December 2017: Jackie Zabielski, Cleveland City League Champ

Television journalists tend to be nomads. They might work in several cities, before settling down in one location. One woman who grew up in the New York area took a side trip to Ohio for a couple of years, then returned home to the Big Apple to be a news anchor. But while she was abroad, she impressed our Hair Fans in a big way....

JACKIE ZABIELSKI currently is behind the desk at Verizon's "FiOS 1" news channel in the New York metropolitan area. But her big Super-Hair moment came as "Jackie Traffic" on Twitter, when she won the Cleveland City League title in November 2013 while working as a traffic reporter for WEWS-TV. (The fact that she retweeted our mention of her in the final round to more than 1,700 followers might have helped.)

Zabielski and Super-Hair began following each other in 2015. So we thought it was finally time to get serious, and ask how she developed such seriously superb styles. Zabielski responded to our email questions - confirming a "hair crush" and a surprise or two as she did:

SUPER-HAIR: How would you describe your hair and your current style?

JACKIE ZABIELSKI: My style right now is long layers. Its a simple more relaxed look that I really feel my best with.

S-H: What do you like most about your hair? (Is there anything you dislike about it?)

JZ: I'm grateful that my hair curls and holds really easily. It doesn't take me very long at all to curl my hair into its usual style, and working in TV being able to get it done quick is a big benefit. My hair is very thin though, so it can be tough to get it to look exactly how I want it and I hate my tiny ponytail!

S-H: Have you always kept your hair at its current length? What's the shortest or longest you've ever gone?

JZ: This is close to the longest it's ever been. I have some help though, I have keratin bonded extensions. I'm sure you've heard about the camera adding ten pounds- well when it comes to hair, I find the camera takes away some glamour! Hair looks thinner, and shorter on camera for whatever reason. Add in years of teasing and dying it blonde, and my natural hair was starting to look pretty sad. I used to supplement with clip in extensions for work- but once I tried the keratin bonded extensions I was hooked! I started getting them just for volume and then added length. They look and feel just like my hair and style even easier. I love them! I try and take really good care of the hair and the bonds and get a set to last for almost five months! I've also had my fair share of chin length bobs- but short hair never quite works on me like I hope it will.

S-H:You wrote on Twitter that you've tried for years to look like Mandy Moore [left]. Is that for real - or have any other people been your hair inspirations?

JZ:Mandy has always been my hair inspiration, she is so gorgeous and the girl has got style! Through the years I have printed so many pictures of Mandy to take to my hairdresser. I had her long layered look. I had her short layered bob. I had her medium length style with flipped under ends. I had her blunt bangs that she rocked on the album cover of "Coverage". You find a Mandy hairstyle, I have a picture of me attempting it to match. I also drew a lot of inspiration from Jennifer Aniston. I had "the Rachel" in elementary school and you know that super sleek straight bob in Friends Season 7? I tried that look at least three different times, promising myself that this time I would figure out how to style it correctly. (I never really did, and super straight hair with no layers isn't a great look for us thin haired ladies!)

S-H: Do you use any special products (spray, gel, etc.) to keep your hair looking sharp?

JZ: I am a dry shampoo addict. Can't live without it. I try to preserve my hair a few days at a time and dry shampoo saves me every time. I use leave in conditioning spray and texture spray and that's about it. Too many products weigh my hair down.

S-H: You won our City League tournament in Cleveland a few years ago - but of course, you're now in New York. Have you had to make any style or preparation adjustments, with the change in cities?

JZ:I don't know if the change of cities is reason, but my hair style is VERY different now than it was then! My look is much more natural and relaxed now... I've learned to step away from the teasing comb (well, almost). I don't do as much volume at the crown as I used to; I think that look can be dated. I am a big fan of big natural looking curls or beachy waves and that's the look I find myself going for most often. Plus, when I moved to NY I found my stylist Tori- who installs and maintains my extensions- and that's made a big difference in my hair! I always had trouble keeping my hair healthy past shoulder length- so the extensions were a game changer.

Also, I found myself enjoying life in NY so much that I was dreading getting into the salon to get my highlights touched up. I let them grow out as long as I could while still looking presentable and then took a chance- I dyed my hair back to brown! My natural hair color is deep dark brown, but it had been YEARS since I embraced it. I figured a change for winter would be nice and I would see how I felt about it. I can't believe my hair has been back to my natural color for a year now! It's so easy to maintain and I love how the darker color makes my eyes look. Before I started working in TV I would color my hair all the time. Red, brown, blonde...I tried it all and was constantly switching it up. I do get antsty with my hair- sometimes I just need a change. I'm still loving my natural brunette look right now, but don't be surprised if some caramel or blonde highlights start peeking through come summer time.

S-H: One of your supporters in the Cleveland City League contest declared your hair "too perfectly coiffed.... to be true." How long can it stay perfect, once you have it just right?

JZ: Haha! Well I for one would NEVER describe my hair as perfect. I usually have one side that isn't quite right and I can never get the back to look right, ever. How do people style the back of their hair? I do the best I can every day. My trick is that I usually curl it, brush it out and then go through and curl a few pieces again. I hold it with texture spray and do my best to not touch it!

S-H: What's the biggest challenge you face, in keeping your hair in place?

JZ: The elements! Humidity, rain, heat - my hair doesn't stand a chance. I always have a ponytail holder with me in case things get really dicey.

S-H: What would you say was the best hair day you've ever had.... and the worst?

JZ: The worst was a haircut I got about 5 years ago. For some reason, the top layer was cut so insanely short. An entire year of growing it out later I went to a new salon and the stylist picked up a piece of that layer and just said, "What happened here???" It was awful, and my hair is finally almost back to normal after that nightmare.

There's no rhyme or reason to my good hair days- I wish there was! Some days it's because it's freshly washed and I happened to do a great job trying to blow it out. Some days I look at my hair and think, "It's been too long since it was washed; there is no salvaging this." And then I spray my dry shampoo and start curling it around my curling wand and I end up getting compliments all day. Some days are just good hair days!

S-H: What advice would you give someone who wanted to develop Super-Hair, such as a style like yours?

JZ: Invest in quality shampoo and conditioner. Spend time learning how to curl and straighten and don't be afraid to try new styles and looks.

S-H: Who would you consider to have the best head of hair you’ve seen -- in New York or otherwise?

JZ: Mandy Moore and Jennifer Aniston of course! My hair idols forever!

CONCLUSION: Jackie's revelation about extensions may disappoint some Hair Fans. But her hair impressed without them, while she was in Cleveland. And they can take comfort in the fact that she's still trying to keep her styles appealing in the very competitive environs of New York.

Jackie wrote on Twitter in 2016 she had a "hidden talent" of making her mane go from messy to masterful every day. That's the case with more TV news anchors than you might think - and it's a talent we doubt many journalism schools teach. We think Zabielski has it down from A to Z. Whatever city she calls home, she's ready to be a hair contender.


Read 50 additional interviews, stored in the Super-Hair Q&A Archive!

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