The Fascinating Science Behind Red Hair

Here, three of these 154 million sweet, magical marvels talk to us about making the world see red.

On Karen: Gucci collar, shirt, and skirt.

Karen Elson

The British supermodel is naturally strawberry blonde, but started enhancing her color at 18 when photographer Steven Meisel convinced her to take the plunge for a magazine shoot. “It changed my life,” Elson says. “I looked in the mirror and said, ‘This is me.'” She’s kept it up ever since, tweaking the shade to be slightly richer or lighter depending on the season. “There are infinite possibilities in being a redhead.”

When asked if she believes redheads have unique characteristics, Elson offers a quote: “Mark Twain said, ‘While the rest of the planet is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.’ We’re a little mysterious and hard to pin down.”

On Tess: Simone Rocha dress and coat.

Tess Carter

Until recently, the Nassau, Bahamas-born model considered herself a blonde. “[But] a couple of months ago I was looking at photos of myself and I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’m a redhead.'” Carter is now thoroughly embracing the lifestyle. “Redheads have such a kind aura about them,” she says. “I don’t think I’ve ever made contact with a ‘bad’ redhead.” 

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