Success for Ginger Haired Models

  • Melissa Keen

As only 2% of the world’s population, redheads are a rarity. Those with red hair and blue eyes are even more uncommon, with only 0.17% of the population having both.

In the past, redheads have not often been seen on the runway; it was equally uncommon to see them on modelling agency books.

Times, however, are changing. The beauty and fashion industries are now obsessed with the pale-faced, fiery-haired combination. This change of heart means more redheaded models are seen gracing all sorts of products, magazines and lookbooks.

Top 9 Famous Redheaded Models

Alexina Graham

Cintia Dicker

Kiki Willems

Rianne Van Rompaey

Bruna Dapper

Alice First

Sophia Friesen

Lily Cole

Madison Stubbington

Ginger Haired Models Are Most Definitely In

Redheads have received negative critique in the past for their golden locks. In film, men in particular were often cast as the nerdy or comedic character rather than the sexy leader-type. Redheaded characters are sometimes replaced altogether in the media; for example, leading character Bill in IT is a redhead in the book but is replaced by a brunette in the films. And as recently as 2012, many London modelling agencies claimed they had no redheads on their books because there was no demand for them.

Fortunately, things are changing. A rise in ginger celebrities (like Ed Sheeran, Prince Harry, Jessica Chastain and Karen Gillan) has definitely helped the public perception of redheads. It is also thought to be partly due to the public’s increasingly less prejudice views. It’s possible that, due to the media’s more consciously inclusive approach, this has resulted in a steady incline to the number of redheads seen in the media.

Nowadays, it is uncommon to come across an agency that does not have at least one redhead signed with them. But that doesn’t mean redheads don’t still face parochialism. In 2015, a poll in the UK claimed they were ready to see a redheaded James Bond in the form of Damian Lewis – but this was met with an article by The New York Post stating, ‘We Will Never Accept a Ginger Bond’. The article went on to bully and ridicule redheads for having fair skin and for not representing “the epitome of cool”.

With such unfair bias already rife in the fashion community, it seems even more unfair that the few redheads who are in the limelight should face such blatant criticism, particularly when it’s so unfounded.

While redheads do still face this type of negativity, critique has been far less tolerated in recent years. That, combined with the industries sudden “in” opinion of redheads and pale skin, has resulted in more and more opportunities for gingers across the globe. Now, we are able to see some stunning redheads – both male and female – on the catwalk, on TV and in magazines.

What Do Model Agencies See in Red Heads?

So why is the red-hair, pale-skin look suddenly ‘in’?

  1. When it comes to commercial and catalogue modelling, a red-headed model is absolutely unmissable. The juxtaposition between porcelain skin and fiery hair is beautiful and striking. Clothing and make-up all look different on redheads, so it’s a unique way to show off products.
  2. Many celebrities have dabbled with dying their hair red, and this has increased the popularity of the shade. Christina Hendricks is one of the most famous redheads around – but she’s actually a natural blonde!
  3. For women specifically, there has been a sudden rise in strong female leads in films (see more below).
  4. Freckles have become very popular in the make-up world, so those with natural freckles (like most redheads tend to have) have found themselves at an advantage.
  5. For editorial work, photographers love shooting men and women who have a distinct set of features and a conversation-starting appearance – redheads have this in abundance.

For these reasons, we have seen a huge increase of red-headed models in the industry over the last ten years. Catwalk queens Lily Cole and Cintia Dicker have become household names, and redheaded models are fairing just as well in commercial modelling.

The same can be said for the male models of the commercial world; Will Grant, Tom Larkin and Oliver Dale are all doing well. Each one of these talents are distinctly different in appearance but all share the same striking natural red hair and stunning freckle-skinned face.

Famous Celebrities with Red Hair

There has been a rise in powerful female redheads in films recently (mostly based off comics, which have always favoured beautiful red locks). The Phoenix aka Jean Grey in X-Men, Natasha Romanoff in The Avengers, Merida in Brave, Ruby Roundhouse in the new Jumanji films, Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones – nearly all leading female redheads are now seen as powerful, strong and sexy characters.

Redheaded men are unfortunately less common, partly because many famous male redheads tend to dye their hair for roles (Tom Hiddleston and Michael Fassbender are two such actors). Redheaded men are also commonly made to portray ‘baddies’ or sidekicks. Rupert Grint, Alan Tudyk, Seth Green and Paul Bettany are amongst the most famous redheaded men to star in film and on TV. Clearly, discrimination against male redheads still has some way to go.

Famous Models with Red Hair

Italian Vogue adores Lily Cole’s rebellious red tresses, and Sports Illustrated featured Cintia Dicker in their swimsuit issue. Model Maggie Rizer famously opted to dye her hair red to stand out amongst the sea of brunettes and blondes.

Top designer brands like to use redhead models in their shows and campaigns. Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent are just a few who champion ginger hair.

Here are a few redheaded models with notable achievements in the fashion world:

Alexina Graham

Alexina Graham became the first natural redhead to walk in the Victoria’s Secret show since Karen Elson 2001. She hopes to create an opening for more redheads to walk in the iconic show.

Alexina also featured in the Balmain L’Oreal campaign.

Francois Verkerk

This hipster redhead sports tattoos and an eyecatching moustache. His ginger tresses have landed him roles with top designers in the fashion industry. Yohji Yamamoto and Lanvin both love his distinct look.

Francois is deemed to be a “cool” and “hot” male redhead, helping to end the discrimination against flame-haired men.

Kiki Willems

This model has been making a name for herself in the industry since her modelling debut when she opened the Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2015 show.

Kiki has worked with the likes of Dior, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. Her favourite show’s include her debut, opening Marc Jacobs, her Vogue Italia cover and the Prada campaign shot by Steven Meisel.

Julia Hafstrom

The beautiful Swedish model’s auburn look has impressed the fashion industry. Fronting the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Elle Magazine, the redhead has made a name for herself in the editorial world as well as on the runway.

She has walked for Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung for New York Fashion Week. Dior also features on her modelling CV.

Embrace Your Natural Beauty


If you’re a ginger-haired ambassador looking to break into the industry, make now the time to realise your career dreams, especially whilst we’re witnessing such open-minded evolution from the industry.

Being a redhead is a unique, beautiful thing that should be celebrated. The fashion industry loves flame-haired tresses because they make you stand out against an army of blondes and brunettes.

If you’re not entirely sure whether you have the right look, don’t worry – you can contact UK Models via our online application form and we’ll be able to provide you with helpful and honest advice.

As a model support service that has – and continues to work with – thousands of aspiring new faces, we are thrilled to see the success of the red-headed model.

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Posted by Melissa Keen

Melissa's experience in the beauty and fashion world as a writer and blogger spans over five years. Her other interests include reading, yoga and music.