If anyone were to ask me what my favorite feature about myself is, I would say my hair. No, it’s not because it is a particular length, nor has great volume or whatever. The reason why I love my hair so much is that it’s ginger. I consider myself a very proud Irish girl, and even more, a very proud ginger person. I have all the standard features associated with being ginger. I have red hair, pale skin, freckles, bright eyes, and unfortunately, a terrible relationship with the sun. So, I guess a question is: why would I have to be proud of it? Many different people have many different hair colors, so why aren’t they all standing tall and declaring themselves proud? Well, I think the reason for that is because out of all the hair colors, ginger hair is unique and the most different, and as the saying goes, people usually hate and fear what is different.
I deem myself pretty lucky. I grew up with great parents and fantastic friends. I did well in school and tried my best to stay out of trouble. However, trouble always seemed to find me. I moved around a lot because my parent’s job kept us on the road, so I went to many different schools. I didn’t mind it at all, I loved it in fact. Except for one thing. While some of the kids were nice to the “new girl”, I mostly got the piss taken out of me and for all the reasons people could have chosen. It was for my hair. I was teased, bullied, and beaten up just because I am a ginger.
People say words can’t hurt. That is a lie. Words do hurt. Being called a “vampire”, “fire crotch”, “zombie”, “the un-dead”, “freak” or “ugly” repeatedly hurts a lot. Being asked if I should even be allowed out during the day, or if my freckles really are everywhere was too much for me to take, especially at such a young age. What was worse is that I got beat on. Girls liked to corner me, pull on my hair and hit me. Boys liked to spit on me and asked perverted questions about my hair and my freckles. I know not all gingers have it rough, but I guess in this case, I was one of the unlucky ones. It did such major damage to my self-esteem. I hated myself. I never wanted to go to school. I gave into what people said about me. I thought I was a freak and a monster. I thought I was hideous and I never wanted to look into the mirror. I could not tell my family. They have always taught me to be strong. Being Irish is hard enough and my family is used to hearing bad things, but adding on being a ginger, and it’s worse. I am an only child and neither of my parents have red hair, so, that was another reason for my hatred of myself. I wondered why I had to be ginger. I wondered why I couldn’t have blonde or brunette hair like them. It was terrible.
So, by the time I was about twelve I was pretty depressed with no way out. Sure, I could dye my hair but I couldn’t change my skin color or remove my freckles. I felt trapped in a body that I knew would be rejected for as long as I lived. Then it happened. I was watching the telly one afternoon and I saw it. It was a preview of some sort to “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. I had never read the books, but of course, I heard of them. I just never had any interest in them. However, I watched the preview and saw the most amazing thing. One of the main heroes, Ron Weasley, was ginger. In fact, his entire family was ginger. Instantly I was intrigued. Gingers are never really seen as heroes. The girls are either highly sexual or dangerous; and the blokes are usually nerds or too afraid and timid to save the day. However, Ron Weasley was a hero. He was strong, brave, funny, and completely attractive. Therefore, I was suddenly interested. I saw the movie when it hit theaters just to see him in action and I was in love. It had nothing to do with the plot, the special effects, or even the acting. I fell in love with Rupert Grint.
I loved seeing him be humorous, brave, confident, a bit sarcastic, and other things that I have never seen from such a young ginger on screen. In fact, I had never seen it at all. That’s why the previews to the movie drew me in. There was a whole bloody family of gingers kicking arse, and that was a wake-up call for me. For the first time, I saw a ginger hero. I saw one in the flesh. We don’t get too many of our own in such a major role, so there was no way I could stop. Therefore, automatically Rupert drew me in because of his hair and I instantly became a fan of his. After the first one, I knew I had to watch them all as soon as they came out, and I’m glad I did. The movies are great, Rupert is wicked as Ron, and represents us gingers perfectly in his role.
I felt an instant connection to Rupert when I’d watch him on screen, and I still do. I watched his interviews, read things he had to say, and did as much as I could to get to know him. There is this confidence about him that I really love and I can tell that he’s proud of what he is. It was strange to me. There I was, scared to go to school where I could be attacked; but Rupert Grint was out in the public eye. Millions of people could see him and make judgments, but it didn’t seem to bother him. In fact, sometimes he likes to draw attention to the fact that he’s a ginger. That takes a lot of courage!
As I watched Rupert more and more, I found a few things in myself. I was so happy and proud that he was a ginger. I felt so lucky that Rupert was one of our kind; and in being proud of him, I found pride in myself. It’s not easy. We live in a world of South Park episodes, terrible Halloween and Christmas cards, websites, and jokes made just for gingers. I don’t, and will never understand it. It’s just a hair color and pale skin; but apparently, it makes you something evil and it makes people want to make fun of you.
Over the years, I fell deeper and deeper in love with him and now it’s more than a feeling. I know I have a deep connection to him and I haven’t even met him. He is more than an actor or a celebrity to me. He is a hero. He is a role model and an example of what real gingers are like. I see so much of his personality in me and in my mates; it’s very easy to look up to him for strength and courage. In his interview on Rove in 2009, Rupert was asked if he thought he was a role model for ginger people. He said, “Yeah, I think I represent the ginger people.” He’s certainly correct! He has no idea what he does for the ginger community. He’s gaining so much attention and is used a lot now for famous ginger people. Every time I see an article using Rupert as one of the famous gingers, I just feel my heart melt a bit. He is so our Ginger Hero. He’s the ideal example that gingers are not freaks and we’re not the living dead. We are real people. We have lives and feelings just like everyone else. We can be successful, popular, and kind. We can be attractive, funny, and outgoing but more importantly, gingers can be shy, quiet, and display manners. Not every ginger is either a nerd or a bad arse. Rupert Grint breaks so many stereotypes for ginger people and more importantly, ginger males. One of my male cousins is a ginger, and he always uses Rupert as his example of what ginger men should be like. He looks up to him as a male role model and he respects him so much. Rupert has no idea that behind him is a ginger army of supporters.
Rupert is marvelous. The way he carries himself is inspiring. So many of my ginger friends and family members brag about having Rupert as our hero. He really is a star and a beacon of light for us. Rupert’s fan base is also inspiring. I think it is wonderful that all his fans just love him, his hair and porcelain skin. It’s great that so many people from so many different backgrounds all agree that he is beautiful. It’s touching and makes us ginger people feel even stronger. It can be hard feeling attractive when you have such pale skin, freckles, and really piercing eyes; but the fact that all his fans find those qualities so appealing about him gives me and the ginger community hope.
Over the years, my love and respect for him has grown to a level that I can’t even describe. I saw “Cherrybomb” in Dublin and it is one of my favorite movies of all time! Because of not only the plot, the location, and the acting, but Rupert was once again in control. He was smart, sexy, confident, and a ladies’ man as Malachy. He was all of these things while still being a ginger. I love that he didn’t dye his hair for the role. I love that he is always a ginger. Some celebrities are quick to dye their hair or want to cover it up, but I do not think Rupert is, or will be like that. It really lifts my spirits and gives me strength even on the worst of days. So many times I think, “Well, Rupert does it. I have no reason not to.”
However, it’s not always so easy. It’s really terrible feeling like you’ll never be loved or accepted. It can be lonely and terrifying as well. It’s so important that all gingers find something in themselves to love and hold on to. It’s also important, I think, to have a role model. Rupert Grint, and even Bonnie Wright, are great examples. Their Ron and Ginny Weasley characters are the epitome of strength and love. Watching them and watching Rupert, on and off the screen, has helped me love life and myself again. It’s a blessing really. When someone asks who my hero is, I proudly say Rupert Grint.
Now, I could not care less what people have to say about me. I am stronger and much prouder of myself. I love myself and what I look like. It’s easy for me to be proud of my skin, freckles, eyes, and my hair. Ten years ago, I would never have the stomach to say, “I’m ginger and I’m proud of it!”. But now, it’s like second nature for me, and it’s something I do often. I hate what has happened to me, but in a way, I’m thankful for it. My experiences have helped me to keep an open mind; because I know what it is like to be hated against for stupid things. I know what it’s like to be ridiculed for something out of one’s control. I feel a greater connection to people and I always try my hardest to be fair and kind. I could never do to others what has been done to me. If I hadn’t gone through it, I don’t think I could say that as confidently as I can now.
Rupert Grint is the main reason why I’m not afraid to go out and live and why I’ve been able to find some humor about bring ginger. Rupert is such a beautiful man. He has a light and a spirit behind him that is immeasurable. He is so kind, smart, brave and absolutely gorgeous. Rupert is my hero and I love him so much. The days that I feel down thinking about my past, and the days where I hear about something awful being said or done to a ginger, I think about Rupert. It lifts my head a bit higher and I’m able to get through it. I know he gets through it, and I know I can too. He takes everything that happens to him, good and bad, and is able to learn from it and keep that amazing smile on his face. It’s not easy for him at times. I know that, but he does not let it stop him. His confidence and courage bleeds out of him, and touches me and other gingers, who need him as our guidance. It’s such a powerful feeling and makes me so emotional and full of hope.
There are so many examples I could give about Rupert saying or doing something amazing in regards to him being ginger, but I picked this one because it’s recent and because it brought me automatically to tears. It’s a prime example of Rupert being one wonderful ginger! On the “Half Blood Prince” DVD, Tom Felton asked the question about what the stars would change most about the world. There were many great answers like war and poverty, but Rupert’s of course, really touched my heart and hit home. He simply replied with, “Everyone to be ginger would be good. A ginger world, that would be cool.” It melted my heart. I cried. It was unexpected, but completely expected coming from him. It’s comments like that that make me love Rupert a little more each day, and make me love myself more as well. It’s the way he said it, and the smile on his face, that makes him a true leader and a fantastic role model. I know he’s not just proving everyone wrong for himself. He’s proving people wrong for me and for all the other gingers who are cast aside because of minor details.
I give Rupert Grint so much credit for what he does, and I love him so much. Every day that I wake up and I’m able to look in the mirror and like what I see, I thank him. It’s because of him that I’m a proud ginger. It’s because of his courage that I have courage and strength to stand up for myself and others like me. If it weren’t for Rupert Grint, I don’t know where I’d be emotionally. He’s done more than entertain me. Rupert has reshaped my life just by leading with his confidence and pride.
Thank you Rupert Grint for being my muse and my Ginger Hero!