions and millions of dollars on their hair to look good, so we know how seriously we take the issue of hair," he says. "Oprah Winfrey told me once when I was on her show that 'our hair is our crowning glory.' I have to say I agree with Oprah."
Douglas and her team reached out to the celebrity hairstylist last week in efforts to cease the negative hair comments once and for all. Gibson, who charges nearly $1000 for a cut and style at his salon, hardly works with teenagers but is thrilled to style Douglas. "It's tricky because Gabby is 16 and I don't want to do anything to make her look 25 years old,'' says Gibson. "Together with her vision, I hope we can create something that's easy and looks great no matter what she's doing or where she is. I hope to create something that makes her feel good about herself as well. That's so important and a big part of what I do for all the women I work with."
Although Douglas brushed off the backlash, Gibson doesn't believe the teen was completely unfazed. The Olympic gymnast did not perform her best during the latter portion of the Games. She even fell during her balance-beam routine. Gibson thinks that the negative comments overwhelmed the champion. He wants to help regain her confidence back.
"I believe all that talk had to take a toll on her,'' he says. "How could it not? You've worked so hard for something and then people tear you apart for little or nothing. My job in working with all women from all walks of life is to not only to give them this amazing look but to also work with them to feel good about being in their own skin. Women know coming to me is a soothing and nurturing experience that compliments the styles I give them. It's about the hair, and then it's about much more."
"I'm excited because she's so young and I have a chance for input in the brand of Gabby,'' Gibson continued. "There are so many opportunities for someone like her to shine, and I get to be part of that on the ground floor. It's pretty cool.''
Douglas' image is sure to go through an interesting transition. The gold medalist has already made TV appearances. On Monday night she appeared on The Tonight Show with first lady Michelle Obama. Next, she will be appearing on Oprah Winfrey's Next Chapter on Aug. 26. With Douglas being America's gold-winning sweetheart, it's only a matter of time before she graces the covers of magazines - with a flawless hairdo no doubt.
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