You can’t miss their fiery looking locks when they pass you in the hall. They even elicit special names, like gingers or carrot tops.
They attract a lot of attention, like earlier this summer when roughly 1,600 redheads gathered at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to set the top Guinness Book of World Records mark for the most gingers gathered in one place.
But even with such notoriety, ask a ginger and they’ll tell you the red hair can sometimes be a curse rather than a blessing.
Only two percent of the world’s population has red hair. So that means they stand out. And when you stand out, others notice you for different reasons – stereotypes, misunderstandings or sometimes mistaken identity.
“People used to always get me and this other redhead confused,” says Grant High School junior Ashley Lindstedt. “They would just say, ‘Oh, you guys are sisters, right?’ and ‘I just saw your little sister.’ And I would be like, ‘Nope, I don’t even have a sister.’”
Several Grant students recall being taunted for their red hair during their childhoods, while others enjoy the color of their hair. We asked them to share their experiences with our readers. ♦
“I just get asked a lot if my hair is naturally this color. My mom, dad and brother all have brown hair so I get asked how I ended up with red hair a lot.” – Margaret Elliott, 15, sophomore
“My barber has been collecting my hair every time I get a haircut. Recently, she showed me and I noticed my hair started out blond.” – Aidan Hall, 16, junior
“This one boy would always call me a ginger. I didn’t know what it meant and I would get really offended. But then I accepted my hair.” – Celeste Ruesink, 18, senior
“People are always telling me about how rare I am, that I’m half black and have red hair.” – Deiondre Bird, 18, senior
“This summer I went to The Redhead Event downtown. I was finally able to successfully hide in a crowd.” – Ashley Lindstedt, 16, junior
“I used to have bleach blonde hair and then gradually it went to strawberry blonde and then bright orange.” – Charlotte Skalski, 17, senior
“The first time I was called a ginger was in the seventh grade by this one girl. I got really mad because I thought, ‘Why would you call me a girl’s name?’ And then about two years later, I finally found out what a ginger actually was.” –Noah Millner, 17, senior
“Some guy sat down next to us and starts talking to us about being a redhead. He scribbled something down on a piece of paper. It was talking about how they were trying to break the world record for most redheads in a place at once. It turns out they broke the record.” – Tess Fleming, 15, freshman
“I love it. I think I’m very special because not a lot of people have my color of red.” – Grace Reed, 15, sophomore
“A lot of times my friends will just come up to me and play connect the dots on my arms with my freckles.” – Maddy Kuhn, 15, sophomore
“I get a lot of old bald people telling me they used to look like me, which is odd.” – Allison Little, 18, senior
“People used to always say that I had orange hair. It is kind of orange, but the correct term is red hair.” – Audrey Porter, 14, freshman
“Debbie, my softball coach, doesn’t even know my real name. To her, I’m ‘Ginger.’” – Ainsley Hunt, 17, senior
“When my dad was young, he had red hair too, and now it’s black. I just can’t see myself without red hair.” – Austin Griggs, 16, junior