Ginger Parrot interviews…Natasha Culzac

To those who believe that redheads all have pale skin and spend their lives living in the shade for fear of getting sunburn, I’m here to say you’re sadly mistaken. The MC1R gene that is responsible for red hair is able to transcend generations and even races, making it extremely complex, and all the more awesome.

Natasha Culzac is a model turned writer turned actress turned all-round icon in the world of gingerness, so make a note of her name if you don’t know it already. We spoke to her about her life as a redhead and why she thinks ‘ginger’ means the same as ‘redhead’.

[Image: Marianne Olaleye]

What was it like for you growing up with ginger hair?

As a mixed-race ginger I was always in conflict with it. I didn’t fit the media’s “traditional” view of what a mixed person looked like, nor did I fit the stereotype of a Caucasian redhead.

Being mixed-race I have afro hair, so I really struggled with having this large, matted lump of frizzy ginger on my noggin. Us mixed and black gingers are still very much in the minority, so I found my reflection difficult to consolidate with the images you see of Jessica Rabbit-type redheads with porcelain skin and long, flowing locks.

I used to dye my hair a lot. I even went so far as to go black, which was a huge mistake. I’d then colour in my bright orange roots with mascara haha. It was a bad time.

If you’re born a ginger, no matter your race, you probably ain’t gonna suit black hair. It totally washed me out!

 

 

Do you have any family members with red hair?

My grandma was apparently redhead-ish, but sadly I never met her. One cousin is also a redhead, so we’re flying the flag among the extended family!

 

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

I found one bloody grey hair the other day! Someone once told me that gingers doesn’t grey – is that a lie??

 

I realised that so many people spend their whole adult lives trying to be different, to make themselves special, when here I was already slightly apart from the pack. And that is something to be celebrated.

 

Have you always been proud of your red hair? How did you come to love it?

It’s sad to admit that it was purely time and getting wise with age that made me love my red hair. I spent my entire teens dying it and only really embraced being ginger in my mid-20s. I think a lot of it was finally not caring what people thought – though that self-consciousness wasn’t tied up in my hair colour alone.

To add to further insecurities I’m also 6’1, and being so tall, with such unusual features meant I spent so much of my youth just wanting to blend in. I also grew up as a rock music-loving grunger in Hastings, East Sussex, which in the late 90s wasn’t particularly known for its ethnic diversity or acceptance of the ‘other’.

However, suddenly in my mid-20s, I just cared less and less about standing out. I think I realised that so many people spend their whole adult lives trying to be different, to make themselves special, when here I was already slightly apart from the pack. And that is something to be celebrated.

 

[Image: courtesy of KappAhl]

 

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

Give them the middle finger and concentrate on being happy. I’ve realised that the best revenge is to do well in life (whatever that means to you, whether that’s getting the career you want, travelling the world or having a family).

If you’re a good person, treat people with respect and don’t take life too seriously, you’ll go far. Those losers are probably gonna peak early anyway. And it’s sad but many of those bullies are also having a rough time of it themselves behind closed doors.

Don’t rise to their hate, don’t let them get to you. Just breeze on passed, do the things that matter to you and spend time with people who inject positivity into your life.

 

What’s your favourite thing about being a redhead?

People constantly asking me if it’s my real hair colour. (Not)

 

Don’t rise to their hate, don’t let them get to you. Just breeze on passed, do the things that matter to you and spend time with people who inject positivity into your life.

 

How did you get into modelling? Do you think that your red hair colour has helped your career?

I dabbled with modelling in my early 20s, attempted to go on BNTM and got down to the final 30. Thank god that never happened. I was far too insecure to deal with that.

Instead I trained and worked as a journalist, before semi-packing that in and giving modelling another go when I was older. I change industries like a dirty nappy.

I think as a mixed-race, rather inbetweenie-sized model (I wear a size 10-12), having red hair has been both a curse and a blessing in the modelling industry. Some agencies told me I was “too unique” and that being the size I was I wouldn’t book any jobs. It was almost implied that to be a successful size 12 model I’d have to either be a “normal-looking” redhead, a “normal-looking” mixed-race girl, or any other of the “normal-lookings”.

I book a fair number of commercial jobs at the moment and it’s funny with these, I’ve had clients say that the reason they didn’t book me was because they were worried my hair and freckles would take attention away from the product. But then on the flip side, this is exactly why I get booked by other clients. So it’s swings and roundabouts!

I’m acting, too, and interestingly you don’t see many people with a face full of freckles on any given TV show or film.

 

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

I don’t see a difference to be honest. Both are equally as awesome. I like ginger just because it’s colloquial – redhead seems so formal. I’m ginger and proud of it!

 

[Image: Michelle Marshall for MC1R]

 

Who is your all-time favourite ginger and why?

Prince Harry, just because. And I might give birth myself if he and Meghan manage to churn out a mixed-race ginger. Oh the joy!

 

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

Factor 50.

 

And what’s your best haircare tip?

Don’t dye it!

 

I’m ginger and proud of it!

 

What’s next for you?

Going grey and loving that, too.

 

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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