Ginger Parrot interviews…Nicola Roberts

Springing to fame as one fifth of the fierce and powerful force that was Noughties band Girls Aloud, natural redhead Nicola Roberts has the limelight firmly fixed on her gloriously ginger beacon of almost-waist-length hair.

Aside from her musical talent, her style is something to be admired, with her attraction to wearing red and orange tones making us jump for joy as well as worship the ground she walks on (if you can do both things at the same time).

We chatted with her about The Little Mermaid, why Instagram is changing attitudes towards red hair, and how she’s managed to grow her hair so long.

 

What’s your favourite thing about being a redhead?

The fact that I have something that not everyone has. Apparently redheads only make up 2% of the population and I love that.

 

Do you believe that your hair colour contributes to your personality?

I’ve never thought of it like that but I suppose everything about you and around you shapes you into who you are.

 

What was your experience growing up with red hair?

I was never bullied as a child for having red hair. My dad gets it from his mum and my nan always made me feel like I was special for having red hair. She’s a very strong woman and so I took her example.

It wasn’t until I was in the band that I realised not everyone favoured redheads. I came into contact with a little redhead girl who was seven years old a couple of years ago and I asked her if she loved her hair and she said that she hated it and that she wished she had “normal colour hair” like the other girls in her class. I told her that her red hair was her super power and by the time I left the school I was visiting I had made all the other girls in the class wish they also had red hair.

 

I have ginger hair and I love it!

 

You’re always quite vocal about your love of your red hair. Have you always been proud of it?

Always. I would hate to not have it. It makes me feel special and different to others. Sometimes I think of how it would be if I didn’t have it and I think what would my point be. Obviously I have a wonderful soul, so there would be a point but my look would be boring!

 

How do you feel about being called ‘ginger’? Do you think it should be used interchangeably with ‘redhead’, or is that something different?

It doesn’t bother me. I have ginger hair and I love it. People are only stating the facts when they describe me as ginger. I am.

 

I have gone full circle and have the hair I had when I was little

 

Do you have any family members with red hair?

My dad, one of his sisters and his mum. My brother and I share my dad’s genes in our colouring. Although my brother somehow manages to tan and has dark eyelashes and eyebrows. Mine are white. There are a lot of us in our big family and we’re the only children with the red hair.

 

Have you ever dyed your hair to another shade? If so, how did you feel about losing your red colour?

Dark brown, brown, red, purple, pink, blonde, strawberry. Right now I have gone full circle and have the hair I had when I was little. I even have a fringe now which I had when I was little. I decided to go back to my original state so I could feel like who I was when I was a kid. Some kind of go back to the beginning thing.

Sometimes I wish I never changed my hair while I was in Girls Aloud and just kept it natural but when you’re young you want to experiment and I was just trying to find what worked best for me. I definitely experimented with my look, made lots of mistakes. Of which everyone was able to witness.

 

Do you find that your hair shade has changed over the years?

I think my natural red has stayed the same shade but it’s different in every light and photograph. It’s got so many different pigments running through it that each setting gives it a new flare.

 

We LOVE that you were involved with Red Hot. Why did you choose to get involved and what was your experience like? Did it change how you felt about your hair colour at all?

I met Thomas with my friend Jodie Harsh. I wasn’t familiar with his books or organisation but I thought the book was so beautifully done and loved that proceeds go to the Anti-Bullying Alliance, so I didn’t think twice about having him photograph me for it. I love working with Thomas. He’s a great guy – talented, with good intentions.

What advice would you give to redheads who are being bullied?

It’s all about your own perspective. If you love it about yourself, you won’t get it. You should see the bully as just being small-minded. It’s a reflection of where their ceiling is.

 

There is no beauty like authenticity. When you own your own look, you’re confident in who you are, that’s when you’ll be the prettiest or hottest you can ever be.

 

Who is your all-time favourite ginger and why?

Princess Ariel. I would love for The Little Mermaid to come to the West End so I could audition. Imagine if I got to be the first Ariel here. That would be so cute!

 

What’s your best make-up and skincare tip for redheads?

Be your colour. Don’t make your foundation darker, it doesn’t look good.

When I was younger I was so insecure about my pale skin. I was obsessed with tanning. My own idea of beauty was much different to what that is now.

There is no beauty like authenticity. When you own your own look, you’re confident in who you are, that’s when you’ll be the prettiest or hottest you can ever be.

 

And what’s your best haircare tip?

Don’t use too much heat. Let your hair dry naturally as often as you can to stop it from drying out or fading your colour. Sleep with oil in it every now and then for nourishment. They say a trim will help your hair grow but I believe that’s a myth. I haven’t trimmed my hair for over a year because I’m trying to grow it to my hips and it’s doing great on its own.

 

Redheads have a secret thing with each other. If we pass each other in the street we have a little thing, haha!

 

Do you think having red hair has contributed to your success and career?

Yes I do. When I auditioned for the band there wasn’t another girl that looked like me with red hair like mine. I was incredibly weary and shy, just 16 when auditioning for the band. I think my red hair set me apart and Geri Halliwell, who was a judge on Popstars: The Rivals, I think loved that I was a redhead and so I stood out for her.

Redheads have a secret thing with each other. If we pass each other in the street we have a little thing, haha! But in another instance, it narrows your opportunities with branding and casting because you might not be as relatable to the masses as say a blonde or brunette. You’re a niche I guess.

 

Do you feel that there’s a shift of attitudes towards red hair in society nowadays?

I think in the last 5-10 years the internet has made high fashion more accessible and actually with the mass of publications along with Instagram, difference has been thrown in to people’s faces. High fashion is where difference is celebrated. When something is unique it is admired and applauded, not mocked.

We live in an online society where we just come into contact with things different to what we have in our real life surroundings. It has allowed us to make our own minds up about what is beautiful rather than leading from our parents’ example or the people around us. They say you are your surroundings but the online window allows individuals to look out and make their own minds up.

 

I think social media has been such a great vehicle in getting people to see how diverse we are as humans

 

Has your experience as a redhead in the mainstream media been mostly positive or negative?

It was negative for quite a while and in recent times has been more positive. When I got into Girls Aloud I felt like I had to face my appearance head on, which is quite a bizarre thing to have to do when you’re 17, especially when you can’t really see yourself from an outside perspective. You start with your idea of how you look and feel to then trying to imagine how others see you and analyse yourself to work out what the big problem is.

 

What do you think needs to be done to reverse the negativity surrounding red hair?

I think familiarity is everything. If people see something enough they get their head round it. I think social media has been such a great vehicle in getting people to see how diverse we are as humans. We no longer just see a small portion or see only what we’re shown through the media.

Instagram kicks up looks, skin tones and styles from all over the world. As we see each other liking and championing difference online, it makes people who maybe were once narrow-minded about what the definition of what beauty was to them, to have a different perspective. It makes the people who look different, feel less different.

 

What’s next for you?

I’m currently writing my own record and also helping Cheryl with hers. Both are going really well. I’m loving being creative for myself again and it’s also great that me and Cheryl get to continue to work on music together. I get to experiment with my own music, which I love to do and I get to make big Pop songs with her. Best of both worlds.

 

Interview by Emma

 

Comments

Emma dresses herself in mismatched multi-seasonal clothing and has a talent for sniffing out the next opportunity for coffee.She believes that any new band with a female musician is the next big thing and that whoever is currently dating Ryan Gosling is the luckiest lady on earth.Her biggest obsession is shopping online for castles, (probably) fueled by childish fantasies of finding her prince and settling down for a life of luxury, bathing in a pool of gin and bitter lemon.Other than that, though, she’ll be incessantly researching the latest gingerful news to deliver to Gingerkind.

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