Depending on who you speak to, redheads are either teased for their gingerness, or worshipped for the genetic rarity of their red hair. Or perhaps, on occasion, a bit of both.
Whatever the general consensus may be, one thing is for certain: ginger hair is a massive contributor to redheads’ identity.
No other hair colour seems able to say the same, but our red hair shapes how we identify ourselves as a collective and individuals.
With comedic writing as her trusty companion, that’s what natural redhead Elisabeth Ness wants to explore in Redheads Anonymous.
Redheads Anonymous is a TV web series that focuses on identity, stereotypes and tokenism, and asks “What does it mean to be a redhead?”
During the show, creator and actor Elisabeth wants to tip all ginger stereotypes on their (red) heads and explore people’s personal relationships with their hair colour.
So, to find out more about Redheads Anonymous, including its current Indiegogo campaign (ends Thursday 14th August!), we spoke with Elisabeth about her aims for the web series, along with her all-time favourite ginger…
Tell us about the Redheads Anonymous project.
Redheads Anonymous is a comic American web series about identity that will premiere Spring 2015. In order for Molly to win a coveted Redhead Scholarship, she and her three ginger pals must find out, “What does it mean to be a redhead?”
Why did you decide to start Redheads Anonymous?
There are so many reasons! One is that I wanted to explore people’s personal relationships with their hair, because it’s an integral part of identity that each redhead has very different feelings about.
A second is that this is a story not being told in mainstream media – especially through the lens of a female (and multi-faceted) perspective.
And a third reason is that I like to use humor to approach complex issues such as identity, stereotypes, and tokenism.
Comedy clips by Catherine Tate (‘Ginger Refuge’) and Tim Minchin (‘Prejudice’) inspired me to use the subject of redheads to cover all those bases, and we play off those ideas in one of our main crowdfunding videos, an ASPCA parody…
What is your aim with Redheads Anonymous?
To help gingers secretly take over the world! Just kidding (maybe).
In addition to creating smart comedy in the vein of The IT Crowd, we want to spark an international dialogue about redhead/female identity, stereotypes, and tokenism.
If a misfit, redhead, and/or female sees on their computer screen a character who reflects them, and to whom they can relate, then we’ll have achieved something meaningful.
“Being a redhead permits them to be more bold and brazen”
Do you believe that the media’s stereotype of red-haired female TV characters needs to be reinvented?
We have far to go in the treatment of women in the media in general. Redheads Anonymous hopes to tackle that issue straight-on, beginning by flipping the statistical speaking-character ratio of 3:1 males-to-females on its (ginger-tinged) head.
When it comes to ginger stereotypes specifically, some women (such as myself) embrace them, and find that being a redhead permits them to be more bold and brazen than they might otherwise be; while others defy them, since preconceptions limit their freedom to define themselves.
The series explores all these opinions, as well as how stereotypes affect how we treat each other – and ourselves – through humor.
But perhaps when we have more types of people represented on screen on a regular basis, entrenched stereotypes will make way for more individual (and interesting) differences!
“Who is a redhead when s/he no longer has red hair? If a tree falls in the forest, does it pocket a bottle of hair dye first?”
Redheads Anonymous Creator and Actor, Elisabeth Ness
Have you always been proud of your red hair?
Definitely! When people aren’t busy trying to tell me what color my hair is (or forbidding me from wearing a certain shade of green, lest I look like a Christmas tree), I love my hair.
That having been said, I’ve always been concerned about being proud of, or identifying closely with, any physical attribute. It’s a double-edged sword because at some point, it’s bound to change.
For example, hair goes grey, white, or falls out. So, what then? Who is a redhead when s/he no longer has red hair? If a tree falls in the forest, does it pocket a bottle of hair dye first?
Do you believe that your hair colour contributes to your personality and identity?
It sounds so silly to anyone who’s not a redhead – which is great, because “silly” can beget comedy – but I really do.
And it seems like a lot of the redheads filling out our survey think so, too!
Do other members of your family have ginger hair?
My dad’s hair used to be auburn, but the only person in my extended family who currently shares my hair color is my cousin. As a result, people sometimes mistake us for twins – an error we relish!
Who is your all-time favourite ginger and why?
Gingers are responsible for some of the top TV shows, films, music, art, writing, comedy, and important turning points in history (we pay homage to a bunch of them in our crowdfunding rewards section).
Plus there are all the imaginary gingers; we’re beloved by cartoonists and storytellers worldwide. So how can you even ask me to choose???
Okay, I chose. Queen Elizabeth I: her unique way of balancing a public reign and a private life fascinates me, and I want to portray her at some point in my acting career. Plus, we semi-share a name, so it’s fate.
To all the rest of the historic/artistic/imaginary gingers: I’m sorry, I love you all equally… but I love Queen Elizabeth I a little bit more.
What happens next with Redheads Anonymous?
Well, that depends on whether we meet or exceed our crowdfunding goal on Thursday! Just kidding (sort of).
But, Ginger Parrot readers, you’re the first to hear the scoop: a certain beloved, award-winning redheaded casting director will be joining the Redheads Anonymous team, to find and cast wonderful comic gingers to play around with in two of our lead roles.
She helped cast the first three seasons of a show that rhymes with GnomeLand, and I’m really excited to work together!
How can your fellow gingers help with getting Redheads Anonymous off the ground?
Oh, so many ways! First and most urgently, our crowdfunding campaign is ending on Thursday 14th August, and since Indiegogo accepts payments from anywhere in the world, gingers everywhere can help make Redheads Anonymous a reality.
For this, check out our fun perks at each historic-redhead rewards level! Maybe Queen Elizabeth I will be your favorite, too.
Beyond donating and sharing the campaign with gingers and ginger-lovers alike, people can also make a difference by following/liking/subscribing to us; spreading the word on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr; and sharing any Redheads Anonymous videos or statuses that speak to them.
We invite fellow redheads to grab their sunscreen and join us on a gingerful webseries adventure!
For more information on Redheads Anonymous, visit its Indiegogo page or www.redheadsanonymous.com. The project’s crowdfunding campaign will close at midnight on Thursday 14th August 2014 (Pacific Time), so get claiming your gingerful perks!