*Artistic gymnast Gabby Douglas made history at the 2012 London Summer Olympics where she won gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions. Douglas debuted her new realty series on Oxygen Wednesday night titled “Douglas Family Gold,” which features matriarch Natalie Hawkins, sisters Arielle “Arie” Hawkins, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, brother, Johnathan Douglas and grandmother Miss Carolyn, and chronicles their journey and sacrifices as Gabby heads back to the Olympic Games and attempts a history-making performance.
Gabby’s reason for pursing back-to-back gold is because she “Loves a challenge” and “felt like after 2012, even though I won two gold medals there was still more that I wanted to do,” she said during a recent Q&A.
“I didn’t want to retire because I was young and I still loved gymnastics and I still do. I was like, “Why not give it another shot?” And I think that I was always determined to go to 2016 to go to another Olympics.”
In the first episode of “Douglas Family Gold,” Douglas is faced with the obstacle of making the national team … again. Yes, even champions have to try out if they want a shot at competing in Rio. Spoiler alert: Gabby nailed it. However, she confesses that it took her oldest sister Arielle Hawkins to convince her and her mother to allow a camera crew to film her training.
“She actually was the one that pitched the idea and I was a little bit hesitant because my main focus was Rio, and obviously it still is. So I didn’t want the cameras in the gym distracting me while I was training and for the most part, everyone at Oxygen was very respectful and they were like, “Hey we don’t want to get your mind off Rio either.” So we all came together and figured out a plan and it worked out and then I agreed,” Douglas explained.
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Natalie says the role of “momager” and mother has “enriched” her relationship with Gabby.
“In the beginning, there’s always that time when you’re starting to get used to new roles and looking at each other a different way. And so I feel like sometimes, with Gabrielle trying to figure out how to look at me as a manager as well as a mom, and then also on my end it was how to look at her as a client and it’s my daughter,” Hawkins said. “It took a little time for us to figure that out but, since 2012, I feel like we’ve done a magnificent job learning how to flow together and how to work together and it’s been a pretty fun ride. I’ve absolutely enjoyed it.”
Douglas praised her mother for “doing a very good job of raising me and also my siblings.”
“My mom is just such a powerful and inspirational woman and she’s definitely helped me throughout my journey. I would not be where I am today without her because she’s taught me to always keep fighting in life,” Gabby added.
“For her being a single mom and raising four kids it was really hard on her and I saw that. And she would always keep fighting and she’d always keep telling us to keep fighting. She was always that mom – just pushed the best out of us and she’s influenced me and helped me so much, not only in gymnastics but also in life.”
So what has life been like for Ms. Douglas since her 2012 Olympic Gold win?
“Oh geez. My life has definitely changed so much. Obviously going from people not recognizing me to being a household name and just all the opportunities that I have experienced. I think one of the biggest changes for me is balancing being a professional athlete and training at the same time, and fulfilling opportunities on the side and commitments. I think that’s one of the biggest changes for me.”
Gabby explained to EUR/Electronic Urban Report that her family wanted to put a bit of “inspiration” on television, and she hopes that it resonates with viewers.
“[What] we want people to take away is, a lot of laughter and a lot of supportive family time and also just strong inspiration to see what it takes for you to accomplish your goal and the hard work and the sacrifice and bonding with your family. I think that’s one of the main messages that I want people to take away.”
She also wants her journey to inspire you to “be a fighter and go out there and keep fighting.”
The 20-year-old athletic superstar spends 30 hours a week in the gym training, and such dedication not only keeps her physically fit, but mentally sharp and confident as well. Douglas told us that she’s not fazed by the pressures that many young women feel trying to live up to the standard of beauty in this selfie-obsessed age that we live in.
“Social media nowadays has this standard where you have to look a certain way. And for me, I don’t feel pressured about like, you know, posting or being a certain way.” The Virginia Beach native offered a bit of advice to young women struggling with identity and self-acceptance issues.
“My advice would be just to really love yourself and not be someone who you’re not and really embrace yourself and embrace your beauty and your character. You should not try to change yourself for the look that society has these days. You’ve got to be like,“You know what? I’m good the way I am and I love myself.” She added, “You’ve got to be confident.”
“Douglas Family Gold” airs Wednesday at 9/8c on Oxygen. Peep a clip from the premiere episode below: