By Heather Zubek
Some common myths around being a redhead:
• Bees sting you more often
• You feel pain more
• You are more likely to be left-handed
IT’S official – red is in! More than a thousand redheads, ginger nuts and carrot tops got together for the annual Ginger Pride Rally.
The event, held on the last weekend in April in Melbourne, raised funds for the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to help stop bullying against kids.
Mums, dads, young people and even red furry dogs celebrated being red and special – less than two per cent of the population has natural red hair.
Red-haired sisters Adele and Lydia Biegler got into the swing of things by wearing costumes.
Adele, who’s nine, was dressed as the famous book character Pippi Longstocking and knows that being a redhead is special.
“Sometimes I get teased at school and called names but my friends help me so I’m good,” she says.
Why do people have red hair?
Genes, which are passed on by your parents, decide features such as hair colour and height. One gene, called MC1R, is responsible for someone having natural red hair.
“Sometimes people don’t know they have red hair in their family until one of their children is born with that colour,” says Associate Professor Rick Sturm from the University of Queensland.
“If you have this gene you are also more likely to have fair skin with freckling.”
Lydia, who’s 11, decided to go as Raggedy Ann because she loved the character’s “crazy red hair”.
“It’s hard being a redhead as you don’t tan at all and you get a lot of freckles,” she says. “But I think it’s cool because not many people have the same colouring as me.”
Neil Goldsmith, 38, and Helen Uhlworm, 36, brought along Oscar, a ginger-haired Pomeranian.
The brother and sister remember being teased for their red hair when they were at school.
“My first nickname was Rudolf, which I didn’t mind actually,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“I got teased sometimes, but mainly I get old ladies coming up to me saying what lovely hair I have.”
Be loud and proud
“I was called Goldilocks or goldfish when I went to school,” says Ms Uhlworm. “But now I’m proud of my red hair and fair skin and I tell kids to love their red hair and to make sure they put on lots of sunscreen!”
Parents Louise and Justin Amor brought their son Charlie, who’s almost two, so he can learn to be proud of his “redness”.
“Charlie’s colour matches his personality,” says Ms Amor. “He gets so much attention.”