With BBC’s Poldark taking over our TV screens, nay, our lives of late, you’re probably already well-acquainted with the face (and hair) of Eleanor Tomlinson, who plays passionate, driven and ginger Demelza Poldark in the drama. Now in its fourth series, Poldark shot Eleanor and her vibrant hair shade to fame, and has transformed her into a ginger icon in the UK, hailed by natural and aspiring redheads alike.
But despite suiting her red hair perfectly, Eleanor is in fact a dyeing redhead. But we like to think she’s officially come over to the ginger side where she belongs (and we hope she’ll stay here, too).
We caught up with her to hear her thoughts on being a redhead by choice, her tips for maintaining her bright red hair shade, and how she feels about representing gingers on the small screen.
You’ve become something of a redhead icon since dyeing your hair for your role as Demelza in Poldark – was this the first time you’d come over to the ginger side?
Over the years I’ve dyed my hair every colour under the sun for different roles. Demelza is described as a brunette in the books but on reading the script, I just saw her as a fiery redhead! It was the first time I’d been red and I’m certainly going to keep it. Whoever said blondes have all the fun was wrong!
How has having red hair affected you?
Being a redhead gives me a confidence that I never had as a blonde, or any other colour for that matter.
I feel like people take me seriously as a redhead which is really empowering.
In the ginger community there’s something that’s called the ‘redhead look’ where a fellow ginger will give you a nod of acknowledgement – have you experienced this while having red hair?
Ha! I’m not sure I have experienced the “redhead look” but I will certainly look out for it now!
How did you achieve your specific shade of red hair?
The specific shade of my hair is created by my wonderful hairdresser Katie at Charles Worthington. It’s a mix of a few colours.
What’s your favourite thing about being a redhead?
My favourite thing about being a redhead is the confidence it gives me. I feel stronger and braver. It seems bizarre that a hair colour can have that effect. I feel like people take me seriously as a redhead which is really empowering.
Whoever said blondes have all the fun was wrong!
As a dyed redhead, how do you feel about people calling you ‘ginger’? Do you think it should be used interchangeably with ‘redhead’, or is that something different?
I don’t mind if people refer to me as “ginger” or “redhead”. I have a jumper with “Ginge” written on it in support of redheads around the world.
…Yes, you do, Eleanor!
Do you think attitudes are changing towards redheads in the UK?
I think attitudes towards redheads have definitely changed in the UK. Everyone wants a piece of the ginger action now!
Do you have any family members with red hair?
My dog Bert Bacharach has red hair. He’s a babe.
Who is your all-time favourite ginger and why?
My all-time favourite ginger is Demelza (obviously!) but I also have a love of the Pre-Raphaelites. My favourite redheads would be The Lady of Shallot by Waterhouse and Elizabeth Siddall as Ophelia by Millais.
What’s your best make-up and skincare tip for redheads?
Sun cream! I use cruelty-free makeup, too. My favourite brands are Pai, Inika, Bert’s Bees and The Body Shop.
My favourite thing about being a redhead is the confidence it gives me. I feel stronger and braver.
And what’s your best haircare tip for maintaining your red hair?
My tip for maintaining my red hair is to use a coloured shampoo and conditioner. It’s also important though to do regular treatments as dyeing your hair repeatedly isn’t good for your hair.
What’s next for you?
I have just finished filming an adaptation of The War of the Worlds for the BBC so we are completing post-production on that. I start filming the last series of Poldark in September, so I’m going to take the rest of the summer off and go on holiday!
You can still catch Eleanor in the latest series of Poldark on BBC1 on Sunday evenings at 9pm, and her debut album, Tales from Home is out now and available from iTunes.
Interview by Emma