Dorothy Hamill Hates Her Hair

by Denise Maher • Member

Phone interview by Denise Maher

Q:First of all, you made a hairstyle famous, but you also made it cool for women to have a practical look that allowed for an active lifestyle. Looking back, how does that make you feel?

DH: It still surprises me because I always hated my short hair. My mother would run around the house with a comb trying to brush my hair and I never let her so that’s when she said, “ok, we’ll just keep it short” because I had tangled hair. I just find it really quite humorous that people copied my haircut, the haircut I had. As an athlete, skating all the time, being able to wash and wear hair was really important to me. I found I tried to grow my hair but for my life, it’s just not practical, having long hair. And of course, as we age, everything changes, the bones get a little stiffer, the skin changes, so trying to remain healthy and keep the great skin I had, trying to keep it hydrated and keep fit and eat properly, all of those things are some of the tips we’ve put together for this.
Q: I think you helped make it easier for women to work out publically, perhaps because they’re less concerned about messing up their hair or skin. Do you think women today are better equipped to deal with chapped skin and sweaty hair?
DH: Absolutely. There are wonderful products now so we don’t have to have chapped skin. But I think there’s something nice and very fresh looking about when you just come off of a work-out, whether it’s skating or basketball or tennis, or whatever sport, jogging, to sort of have this ready, sweaty messed-up look. We have things now that we didn’t have when I was a kid growing up. First of all, we didn’t have Title IV I know Peggy Fleming opened a lot of doors for me and hopefully I’ve opened a few doors for others.  Really, there’s nothing like seeing someone who’s just worked out and there’s no feeling like it in the world. As hard as it is to get out there and do it, it just feels so good once you’ve done it. Yeah, I think it’s okay for women to feel like that. Of course, I’m much older than you and more your demographic and I’m a subscriber, its great that your magazine provides all this information so we can be right up to date on everything that’s known and hopefully have healthier, longer, lives. Longer, but healthier as well.
Q: I’m curious to know if, as someone who’s been in the skating world for so many years, if you are curious to see any of the “older”, maybe non-American women skaters who are coming out or coming back. Is there anyone you admire for sticking with it for so long?
DH: Sasha Cohen. You said non-American but Sasha is the one who comes to mind because she just competed at the US nationals and she didn’t qualify for our Olympic team, but she’s been out of that competition, the world competition, for four years but she came back and was just stunning. She didn’t do everything she needed to and she made mistakes – that’s why she didn’t qualify. So when you say older, in figure skating at the elite level, 26 is really old. So those of us who don’t compete at that level – you know, move it or lose it I always say. I’m mentoring a young lady, Rachael Flatt, who is our US champion, she’s 17! So she has her whole life in front of her. I mentioned Peggy Fleming opened so many doors for me, Billie Jean King, she really started the whole women’s sports, it’s okay to be an athlete. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not feminine and beautiful and care about makeup. There’s something very beautiful and fresh and sexy about being young and athletic
Q: So there’s really no Dara Torres of figure skating right now.  DH: No, there’s not.
Q: What about someone like Lance Armstrong? Are there any breast cancer survivors or athletes that have competed after an illness, Olympic athletes, that you admire?
DH: Not in figure skating. I think I’m probably the oldest. I’m probably the oldest breast cancer survivor, Peggy Fleming doesn’t skate anymore but she had breast cancer. Most of the women who are athletes that have had, Scott Hamilton of course, but most of us are too old to compete at that level. And we’re pros. In our days, we were amateurs and once you turned professional you couldn’t compete at the eligible status anymore. So most of the youngsters are too young, not that you can be too young to have cancer, but most haven’t had to deal with those kind of problems.
Q: One more very important question. I would like you to tell me about your skate camps because I looked at the pictures online and I thought, “These have got to be MORE readers!”
DH: Last year I had an adult figure skating fantasy camp for the first time, and I wanted to keep it small because we wanted the ratio of students to coaches very…one-on-one virtually. We had a blast. It was Randy Gardner, Peter Carruthers and then my two coaches and choreographers. We had five days sort of what it’s like in a fantasy world, to live the life of an ice skater. It’s in Nantucket and we’re doing it again this summer so go to my website and check out the figure skating fantasy camp. The only requirement is that you have your own skates. We take any levels, beginners. It would be fun to have MORE readers come join us!

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