Tomas Knights re-brands gingers as ‘Red Hot’ in new art show

Posted on 11 November 2013
By Jade-Elizabeth Masters
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A new exhibition celebrating the beauty of ginger men is set to open in an attempt to ‘re-brand’ red-headed men as alpha males.

Artist Thomas Knights spent a year seeking out auburn haired adonises to reverse the stigma attached to ginger men across Britain.

Naturally red haired himself, Knights says that during his early years he was subjected to bullying as a result of his red locks.

A recent study by ancestry company Britain’s DNA found that 20 million people in the British population carry the ginger gene.

With no red-haired male role models to look up to, Thomas grew up hating his hair but his exhibition Red Hot, re-defines ginger stereotypes.

The fashion photographer, who has worked for Vogue Italia and Marie Claire, gathered 36 redheads to be part of the exhibition and hopes to reach 50 by its opening.

Thomas said: “The aim of the exhibition is to create the image of a positive role model for ginger men because there’s a serious lack of them in the UK.

“In film and TV they’re portrayed as weak characters.

“It’s just like any other form of prejudice – being anti-ginger is like one of the last acceptable forms of racism left in our society.

“Red haired men are never heroes or the leading man, never the alpha male, or portrayed as sexual.

“They seem to emasculate and desexualise guys with ginger hair.

“There is an institutionalised stigma prevalent in the UK especially.

“During the course of putting this show togegther, I’ve had some very positive feedback from Mums and Dads and spouses from around the world showing real gratitude because there’s stigma in the US too.

“They’ve got some real horror stories about the red haired men in their family being bullied.

“But it’s far worse in the UK – it’s a hangover from the war with the Scots about 500 years ago where negative attention was turned to their red hair and now it’s stuck.

“Children pick up on what’s different and it’s been allowed to develop in our country, then as adults we’re are derogatory to people with red hair without realising.

“It’s taboo or quirky or exotic to have a ginger model in a show.

“When looking for models, I called all the agencies and none of them had any. One agency said they’d send me a package of their red headed boys, but ten minutes later called back realising they didn’t have any.

“The agencies were shocked realising none of their models had red hair and nobody had ever wanted them before – I found most of my models street casting.”

The exhibition Red Hot will be on display at The Gallery in Redchurch Street, London from 16 December 2013.