Some scientists say that red hair is simply a genetic mutation and redheads will soon be extinct. I am not typically one to argue with science, but I’m going to show you 10 (or 11) redheads throughout history that prove we’re not going anywhere.
When God saw that Adam could not survive on his own, who did He choose to be the first woman on earth? A redhead, of course! Or, I should say, another redhead. That’s right, the first humans on earth were redheads! Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some etymological proof. I did a little research, and apparently “ruddy” is the best English translation we have for the original Hebrew word in the Old Testament, pronounced ad-mow-nee, which means red or reddish. The name “Adam,” pronounced ah-dawm, is actually derived from that same Hebrew word. Adam was created from the dust or the red clay of the earth, which in Hebrew was called ah-dah-maw, and Eve would have been inherently comparable to Adam, since she was taken from his rib. This is why many paintings of the “Creation of Man” depict both Adam and Eve as redheads. So you tell me, who is really the genetic mutation?
This little tidbit is free. In Jewish mythology, the supposed first wife of Adam, Lilith, is also said to have had red hair. She was eventually kicked out of the Garden of Eden because she refused to submit herself to Adam.
3. Athena and Aphrodite:
No surprise here that both the Greek goddess of wisdom and goddess of beauty are believed to have been redheads. Though modern cinema has taken it upon themselves to turn Athena into a brunette and Aphrodite into a blonde, we know from ancient art and tradition, that the women were red at their roots. Athena was typically portrayed with auburn locks, while Aphrodite rocked more of a strawberry mane, but the bottom line is you got it wrong, Percy Jackson! Afterall, what were the Greek goddesses if not fiery?
Turns out the black bob that we normally associate with this female pharaoh of Ancient Egypt may be folically inaccurate. She is said to have used henna to bring out the redness of her hair. No wonder Mark Antony couldn’t resist her! Though pharaohs at the time would have only spoken Greek, Cleopatra learned to speak Egyptian and called herself the reincarnation of the goddess Isis. Well, she may not have been a goddess, but at least she understood the supernatural power that comes with a great head of red hair.
5. Mary Magdalene:
Despite a scandalous past as a prostitute, Mary Magdalene is often described as one of the most important women in the movement of Christianity. She is said to be the first person to have seen the Risen Christ and has been immortalized in art with flowing, red locks. At the time, red hair would have been a sign of royalty, and this royal head of hair might just be the most famous in all of the New Testament. In a particularly remarkable moment recorded in the Gospels, Mary Magdalene anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment and dries them with her hair. Other than maybe Samson’s golden locks in the Old Testament, I can’t think of any biblical hair with greater significance.
6. Elizabeth I:
Named as one of the most powerful redhead woman in history, Elizabeth I of England inherited the red tresses of her father Henry VIII. Her mother, Anne Boleyn, was one of the wives who was beheaded by Henry, but Elizabeth eventually succeeded to the throne. She gave her critics a glimpse of that fiery redheaded nature by ignoring her advisors and choosing not to marry. She famously stated, “I do not want a husband who honors me as a queen, if he does not love me as a woman.” Well said, Liz. Who needs a man to run a country anyway? Remember, men may fight wars, but redheads win them.
7. Lucille Ball:
Let’s fast-forward a little now to hit one of the most iconic redheads in history and a personal favorite. Who doesn’t love Lucy? She’s beautiful, hilarious, and she bagged a smoking-hot Cuban man. Of course, as Lucille Ball said herself, “Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.” I watched I Love Lucy in black and white on “Nick at Night” all through my adolescence. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Lucy in color and learned that she was a redhead! I didn’t think there was any way I could love her more, and then… there it was! It was like discovering that your favorite dessert was also fat-free. These days, Jessica Chastain and Emma Stone are the queens of rocking a red lip on the red carpet, but Lucy invented the red lip, and the comedy that left those red lips made us cry with laughter. You just don’t get much better than Lucille Ball. Oh, and did I mention that the woman’s eyebrows were ON FLEEK?
GET THE LOOK: Lucille Ball’s Classic Makeup Tutorial
8. Carol Burnett:
While we’re on the topic of Queens of Comedy, how about this redheaded pistol? The Carol Burnett Show was, unfortunately, a little before my time, but thank God for reruns! As a child of the 80’s, though, I know her best as Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie (another notable redhead). I remember rewinding our VHS tape over and over to watch the scene where she performs “Little Girls.” No offense to Kathy Bates or Jane Lynch, but no one does that number like Carol Burnett. I was mesmerized by her talent. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that way about an actress since. All I can say is, don’t ever let anyone say that women aren’t funny, particularly redheaded women.
9. Reba McEntire:
On from the Queens of Comedy to the Queen of Country. Regardless of how you feel about country music (or sitcoms on ABC Family), Reba is an icon. This is the redhead I spent most of my childhood trying to look like. Reba had big, curly hair with bangs, so I had big, curly hair with bangs. Reba wore sequined jackets with fringe, so I wore sequined jackets with fringe. Reba started wearing her hair straight, so I… cried because my hair was naturally curly, and I couldn’t figure out how to wear it straight. I would sit in my room with my tape recorder and sing “Fancy” at the top of my lungs, but no matter how many times I played it back, I never sounded quite like Reba, and I guess I can live with that. In whatever this woman decides to do, she is unstoppable. And, we all know that Reba must be who Connie Britton (another of my favorite redheads) has based Nashville’s Rayna James on. You’re not fooling anyone, Connie!
10. Nicole Kidman:
This beautiful ginger makes the list simply because I may be a little too obsessed with the movie Moulin Rouge. But, I defy you to watch this movie and not fall in love with Nicole Kidman’s hair. This movie does for red hair what the movie 300 did for abs. Oh, and eyebrows also ON FLEEK.
The list wouldn’t feel complete without at least one 2015 redheaded phenome. Though there are many to choose from, I’m going to give this title to Emma Stone. First of all, have you seen the woman on the red carpet this year? She’s killing it.
Second of all, she is so funny–movies like Zombieland, Super Bad, and Easy A prove this, but now she is showing us that she’s more than that. She can go from a Southern feminist in The Help to a recovering drug addict in Birdman, and nail both roles. And lastly, does everyone know that the girl can sing? The reason she’s been rocking that cute wavy bob lately is because she cut her hair when she replaced Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway this year. I saw it in November, and she slayed! Can we all just take a moment and bow down to this redheaded, red-lipped, new queen of old Hollywood glamour, Emma Stone?
Clearly, redheads throughout history have played anything but a subtle role, and I have to disagree with the critics who say our kind will soon be extinct. We were there at the dawn of creation, and we’ll be there when it all comes to a fiery end. As Robert Frost puts it, “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire.”
Rock it like a Redhead!