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There’s something magical about being a redhead. In a sea of blondes and brunettes, this power color has the ability to command instant attention. Whether it’s the result of a naturally mutated gene called MCR1, which causes their hair to take on the eye-catching hue, or simply a trip to the salon, having red hair changes just about everything for a woman.
Just ask celebrities such as Amy Adams or Molly Ringwald: For these ladies, having red hair has been life-changing in regard to others’ perceptions of them, getting them noticed and ultimately changing the course of their careers.
Still, it’s not a hue for the faint of heart: Other redheads like Lily Cole, Isla Fisher and Madelaine Petsch have all described cruelty faced early on over the tress trait that makes them stand out. And stand out, they most definitely do: It’s a shade worn by less than two percent of the population!
Find out who was born with it and who adopted the color of their own accord in our ode to the flamboyant tint below.
The comic’s red locks are as real as they come. The Illinois native shaved her head in solidarity with her late sister, Joyce Griffin, while she was undergoing chemo in July 2017, and when the Emmy winner’s hair grew back, it was the same vivid shade of copper we’ve been admiring on the actress for years. Now, the My Life on the D List star has nearly reached bob status in terms of length, but her trademark color remains the same — 100 percent Kathy, and 100 percent red.
The English model loves her flaming locks nowadays (we don’t blame her — they’re gorgeous!), but growing up, she was teased by her classmates over her distinctive hair trait. 'I was bullied because I have red hair ... Red hair is an issue, particularly in this country,” she vented to the Daily Mail in May 2012. “When I’d meet people, I would think they wouldn’t like me – that was an actual thought process – because I’m a redhead. It’s absolutely absurd! The irony is that now I love my hair.” She also recalled some advice she received from a man in her youth, who told her, "All redheads go on the same journey. You’ll hate it when you’re younger and then when you are older you’ll start dyeing it because you’ll really want it back.’ And I think there is that trajectory. It’s a wicked color to be."
Riverdale’s resident Queen Bee reigns the school on high with a luscious mane of red, and, as the 24-year-old told Cosmopolitan in October 2017, she rocked the color long before she landed the hit CW show. “I’m a natural redhead,” she told the magazine. “It's funny because I was made fun of for it so much as a kid. I grew up in a small town, I was the only redhead other than my brother. … My brother got stones thrown at him! So now I very much embrace it and want people to know I'm a natural redhead and proud of that.” Hear, hear, girl!
While she’s a dark, dark brunette these days for her role as Alex Vause on Orange Is the New Black, her real hair hue is far closer to the gorgeous red locks she sported as Donna Pinciotti on her long-running hit, That ‘70s Show. The SAG winner proved our case in September 2017, when she shared a photo of herself from her childhood days with a carrot-colored ‘do on Instagram. “Side pony. Baby Prepon,” she joked. The actress also gave us a glimpse of her natural hair when unrestrained. “#tbt looking suuuper cool, sitting at the piano. My teacher was obsessed with Billy Joel, so i’m sure i had just finished playing 'Baby Grand.'”
The answer to the question of whether the model’s hair is faux real is a complicated one: She admitted to The Cut in November 2010 that she made the choice to go really red after Christina Hendricks, who rocks a faux version of the shade, encouraged her to. “We did a shoot together and I remember her beautiful red hair, and I had the worst sort of strawberry blonde mousy hair, and she was like, ‘Here, you should dye your hair red, it’s going to work for you.’” She clarified any hair confusion to
Into the Gloss, however, quipping, “I’m a natural ginger but it’s just not as bright.”
Reba’s been a redhead all her life, so she knows what complements the shade by now. “I have to stay away from some colors because they wash me out,” she dished to New Beauty in July 2016. Case in point? “I've found that jewel tones really flatter my hair color and light skin tone,” she siad. Clearly, she’s on to something: The country crooner is 63 years old and looks as flawless as ever.
Kemper may have dyed her hair brown for her breakout role in The Office, but most know her best as the vibrant redhead she was born to be thanks to her Netflix hit, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The comedian has said that her hair color has taught her much about people … including herself. “It was an interesting social experiment,” she told Time in October 2018 of dyeing her strands. “First of all, I didn’t realize how much I used my red hair and girlish laughter to attempt to charm people and get free desserts. When I was a brunette, I felt like people took me more seriously. I don’t know if it’s the characters I play or the fact that I’m a redhead, but people laugh at me before I say anything. This just happened at FedEx the other day.”
Celebrities are constantly changing their looks for film roles, but by some miracle, Julianne managed to remain a hair-dye virgin for much of her life, busting out the bottle color sparingly. Sans for a failed attempt at blonde highlights in her 30’s (“I didn’t like them,” she quipped to Redbook), she only adds dye when she feels it necessary to cover grays. And it’s no wonder: The Big Lebowski star told the outlet that she feels a “kinship” with her fellow redheads. “Whenever I see one on the street, I nod or say hello. I feel like there's a redhead collective — you notice each other.”
We’ve had a massive girl crush on the Garbage frontwoman for as long as we can remember, and it’s got everything to do with her iconic in-your-face ‘do (well, that, plus her all-around badassery and unreal musical talent, of course). The “Stupid Girl” singer readily admits that she gets a little help in the vibrancy department from dyes, but for the most part, she got it from her momma. “I adopted the look the day I came out of my mother's womb,” she told Allure of her bright red shade in 2014. “It's all-natural! Well, at this point it's bottle-fed, but I was born a redhead. My mom's a redhead, my sister's a redhead — I come from a lineage of Viking reds."
Don’t let the Big Little Lies star’s golden tresses fool you — a true blonde, this Aussie native is not. One need only to do a quick Google search of Nicole in her younger days to see that not only has the Oscar winner’s coif gone from super curly to stick straight, she’s also drastically changed up her pigment. Untreated, The Hours actress’s hair is closer to a dark strawberry more akin to the hue she sported for her turn as Gillian Owens in Practical Magic. Though we think she looks positively stunning in both shades, we’ll not-so-secretly always love her best as a redhead.
Considering that we’ve all more or less watched Lilo grow up on the silver screen — her breakout role came in Disney’s 1998 remake of The Parent Trap at the tender age of 12 year old — the fact that her fiery red hair is au natural will likely come as no surprise. Still, just in case there was any doubt, the Mean Girls star clarified to Us Weekly in January that her roots are indeed of the ginger variety. “I am a real redhead,” she told the publication. Welp, that settles that!
We should’ve known that the chanteuse, who oozes authenticity from practically every pore in her body (remember when she confessed to unsuspecting concert-goers in Glasgow that she had developed a pregnancy beard?), wouldn’t lie to us when it came to her hair color. Dubbing the tint “ginger biscuit,” the “Rolling in the Deep” singer admitted to Chelsea Handler on a 2011 episode of the talk show host’s former show, Chelsea Lately, that she’s a hair club member of “a dying breed.” The Grammy winner's also got the photographic proof to back it up: Baby redhead Adele, anyone?
Like Madelaine, the producer was once teased for a feature she’s now lauded for: her stunningly brilliant hair. "As a child, I didn't want to be different — I wanted to look the same as everyone else because I didn't want to be singled out," she recalled to Refinery 29 in August 2017. "I was ridiculed for having red hair; for having freckles. But whatever you are ridiculed about that makes you different is what you'll celebrate in the future. If I wanted to dye my hair, I could, but I realized that's who I am, and my differences [make me] special." Preach, Jess!
If you know who Bryce’s dad is — legendary actor and director Ron Howard — than you probably already know that this babe’s head-turning coloring is all her own. That’s not to say she doesn’t give it a boost from time to time, however! The Help actress’s hair stylist, Tracey Cunningham told Glamour in June 2015 that to get her client’s hair primed for her role as Claire in Jurassic World, she lightened the star’s dark red tresses with ultra-fine highlights and a toner-like substance, resulting in a perfect blend of coppery bliss.
The Marge in Charge author, too, got picked on for her mermaid-like tresses. “I got teased growing up in Australia and then in London, where people label you a ginger,” she recalled to
Men's Journal. "It can make you feel like an outsider. I was the only redhead in my class, with people calling me carrot top or asking whether the carpet matches the drapes. Gingers are much more accepted in America than in England.” No matter: Isla's certainly having the last laugh now!
As amazing as her signature red coif looks on her, it’s not the one nature found Amy best-suited for: The accomplished starlet was born as a — gasp! — blonde. Her decision to change up her color had a far more profound effect on the Nocturnal Animals star than she ever could have dreamed. While we’d be willing to bet the six-time Oscar nominee would’ve found a way to nab her parts regardless, dyeing her strands notice-me red certainly didn’t hurt matters. “Based on roles that I was getting, called in for, people were responding to certain types of characters with me as a blonde and the minute I went red, it was quirky and fun instead of flirtatious and dumb,” she told the crowd at a November 2016 TimesTalks event.
Psst — come here: We’ve got a secret. Everyone’s favorite ‘80s teen queen isn’t actually a redhead. That’s right! The real life Andie Walsh, who singlehandedly proved that no color — especially pink — is off limits to those #blessed with ginger manes, was not born with one of her own. According to Refinery 29, the Riverdale star has a very savvy agent to thank for her now-famous shade: The Brat Packer reportedly dyed her brown tresses on the advice that it might up her “it” factor on the Hollywood scene. The rest, as they say, is history: The Breakfast Club star has red hair still!
Nowadays, we’d hardly recognize Debra Messing without her trademark Grace Adler-red strands, but they're (probably) not real. Debra admitted to Refinery 29 that while she doesn’t actually know what her natural shade is after so many years as a redhead, she does recall dyeing it specifically for the role. "Before Will & Grace, my hair was a dark ash-brown for the TV show Ned & Stacey, and [the producers] were like, 'We want to make your hair redder, because red is funny.' I think because of Lucille [Ball] and Carol Burnett, there's this association with red hair being funny. It's been the same ever since." Hey, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
We hate to burst your X-Files bubble, but the supernatural activity going on in agent Scully’s world aren’t the only special effects on the show: That look-at-me hair color? It’s a wig. Though she originally dyed her locks to match her character’s, Gill gave up the color when she started losing her hair due the wear and tear of it all. “My hair started falling out last year,” she told Entertainment Weekly in January 2015. “We were in the middle of doing The Fall and they actually had to stop using tongs and hot rollers because it was literally coming out in the hair dresser’s hand.” Yikes! “So yeah, unfortunately, it is a wig,” she confessed — and not a very comfortable one at that. “Oh my God, it’s like wearing a vice on your head. I mean, every day, I have a whopping headache. And so I’m paying for that decision. I want all the fans to know that I’m suffering for the red!”
No surprise here — Katherine’s bold new look, which she debuted on Instagram on January 21, is faux.The naturally dark beauty regularly switches up her hair color for her film roles (you might have caught her as a blonde this past year for her upcoming film, Spontaneous, and her newest transformation is likely for a part in Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. But the Love, Simon star has been blessed with one of those skin tones that allows her pull off just about any color of the rainbow, and this latest dye job is no exception — girl looks smashing as a red head.