Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Redheads We Love

The redhead woman who works at garden centre at the end of our road, where I spend an inordinate amount of time, said to me today: "Oh that's your real hair colour, isn't it?" Since 18 years old I've faired my hair - which naturally wants to be reddish - but these days I'm going for the (red)gold. There was a spark of recognition in her eyes: "Yes, you're one of us."


Redheads clockwise from left: my kangaroo paw, my sister Pietra, Joan Holloway and Princess Merida from Brave


I'm not brave enough to embrace the bright red though (my skin is too ruddy) and I'm kind of disappointed in myself that I don't....I've only been really red in my Sun-In years.

My Sun-In Years...
Both husband Kevin and I both have loads of red hair in our families so I am chuffed to hear that Brave, the new kids' movie about the "feisty redhead" (why are those words always coupled?) is breaking box office records.  The NY Times even did a full page spread on all the hours and days spent considering exactly how her hair should look.

For the past two years my true blue redhead sister Pietra has been quietly filming a documentary about redheads "to celebrate my tribe. What is the point of it? Maybe I want to make redheads into super heroes, thereby exorcising my own demons of growing up a redhead."


Technically red hair is a chromosomal deficiency often coupled with white skin and freckles - making it the rarest (1%) hair colour in humans. It's this rarity that attracts the pain and the fame.

Throughout history, redheads were prized as chosen ones and feared as aggressors. In Polynesia red hair was seen as a sign of a a ruler and in Mediaeval times artists were obsessed with capturing redheaded beauties. Boudica, who led the British uprising against the Roman Empire was always depicted with flowing titian locks (my husband was so taken with the image he wanted to name our daughter after her - overruled.) Joan of Arc was red and Elizabeth 1 took the throne with a copper mane, later replaced with a vertiginous wig.


But redheads are also much ridiculed. Some of the insults my sister Pietra collected in her research: Gin-ga (with a hard "g" all the more damning) Orange Goblin, Piss Brindle, "Freckleface your Dad thinks you're a big disgrace!" "Carrot top, carrot top, catch her quick or else she'll pop" "Redhead, mad as a bar, 'cause the silly little thing has ugly hair!" And F.O.T (F****ing Orange Thing) - which is what redheads are called in the Australian Army.


There is the quiet denial. Recently I heard a mother insist her toddler daughter was a "strawberry blonde" while behind her a family portrait showed the child - with incandescently flaming red hair.


This year I've seen red fast become a by-word for glamour, with rise of actors Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone and lately Damian Lewis (is he the first redhead leading man ever?) in Homeland. Redhead models are all over the magazines, a far cry from when 80's supermodel Angela Dunn was dismissed with the line: "Redheads can't sell yoghurt - or even the fridge to keep it in."


Redhead Joan in Mad Men has paved the way too, as a sure and sexy but most importantly three-dimensional character. Traditionally, the Hitchcock blonde (in this case Betty) emerges as the likeable protagonist. But here Joan steals all our empathy. Funnily enough, in real life actress January Jones is taking a visible break from Betty by dying her hair a very bright red, below.



This is because red has come to mean authenticity. Nicole Kidman lost a certain amount of intrigue when she bleached her red curls to an almost wig-like patinum, Lolo always goes back to her roots when she wants to be taken seriously. Julianne Moore, ever authentic, famously proved she's a real redhead in Short Cuts.

Who's your favourite Red?

50 comments:

  1. Hi Love!!

    Ive missed you so and had to stop by! Ive been busy volunteering and doing things with the girls now that school is done. I love the new princess...non princess character of the new movie Brave...cant wait to see it! Joan from Mad Men really is amazing and has taken a stand for all reds!

    I hope you are enjoying a lovely week! xoxo

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  2. I really liked Nicole Kidman when she was a redhead and remember that Short Cuts scene with Julianne Moore. I think it would be cool to be a redhead. Red is my favorite color.

    What about Lucy?

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  3. Marcia Cross has a fine red mane, but my favourite redhead will always be Anne of green Gables.

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  4. Such an interesting post! I preferred Nicole Kidman with her red hair too. It's surprising, as you say, how many red headed models we see in magazines compared to just a few years ago and that's certainly a good thing.
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. My 10yo daughter and I are appreciating redheads right now, we are reading Anne of Green Gables together and we saw Brave on Sunday (it was great).
    My daughter has a little friend with red curly hair, she has two sisters with the same hair, what a sight they are!
    Nicole Kidman used to look so interesting and now she is quite Barbie-ish, the botox and the blonde together. I prefer her natural look.
    Lovely post darling!

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  6. I couldn't really say. Although Joan from Mad Men wears it very well! My grandfather was a redhead. I never got to meet him unfortunately. But red highlights are still showing up on my side of the family! Love Di ♥

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  7. My favourite redhead is my wife of 40+ years. The two other women who I dated seriously before I met my wife were red-headed. Is this a trend?

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  8. I liked Nicole's arthouse corkscrew curls and freckles in Dead Calm and thought she was quite an exciting actress then - I suppose she had to bleach her skin and hair to get on in Hollywood - shame. Like Sulky, I am a big fan of Marcia Cross's looks, frozen forehead and all - she always looks good.

    Me, I'd just like pigment of any colour! I was blonde as a kid but have gradually been greiging out ever since - my face is pale and my hair is dull. Redheads who tan like you are rare and gorgeous - enjoy being so colourful! xxx

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    1. Dead Calm is one of my fave movies of all times. No doubt that Nicole Kidman can act, she is magnetic in this...

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  9. Hello ! Like all the ladies above I liked Nicole Kidman best when she was a redhead and love Marcia Cross. My ex-husband and I had red hair running in our family (my brother is bright red and was mercilessly mocked at school) and I hoped my daughter would have it too. But her hair is chestnut and she often dyes it to get rid of the reddish hues ! Still, I enjoy my freckles and green eyes and maybe one day, I'll go back to choosing a darkish red hair colour. Very interesting post, I learned lots of things, thanks !

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  10. I always loved Victoria Principal which is more of an auburn.

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  11. my favorite... definitely julianne moore. totally stunning.

    one of hailey's favorite books is freckleface strawberry, written by julianne about her red hair n' freckles :)!

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  12. That made an interesting read about red hair. I have a lovely niece who has red hair and my son's girlfriend has artificially dyed red hair which really suits her & looks natural. I used to long for red hair and dyed mine red for ages when I was an adult in my 20s-40s..
    I find (having worked in schools) that it seems to be the boys who are mostly teased.
    Red heads are fairly common in UK.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  13. How interesting that you are a red head and your sis is making a film about redheads...tell her to add "Fire Crotch" as a nickname, as that is what they called me in high school.

    I have grown to love my hair, but growing up with so many comments about it always made me cringe. I went to see 'Brave' yesterday with my kids and the character's hair is a character of it's own!

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    1. Fire Crotch...now very chic. I was tempted to post the pic of Julianne Moore in the lifted skirt scene in Short Cuts and that would have illustrated it nicely

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  14. Very cool post!! My cousin has VERY red hair and it's gorgeous - SUN IN YEARS! hahha! That took me back...
    Have a pretty day!
    Kristin

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  15. Julianne Moore is my absolute favourite redhead and yes, I loved Nicole Kidman so much more before. I dyed my hair in different shades of red for 4 years before switching to brunette, ash blonde and now light brown and actually, my hairdresser tells me that red hair suits me best, but for now I can't see myself as a redhead again. :)
    Ada

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  16. I always thought red hair was beautiful and enviable. Alas, with my coloring it wouldn't work, but I have always looked longingly to it!

    I say embrace it! Or at least for a bit!

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  17. Greetings from the. Land of redheads Ireland. I also say embrace it you can always change again.

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  18. I will add my vote for Anne of Green Gables to the other commenters' votes. As a natural redhead, the character's spirit encouraged me to embrace my red hair. Luckily, I was an adult when South Park came out, and the epithet "ginger" is only a joke that my redheaded friends and I share amongst ourselves. When I see a redheaded child I always try to smile at them and compliment their hair.

    On a positive note, I love wearing hats and having red hair is a definite plus when it comes to styling hats, especially with black and white outfits.

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  19. I am a natural strawberry blonde (for real, it's light red not flaming), although like most people I've dyed it a trillion different blondes and reds and dark brown and even pink back in my teen years. It's a sort of gold and red mix naturally that looks light auburn in winter and strawberry blonde in summer. It's light red, in other words, with a golden tint. I'd love to go the full on Christina Hendricks red but I'm not sure if my skin tone would work with it or not. :)

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  20. I always liked Lily Cole - but I am not sure she's a real red or a red at all anymore. Tried red on myself once. Awful mistake...

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  21. I do love the term 'strawberry blonde'.....

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  22. I like Damian Lewis and years ago there was a v good looking actor called Eric Stolz with red hair...otherwise, never really been into it on men. Looks great on women, though. Did you see The Killing (US version?). The lead actress looks a little like Julianne Moore and has lovely hair colour.

    I'm sure it's been pointed out elsewhere, but the 'Brave' heroine has hair exactly like Rebekah Brooks of News Corp.....

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    1. Eric Stolz was always very indie movie, last seen in Secretary? Whatever happened to him?

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  23. I longed as a child to have red hair - mine's just plain dark brown sooo boooring! Red heads seems dangerous glamourous mysterious and just plain brilliant!

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  24. My fave is Julianne Moore. I sported red hair for MANY years and never got a head turned until I went blonde. So blonde has been ever since!

    And I think blonde suits you greatly!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rose, I think my skin can't take the deep red, best stick to the blonde with reddish undertow. Thanks for stopping by so I could find your lovely blog - I am seriously thinking about the bronze trou on your blog today.

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  25. My favorite red? ME! Kidding.
    Growing up there wasn't a lot of redhead dolls/characters/etc. so I really LOVED Anne of Green Gables. Still do.
    Oh and you. :)

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  26. Yes as Inge mentioned above, there are a lot of redheads over here in Ireland! I think Marcia Cross always looks stunning:)
    ~Anne

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  27. I love redheads! Always have, always will. I actually wanted to be one. I wanted to look like the model Maria von Hartz back in the 80s. Oh and I also loved Angie Everhart before she was with Sly.

    So I ended up going auburn when I went to college in 1990. Not a good look for an olived skin girl. I loved it while I had it but looking back it was quite the disaster. Ah at least I can say I did it for a minute :) xoxo

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  28. I love Christina Hendricks's red hair and also January Jones's red hair now. My friend has very pretty red hair. I used to dye my hair red (similar to Christina Hendricks) and I fooled so many people (including hairstylists)....they all thought red was my natural hair colour because I am fair-skinned and was able to pull it off.

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  29. oops I lost my last comment (or it sent it too soon). Love the post Jody--red haired women are the most interesting! Julianne Moore is the most beautiful actress I've always thought and all those Alexander McQueen models with flaming red hair and milky skin make me wish I was one of them. That said, I always make sure the hair colorist takes all the red out of my own hair (yuck, I have a natural red tint) lol.

    xo Mary Jo

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  30. I wish I had red hair, crazy red curly hair would be awesome. My fav redhead would have to be Christina Hendricks. My first thought was Kate Walsh but I don't think it's natural.

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  31. I love Emma Stone personally. Though she's naturally a blonde, I feel that red hair suits her better; and I LOVE the way it looks on her! :)

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  32. Ah, Sun In! I remember that product (and not in a good way).

    Your sister's info is fascinating. Why is it the world has always tried to put down anyone who stands out?

    I think redheads are stunning. Can't wait to see a new pic of you with your new do!

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  33. Have you ever heard of singer/comedian Tim Minchin? Google his song 'Taboo' on YouTube!

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  34. I used to put red highlights in my hair until I realized that sitting in a chair for 2 hours while waiting for my hair to be dyed wasn't fun. I love Julianne Moore's red hair. You're right about Nicole Kidman. She looks like a over-botoxed and over-processed blonde wannabe these days.

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  35. Quite honestly, I've always thought that Gingas were a different species.

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  36. Great post!!

    xx

    www.sickbytrend.com

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  37. I love red hair on a natural red-head :) I really like emma stone's hair, although she seems to change it up a lot

    XOXO

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  38. I know that technically it was auburn, but Julia Roberts gave me a MAD desire to have red hair. I have brown hair and brown eyes with pale olive skin. I don't look so awesome with red hair but I have tried over the years to find the right shade. I just don't think it is in the cards for me but I find it beautiful.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by so I could find you lovely blog!

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  39. who's my favourite ginger nut? Why it's ME! Fading these days into more of a strawberry blonde and helped along by highlights every so often to hide the tell tale white strands. And that's another benefit of being an original redhead - eventually we go a beautiful snowy white. No pepper and salt grey for us! Please let us know when your sister's film is out. Viva la ginga!

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  40. Jody, just wanted to let you know that you're featured on my Pass It Forward series today :) Have a fab weekend!

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    1. Fantastic! Just headed over and so flattered I'm in such fabulous company - you are too kind!

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  41. I have my very own two redheads at home, and we fully embrace the ginger.

    I'm sure that redheads are very now, isn't a certain Mr Grey supposed to be redhead?

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  42. That was an awesome list & much of what I wish someone would have told me. You look gorgeous in all your pictures, it was great to see them :)) xx

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