Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis may be best known for her three unsuccessful Olympic appearances in 2006, 2010 and 2014. But to me, she will always have gold medal curls, no matter how she does Thursday in Pyeongchang.
She's one of the world's top snowboarders, flying down frosty mountains, twisting and flipping down the half-pipe and racing over obstacles in the snowboard cross. But in addition to her superhuman skills, she is known for her thick blonde ringlets that peek out the back of her helmet.
I first interviewed Lindsey in 2007. Unlike most of her interviews, the topic wasn't about snowboarding or the Olympics. It was about her hair.
Jacobellis has had curly hair since she can remember, but admits she wasn't always so comfortable with her ringlets.
"They were a pain -- a lot to manage for a little kid," she said in the 2007 interview. "If I wore braids, they turned into dreadlocks. I brushed my hair every night with conditioner."
Cutting it short gave the athletic kid much-needed freedom. By high school, it had grown long, making it easier to take care of. She didn't do another drastic haircut until high school, when she donated 10 inches of her long curls to Locks of Love, an organization that takes donations of hair and makes them into wigs for cancer patients.
Jacobellis says she sometimes longs for straight hair, and says it can be frustrating not to wear the latest trendy hairstyle. Her friends have straightened her hair every now and then -- a 3 1/2-hour ordeal that requires three people working on her.
"I'm limited in the styles I can do with my hair," she says. "I pretty much live on the road, bouncing from mountain to mountain."
When she's in the mountains, where the humidity is low, she says her hair is easy to work with. But during a recent surfing trip to Fiji, she said the curls turned into a big frizzy poof.
A look through her Instagram feed shows just how much her curls are a part of her identity. In virtually every photo, she wears her curls curly – on the beach, on the slopes, with her dog, at a fancy event. In fact I couldn't find one photo of her with her hair straight – something refreshing in a world where celebrities seem to grab for their flat iron the minute they get famous.
Lindsey told me that even on those bad hair days, she sees her hair as a major asset.
She is a Paul Mitchell sponsored athlete, and uses a variety of products. Among her favorites:
With her curls, she conditions a lot – both detanglers and masques. Her two favorites lines are MarulaOil and Awapuhi, which are both very moisturizing. She uses MarulaOil Rare Oil Shampoo, MarulaOil Replenishing Conditioner and MarulaOil Intensive Hair Masque because "It's super moisturizing for when I'm out in the cold." She also uses the Awapuhi Moisturizing Lathering Shampoo and and Awapuhi Keratin Intensive Treatment. Paul Mitchell The Conditioner is also a longtime favorite, along with the Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner.
One of her go-to moves is to put a conditioner in her hair the night before and she braids it. When she takes her helmet off and unbraids her hair, it's moisturized and defined.