Star stylist and salon owner Ted Gibson’s mantra is, “Nice guys don’t
finish last.” Here, he shares how he proved it to the world.
Whether in the salon or working at Fashion Week, always listen to the client, says Gibson. Who he’d most like to listen to during a week alone: Nelson Mandela.
Hairdressing leads to exciting international travel, says Gibson. Here, he styles Academy Award-winning French actress Marion Cotillard in Morocco.
Asked how others habitually describe him, Ted Gibson says proudly, “As a nice guy.” He pegs himself as “shy.” How then, did he end up working runway shows for the likes of Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, styling the pinnacles of star power (Angelina, Anne Hathaway), hosting TLC’s What Not To Wear and planning 2011 platform shows across the country? Respect, discipline and knowing what he wants, says Gibson.
A former “army brat,” Gibson learned appreciation for diversity at an early age. His biggest influence was his mother, who taught him respect. His most powerful memory is when his father made him play baseball in Japan.
“I didn’t want to do it but I ended up being really good at it,” recalls Gibson. “Sports taught me discipline.”
Flash forward to the Texas native’s U.S. return. When he saw the car, clothes and success a hairdresser friend had he asked about the profession, and his pal told him, “Do it; you’d be great.” It was later, says Gibson, that he learned how “beauty changes lives,” also the name of an organization for which he is spokesperson.
A Beautiful Career
Gibson spent several years at Aveda, which led to fashion, editorial and runway work; he never wanted to be a “celebrity” stylist—back then it had a stigma. When a culture shift made it a must for doing magazine covers and he styled Angelina Jolie, his entire career changed, he says. His New York salon was followed by a product line and a Washington DC salon, where “the new administration made it a better place than LA to make a difference.” Gibson plans a Ft. Lauderdale location next, in the W Hotel.
Ted Gibson and Angelina Jolie share a moment. “Keep your fist open; not balled-up; what you give always comes back,” he says of success.
Gibson styles actress Anne Hathaway.
A fitness aficionado who exercises daily, he immensely enjoys how his own celebrity dismantles stereotypes.
“When I’m with Angelina, people think I’m the body guard,” he laughs, “I tell them ‘no, that’s a hairbrush in my pocket.’”
With his 2011 platform shows, Gibson hopes to help other stylists eclipse his $950 cuts. Anyone can do it, he says: get known by the local press, focus on service (not yourself), set key goals, be clear about what you want and assist a mentor.
A mentor himself now, he works with Year Up, an organization that “closes the opportunity divide,” by providing urban young adults with technical and professional skills, internships and college credits.
“Now, it’s about me giving back,” says Gibson. “I want to be an example and show young people an incredible, creative career alternative to corporate life. I love what I do; it really does change lives.”
Ted's Surprising Secrets
His Wonderful World: A loner and professed “Gleek,” (fan of TV’s Glee) Gibson says if he hadn’t been a hairdresser, he’d have been a singer— “Sam Cooke!”
Best Read: The Art of War
Guilty Pleasures: “Watching The Little Mermaid and Mulan.”
Fave Inspiration: Classic films