Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I’m literally a red-headed stepchild. I’m not sure where the phrase comes from or why it’s negative, but I have to say in my case it’s been pretty positive. Other than a rough patch during my obnoxious teens, my stepmother and I have always gotten along and truly cared for each other.

I did grow up a redhead in a family with no redheads. My parents didn’t have red hair, and although two of my aunts had reddish hair, they started dying it before I was born, so it looked nothing like mine. Not sure what genetic mutation caused my hair color, but I’ve always embraced it…..I’ve also always clung to other redheads in pop culture, because I never saw them in my day-to-day life.

The first famous redhead I remember embracing was Annie. She sang some catchy tunes and ended up living in a sweet mansion, but I was NOT a fan of her signature red dress – not a flattering shade (her hair needed a good deep conditioning mask too.)  The soundtrack to the movie got A LOT of play on my little plastic record player as a kid, but unlike say, Wonder Woman, I never dressed up as Annie.
Another redhead who made a big impact on me was one Anne of Green Gables, aka Anne Shirley. One of my aunts (different one, without reddish hair) gave me a book that contained a compilation of several stories starring this feisty/fanciful/sensitive Canadian redhead when I was in middle school. I instantly found a kindred spirit, and had to read everything L.M. Montgomery wrote about her. My love of Anne carried over to the 80s miniseries based on the books, and still has me talking about kindred spirits some 25+ years later.

My soft spot for redheads carried over to music. I loved that both Alison Moyet and the lead singer from T’Pau had strong voices and catchy tunes. In the heyday of music videos, I not only loved their music, but also tried to recreate their looks; unfortunately all that black eye liner didn’t do me any favors.  Another favorite I love to this day is Cyndi Lauper– even if her red hair was fake.

The redhead that probably made the biggest impact on my young life was one Molly Ringwald. I was first introduced to her while watching Sixteen Candles at a sleepover at a friend’s house. I totally related to her character Sam, and rooted for her and that dreamy Jake Ryan. Molly and John Hughes made two other movies that to me are classics: The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. I wanted to dress like Claire in The Breakfast Club (and coveted her nail polish color) and was inspired to take fashion risks by Andie in Pretty in Pink. So maybe Molly's other 80s work wasn't my cup of tea, not a huge fan of The Pick-Up Artist or For Keeps or Fresh Horses, but I definitely saw them all, and looked to Molly and her on-screen characters for fashion and makeup tips.

(Seriously, what was that polish color?)
Looking back at all the redheads that influenced my youth, it’s nice to see that they were spunky characters that carved their own paths. They may have inspired some poor fashion choices on my part, but as far as role models from pop culture go, I could have done a lot worse.

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