Gabby Douglas bows to pressure over hair controversy and books top celebrity stylist
The 16-year-old double gold medalist has approached Ted Gibson, a New York-based hair stylist
Mr Gibson, who appears on the reality series What Not To Wear, also tends to the locks of Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway
The Olympic star attracted controversy after critics claimed her ponytail looked unkempt during her gymnastics performances
20:39 GMT, 16 August 2012
Gabby Douglas' hair was one of the most vigorous talking points during the Olympic Games after many claimed the double gold medalist's look was unkempt.
Now, it seems the 16-year-old gymnastics star has succumbed to the pressure sparked by her critics, reaching out to a celebrity hair stylist to tend to her locks.
In an effort to silence those critics once and for all, the teen has booked appointments with Ted Gibson, a New York-based hair stylist who has worked with Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway and Ashley Greene in the past.
And judging by the extremely sleek locks Ms Douglas has showed off during a string of television appearances this week, Mr Gibson may very well have worked some of his magic already.
Controversy: Olympic star Gabby Douglas, whose hair sparked a social networking war during the recent Games, has booked a celebrity hair stylist to tend to her dark mane. Critics claimed her hair looked unkempt
Before and after The Olympic star seen in London (left) and a sleek look just two days ago in New York (right)
The flying squirrel's team of managers and agents approached Texas-born Mr Gibson, who owns the Ted Gibson Salon in Manhattan's Flatiron district, last week.
It was right before the athlete commenced a jam-packed publicity tour that saw her appear alongside Michelle Obama on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as The Late Show with David Letterman among other programs and activities.
Mr Gibson, who also serves as a hair expert on the TV show What Not To Wear, charges $950 for a cut and style at his salon and has even provided services to Ms Jolie's seven-year-old daughter Zahara who was born in Ethiopia and adopted by the mega star and Brad Pitt in 2005.
The hair stylist admitted to The Daily Beast that styling Ms Douglas' hair will prove challenging, telling the website: 'It's tricky because Gabby is 16 and I don't want to do anything to make her look 25 years old'.
Star: Mr Gibson, who has worked on the A-list as well as on many Fashion Weeks, will care for her dark hair
Top clients: Anne Hathaway (left) and Angelina Jolie (right) are just two of Mr Gibson's A-list clients
He continued: '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.'
He further labelled the criticism over Ms Douglas' hair 'shameful'.
'I couldn't believe it and still can't,' he said. 'You have this young girl doing amazing things, and the conversation becomes about her hair It was ridiculous and shameful.'
As the teenager's mother, Natalie Hawkins, pointed out in the past, Mr Gibson believes that many of the sporting champion's critics are African-American women themselves, who are known to go to great lengths to keep their dark hair under control.
Busy: The athlete approached Mr Gibson last week ahead of her public appearances including visits to The Late Show with Jay Leno (left), The Late Show with David Letterman (middle) and Good Morning America (right)
Superstar: Ms Douglas appeared at a taping of The Late Show with Jay Leno, showing off her sleek new locks
Popular: The Flying Squirrel, as she is affectionately referred to, became one of the Olympics' biggest stars
'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 said. '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.'
Critics had taken to Twitter to express their disapproval over the star's hair.
They havd argued that her dark locks should in fact mimic the tight,
ballerina-style bun that gymnasts usually tuck their hair into.
One user wrote on Twitter: 'Gabby
Douglas gotta [sic] do something with this hair! These clips and this
brown gel residue aint it!'.
Another posted: 'In Olympic news, why hasn't anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas' hair'.
To which a further user replied: 'That's an Olympic sport too!'.
The attacks were suspected to play their part in Ms Douglas' less-then-perfect performances after she had become the first African-American U.S. gymnastics competitor to win the all-around title in the sport.
Cruel: Twitter users had claimed that the teenager's hair looked unkempt when she performed at the Olympics
Another comment: Users believed that Ms Douglas' hair required more care than what she had put into it
Big impact: Mr Gibson believes the comments took their toll on the star. She fell off the beam on Day 11
Mr Gibson believes the controversy surrounding her hair had a huge impact on her performance.
He said: 'I believe all that talk had to take a toll on her. How could it not You've worked so hard for something and then people tear you apart for little or nothing.'
The stylist added that he hopes to help the teenager 'feel good about being in her own skin'.
'Women know coming to me is a soothing and nurturing experience that compliments the styles I give them,' he said. 'It's about the hair, and then it's about much more.'
Mr Gibson's work has appeared in the pages of several prestigious magazine titles including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Marie Claire and W.
But he said he is looking forward to working with Ms Douglas in particular.
'I'm excited because she's so young and I have a chance for input in the brand of Gabby,' he said. '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.'