5 Ravishing Redheads on the Unexpected Power of Their Hair
on Februrary 17th, 2019
Our assumptions about those blessed with russet locks—they’re rebellious! They’e wild! They’re, okay, feral! —may be a bit silly, but at least we can agree that red hair does seem to bestow a distinct aura, almost another-worldly glow. Or does it? What does it mean to flaunt red hair, whether born that way (which is rare) or self-created (and no less charming for having your color story mixed in a box and applied in a salon—or in the privacy of one’s own boudoir)?
Here, a roster of ravishing redheads tell us about themselves and their dazzling carrot tops:
Photo: Sgàire Wood
“As a gender-non-conforming trans woman, I’m acutely aware when I’m getting dressed every morning that the world doesn’t necessarily see me how I see myself,” explains Sgàire Wood, who is 25, was born and raised in Northern Ireland, is currently a student at the Glasgow School of Art, and is—at the moment—a redhead. “My best friend as a child was a natural redhead. She hated it and got picked on a lot, but I was always really jealous! Ginger hair seemed like a really special genetic gift, like having two different-colored eyes, or a well-placed mole or something. I always felt quite drab in comparison.” Asked whether redheads are by nature rebellious, Wood offers a historical overview: “The Victorians popularized all this mystical symbolism about hair, and painted redheads as these wild harpy ladies, which is obviously pretty problematic—but also pretty cool if you choose to reclaim it, right?” As for a current beauty inspiration? “Verucca Salt, but if she was, like, a bratty teenage Eastern European figure skater having a sneaky cigarette in the carpark after practice.”
Siri Edit Andersson
Photo: Chris Calmer
“The color red is often associated with qualities like danger and desire, but I think this is a social construction—I don’t think that redheads are more feisty than other people,” says Siri Edit Andersson, 24, a fashion editor and stylist who lives in Copenhagen and describes her current look as “like a hopeless romantic on LSD.” Andersson has been flirting with red hair since she was 13 and experiencing a punk moment. Back then, it was super-bright red, but subsequently she has sampled different, more muted hues. Her current haircut, she explains, was inspired by Angelina Jolie’s Lisa in Girl Interrupted. “I find her style so cool as well—I have a big girl crush!” What else is she crushing on? “I am obsessed," she says, "with the style in the 90s movie Hackers."
Photo: Kristian Punturere
“Growing up, all the girls in my school had long, straight hair, and I envied it,” Rene Garcia-Ferry recalls. The model and artist, who lives in Venice, California, was so unhappy with her brown curls that her mom allowed her to go to a salon for arduous straightening when she was only nine years old. Who could have predicted that turning those sable locks scarlet and allowing the curls to emerge—which she did when she was 15—would lead to the coiffure she is so envied for today? “Being a redhead definitely makes you stand out from the crowd, whether you like it or not,” she says. “The world population is under two percent—that’s so special and unique! Wearing my hair natural makes me feel like I’m giving the finger to the people who made me feel like my hair wasn’t something to love about myself when I was younger." My hair helps me show others who I am.”
Photo: Rui Palma
“Under construction,” Afonso Peixoto replies when he is asked how to describe his look. Peixoto, 23, who splits his time between DJing and working in a vintage shop, works his deliberately sloppy cut with a ton of hairspray—and pooh-poohs the notion that redheads have the corner on rebelliousness: “I’m an accidental redhead, but I always feel the same no matter the color. I don’t like stereotypes, anyway.” Though David Bowie’s hair used to serve as his personal holy grail of inspiration, at the moment his idea of sheer stylish genius is “Gael García Bernal in Bad Education.” Does having occasional red hair, stunning in its irreverent choppiness, make any particular political statement? “I guess it could," Peixoto allows, "but not on purpose. That’s not something I think about when I’m getting ready—at all.”
Photo: Josh Quinton
We caught Josh Quinton just in time. “I’ve had red hair for about two years, and I am just about to change it!” the London-based DJ says. “I grew up with mousy brown hair, thick and curly—now it’s a blessing, but occasionally it's been a curse. The things you hated as a child you end up loving.” Quinton, who was inspired by the quintessential style of British matrons—he loves a pussy-cat bow blouse and a ton of brooches—has been everything from blond to pink, but when he is red, he says, “I feel like I am on top of the world!” Once he gets the color right, that is, which can be a daunting challenge. “A salon does it for me—I’m not sure I could keep it up myself.” As every self-created redhead knows, while the results may be sublime, the process can be leaky. When Quinton visits his mom, she gives him his own towel—and bleaches the grouting in the shower. Isn't everything easier with an understanding mother?
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