December 2004: Olympic Gold Medalist DeeDee Trotter
Try this hair fantasy on for size: You see a great head of Super-Hair, and you long to get your hands on it. But when you get close, the woman turns and runs away -- at such a blinding speed that you can't catch her, no matter how hard you try. When it comes to a few women, this is not fantasy. They have The Hair, and they can fly with it.
DEEDEE TROTTER is one such woman, whom we discovered while watching the 2004 Olympic Games. She turned professional after Athens, foregoing her senior year of track and field at the University of Tennessee. What amazed us was not only how fast this woman could move, but how she moved with an unpinned medium-length style -- hair that remarkably stayed in line through 400-meter sprints.
We made contact with DeeDee through a mistake, believe it or not. We incorrectly posted a picture of one of her 4x400 meter relay teammates under her name, on our Hot List. Trotter corrected us, provided her own wonderfully illustrative picture (above) - then was merciful enough to accept our apology, and talk at length about how she handles her hair during races. Our phone chat began with us quoting from an e-mail we received, from a woman praising Trotter's tresses:
SUPER-HAIR: "The way she let her hair fall when she got in the starting blocks then tucked it behind her ears........ we all could not wait to see her run again."
DEEDEE TROTTER: Wow! That's really nice.
S-H: How would you describe your style, the one you showed in Athens? How would you describe your hair?
DT: Generally.... for a big meet, I like to run with my hair down. Basically I just kind of bevel it - and when I leave, I'm leaving with it looking good. And however it looks after I'm finished warming up.... (laughs) I just hope that it looks pretty much halfway how it looked when I left the house.
I typically just where it straight like that, when I'm at one of the big meets. I think that it's kind of glamorous. And it's kind of my thing for.... everybody has their thing that they do, like ritual-wise. You know, like Flo-Jo has the nails and Gail Devers has the nails, and some people wear a lot of jewelry.
S-H: Flo-Jo had the hair, too.... When I saw you, I thought of Flo-Jo. I wondered if you got your inspiration from her....
DT: When I think of Flo-Jo, I generally think of her one pants-leg, one arm-leg out. That's generally my idea of what Flo-Jo used to do. She was pretty fashionable. But yeah, my hair is my thing, and I like to wear it down and let it flow when I'm running, and that's generally how I like to do it. And I don't know how it stays back. (Laughs).
S-H: I'll get to that - but how long have you been doing that, and running with your hair down like that? Have you always done that?
DT: I've only been running track for three years; I mean, since my freshman year in college. I think that's when I started doing it - just like for NCAA's, indoor or outdoor, kind of like my ritual: wear it down and straight at the big meets....
S-H: Why do you do that? What do you like most about it?
DT: A lot of it has to do with, I know that's going to be a lot of cameras and video and stuff like that, and I want myself to be captured in the best way. I think I look my best when my hair is down.... Another thing is that being a track runner, you lose some of your femininity because you're muscular and.... Let's just state that a lot of track runners aren't the best-looking....
S-H: No!!!!! (Both laugh)
DT: They're not the best looking. I mean, we don't have a lot of great-looking female athletes in athletics at all. There's only maybe a handful....
I think some people get into the mode, like.... they come out there and no, they don't comb their hair, or they don't do their makeup, or they don't do anything. They just come out there and run. And there's nothing wrong with that, because if that's what it takes for you to get the job done, then by all means, do what you do. But I think I like to try to be as feminine as possible. I like to be who I am on the track, as well as be the same person that I am off the track. And I'm a really girlie girl, so (laughs) I try to bring that to the track.
S-H: Do you wear your hair that way when you're off the track?
DT: Um-hmm. My hair is actually naturally curly. I actually relax it to make it straight like that. So when it's not relaxed, it's just really curly, but I still wear it down.
S-H: Anything you dislike about having your hair that way?
DT: When I'm running?
S-H: Or at any time.
DT: Hmmmm - sometimes it blows into my lip gloss. (Laughs)
S-H: I've heard people talk about that.
DT: If the wind catches it from the wrong angle, it blows right into your lip gloss.
S-H: When you started running with your hair down.... I guess.... you had to test that to make sure it would stay in place, right?
DT: I think I found that out.... in practice one day or something. I didn't have to.... test it, when it was back up....
I think generally when I'm running, the wind from me running pulls my hair backwards - throws it back. So no matter which direction the wind is blowing, the hair will always blow backwards. So I'm guess I'm kind of lucky about that. I pull it behind my ears just so it won't be in my face when I'm starting.
S-H: I was going to ask what was the biggest problem you faced keeping your hair in place. I know you would have to put it back, to make sure it stayed.
DT: I think it stays back when I put it behind my ears just temporarily, until I start running. I think it stays there because it's somewhat wet from sweating. So when it's wet, it's heavier. And it kind of stays there for a minute - you know, briefly. And then when I take off, it just flies everywhere, but it stays pretty much behind me. It has good control. It has really good control.
S-H: I noticed that. That's what impresses us. We love hair that stays under control, no matter what. And for you to do that in a 400-meter race, going - I did some math on this - like 18 miles an hour. That's impressive.... We were going to ask what treatments you use to keep your hair in place. You say you relax it?
DT: Yes, I use a relaxer....
S-H: Any particular one?
DT: I usually use Soft n' Beautiful. I don't use any oils or anything. I use a flatiron to bevel the ends. And I use a cream called.... Pro-spective. It's like a cream, it's a like a lotion.... But it allows your hair to have body, without weighing it down. It shines.
S-H: So what is your routine in getting ready for a race? Say, if you're on the tour.
DT: When I go to a meet, I usually relax it, maybe like a week before I go. Then.... before the meet, it takes me less than 30 minutes to get ready. I just part it in sections, then bevel each section.... put a little lipliner, lipstick on, and that's it.
S-H: You say your hair gets in your lip gloss. Does your hair ever get in your eyes in public, in a race?
DT: No, I've never had that problem. And actually, by the time I get ready to run, most of my lip gloss is gone. (Laughs) I don't have that problem, either.
S-H: What would you say is the closest call you've had, with hair flying in your face? At the race or otherwise?
DT: I think where the wind gets a chance to catch my hair is when I'm warming up. And at that point, I may have to turn a certain direction, or I might even throw a hair bow on it until I'm finished - because in my warm-up, I stand still for certain amounts of time. And the wind might blow the wrong direction, and blow it in my face. So I'm like, 'This hair's not going to work right now," and I might put a hair bow on it. Or I just might turn the other way, so the wind is blowing my hair backwards instead of forwards.
And that's generally the only issue that I have. But.... when I'm running, it's like - not even a concern. When I leave the house, my hair's done. And that's it.... that's the last thing I do before I walk out the door. It looks good when I leave, and.... I hope that it looks good when I'm running. So when I see pictures, I'm like: 'Ooh! I thought my hair was gonna mess up, because I was sweating. It was hot. It was really hot today,' or the humidity was really high today -- like a frizzball out there. You could, you could. (Laughs)
S-H: It sounds like to me you think more runners should wear their hair unpinned.
DT: I think that as far as women are concerned, you definitely don't have to wear your hair down. Some people have way too much hair for that, or some people have really short hair - and it's 'OK, why do that?'....
I think what I was saying about femininity, it's just like: it's OK to be a woman on the track. I see a lot of these girls, and off the track they're like.... real cute, and they've got their little outfits and clothes and makeup and stuff like that. And I definitely don't mean come out there with the kind of makeup on that would be pointless, with all the sweating and stuff that goes on.... I think you should take a little time and put a little effort -- at least when you leave the house, you look OK. (Laughs)
I know a few girls that do that. A lot of the people on my 4-by-4 team are like that: Sonya Richards and Monique Hennigan and Monique Henderson (left). They all take time with their appearance, and I like the fact that they want to keep their womanly-like look.
I see that fading with women in athletics.... It's getting better now, but before it was just like everybody was roughing it. It was OK to just look rough and (laughs) like you just came out of a brawl or something.... That was really the look. My friends would ask me in high school, "Why are you wearing lip gloss?" I'm - "Because I always wear lip gloss." Why would I just stop wearing lip gloss for the track meet?
S-H: I'll go ahead and drop a name. Could Ana Guevara do what you do....?
DT: Could she wear her hair down? I really think it may be just way too thick and too heavy.... Her hair's a lot longer. I just think it would just be everywhere. I don't think her ear could support that. (Laughs) Her hair looks a lot thicker and a lot heavier, definitely longer, so I mean she may have a problem with the weight, being able to hold that much hair behind her ears....
S-H: What advice would you give someone who wanted to develop a Super head of Hair, like you have?
DT: No blow-drying -- those are cursed. (laughs)
S-H: NO blow-dryers!?
DT: I do not use blow-dryers. I haven't used a blow-dryer in many, many years. And it took me a long time to figure out why my hair would grow, and why it would break, and why it would get damaged and split-ends and all this stuff that just is accelerated with the heat of blow-dryers. So I think blow-dryers are like Kryptonite to hair.
S-H: I love it! Kryptonite.... We like to ask women who you consider to have the best head of hair you've seen.... in track and field or anything.
DT: In track and field - I'm not sure of her last name, but her name is Brenda (Taylor, left) and she's a 400-meter hurdler, and she has really nice hair.
S-H: OK, all right....
DT: But I mean, I have to be conceited and say I think I have the greatest hair. (Laughs)
S-H: She said humbly.... she said modestly.... (both laugh) You versus [Yuliya] Nesterenko, the (100-meter runner, left) from Belarus. Who wins the race, and whose hair holds up longest?
DT: She's running the 100. If she was running the 400, I win. If we were running the one, she'd win (laughs).... Different events, so whichever event we were talking about would determine the winner. And I think my hair would clearly just be the better one.
SUMMARY: DeeDee impresses us in several ways -- with her hair-holding ability, the care she puts into the style, and the confidence she projects that the hair can stay in place under pressure. Put all that together, and we think many Hair Fans would want to watch her fly down the track. And maybe a few would be tempted to try to chase her down. We'll root for her on the pro track tour - and add a blow-dryer to that fantasy.
(P.S. Only as we finalized this article did we discover who really wrote those words of praise at the start of the interview. It was Trotter's mother! We can understand how thrilled she must be with her daughter -- from the strong hair to those speedy legs.)
Super-Hair Q&A Archive:
September 2004 - Jamie Colby's Industrial Flip
July 2004 - Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Adrianna Butler
April 2004 - Susan McGinnis Goes Longer
March 2004 -- Bonnie Behrend
February 2004 -- Debra Messing's Stylist, Luke O'Connor
December 2003 -- Bonnie Bernstein, Crown Award Record-Breaker
November 2003 -- Kienji's colossal curls
September 2003 -- Aimee Myer, Aspiring Teen Model
June 2003 -- Deborah Gianoulis, Jacksonville Journalist
May 2003 -- Allison Curran, 2002 Best Hairstyle in Athletics
February 2003 -- Danae DeMasi, 2001 Newcomer of the Year
December 2002 -- Shannon Oliver of "The Bachelor"
October 2002 - Carolyn Hughes
August 2002 - Lynne Russell
June 2002 -- Eva Chavela, Rock Singer
April 2002 - Susan McGinnis, Best Bangs/Best Short Hair 2002
December 2001 - Rachael Nama and the "Locklear Look"
November 2001 - Onnie Willis, NCAA Gymnastics Champion
August 2001 - Yolanda Davis and The Flip
July 2001 - Miss Georgia 2001, Emily Foster
April 2001 - Cindy Hernandez's Cut of Controversy
November 2000 - Gina Tognoni and the Swing*
July 2000 - Britney Spears "FAQ's"
May 2000 - Shania Twain*
March 2000 - Jessica Simpson*
* Interviews with expert stylists about the woman's hair.
Do you know a woman who's willing to share her secrets of hair success? Is there a particular woman you'd like us to interview? Do you have a question we should ask? Simply e-mail us: SuperHair@email.com .
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