I’m a TCK and a Celebrity Hairstylist

Ted Gibson - standing

Although he was known in celebrity circles beforehand, stylist Ted Gibson really gained notoriety for his skills with scissors and shears when he joined the What Not to Wear team on TLC – a television show that revamps nominated people who deem themselves as folks with no style.

Superficial on the outset, it winds up being a moment of growth for the person, typically a mother who has neglected to do something nice for herself, or a woman who met her weight loss goal but still hasn’t gained the confidence to show off her new body.

As a hairdresser, Gibson is one of the last stops on the show and gives the person’s hair a makeover, completing the process.

“A lot of women don’t know how incredible they can be and how incredible they can feel,” Gibson said of the ladies who sit in his chair.

The show ended in October 2013, but he’s still busy as ever. With two namesake salons open the W Hotels in New York City and Fort Lauderdale, he travels the country with his husband, Jason Backe, to promote their brand and to beautify the tresses of movie stars, models and celebrities.

And all that airplane and passport action is nothing new for Gibson – the son of a U.S. Army soldier, Gibson moved “five or six times” (let’s be real, all of us TCKs forget) as a kid. In that time, he lived in Japan, Germany, Hawaii, and always returned to Killeen, TX, the home of Fort Hood.

How old were you the first time you went on a plane?

I would say I was about 5 years old.

How has being a military brat impacted you as an adult?

It helped me to adapt to different situations very easily and rapidly. I don’t think that I would necessarily have the same experience – especially the field that i’m in – and really understanding different forms of beauty. Our tagline is “Beauty is Individual,” so for me it’s about individual beauty, how that translates. Most people think of beauty, they think of one aspect of beauty. You could be 5’2″, a size 6 or 12, 18 or 24 – to me, it doesn’t matter. There’s something that I can find within you to help bring that out. I would say that having that experience of moving around so much really helped me in that.

And you still travel.

I love to travel. I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling, like going to Barcelona with Cameron Diaz and the Cannes Film Festival with Lupita Nyong’o. So I think that being able to move that often helped me to understand about travel.

Did you pick up the language in Japan or Germany?

Not really. We lived on post [on the military base] so I didn’t really have that opportunity.

Your husband grew up in Minnesota, not moving around like you. How do you two differ, how are you the same?

Jason is still friends with people that he knew when he was a kid, and I don’t know anybody from when I was kid because my dad was in the military and we traveled every two or three years. But our parents were together. Our parents are strict in the way that they want respect, and that they were mom and dad and they want that respect. Both of our backgrounds are similar in that respect.

What was the hardest thing about moving around?

I’m an only child; I actually have a half sister that is 18 years older than I am. I would say the hardest is not necessarily knowing where we were going to be in two or three years. But at the same time, it helped me to, again, adapt to different situations. I didn’t have that stability or that constant situation, because I didn’t know what was going to be constant. The only thing I knew that was constant were my mom and dad.

With the pros and cons of being a TCK, would you do it again?

I would do it all over again.

Originally published in Denizen magazine.

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