By Sheri LaFontaine
We’ve heard it said that blondes have more fun, but there is a group of gingers that will tell you a very different story. According to a Clairol Color Attitude survey, 71% of redheads think that the word “bold” best describes them, which is 24 points ahead of blonds. This certainly makes sense, being that redheads are known for their fiery passion.
Just like Little Orphan Annie, Opie Taylor, Lucy, Prince Harry and Reba, our Southern Gospel industry has experienced many carrot-tops in the spotlight. From the ultimate Irish tenor, Larry Ford, to the living legend, Lou Hildreth, no one can deny the talent that comes with those orange locks.
Scientists say that red hair and blue eyes are the rarest combination in the world, which makes Olivia Collingsworth a unique beauty.
Sheri: Where did your red hair come from?
Olivia: My red hair actually came from my great Grandpa. After I was born my parents could not figure out where it came from, because nobody in our family had red hair except for one of my cousins and she got it from a different side of her family. My parents had only seen black and white photos of my dad’s Grandpa, but one day they saw one in color and realized he had red hair. Kinda put two and two together!
Sheri: Do you like it?
Olivia: Since I was little, I never really minded my red hair! I always kinda liked being different than everyone else!
Moving from one baby of a talented family to another. Miss Kennedy Hayes of the Mylon Hayes Family is winning the hearts of audiences across the country. Born on October 31st, she truly is the perfect little pumpkin.
Sheri: What’s the best part of having red hair?
Kennedy: The best part about being a redhead is that it is rare! And to have brown eyes is unique, and it’s how God made me! Sometimes I wish I didn’t have red hair when people ask if I have a temper to go with it.
Sheri: Have you ever been made fun of because of your hair?
Kennedy: Since I am home-schooled, I have never been teased, unless you count my brothers. When I was maybe four years old, we were walking on the beach and a lady asked my mom if she colored my hair! Wow…some people can ask funny questions!
We couldn’t possibly write an article like this without speaking to the amazing tenor with the bushy red mustache, Larry Ford.
Sheri: Are you actually Irish?
Larry: Yes, I am very Irish. My dad’s family is, of course, Fords. My mom’s family is Kennedy.
Sheri: Have you ever been to Ireland?
Larry: Our first trip to Ireland was in 1995 and it was really a homecoming for me.
Sheri: Is there a downside to being a true redhead?
Larry: Along with the red hair there’s often a tendency to have really white skin that doesn’t much like the sun. I’ve always had a “farmer’s tan” and more freckles on my left arm (driving with the window rolled down) than my right arm. One time I was at a church in the Florida Keys. On Saturday the pastor and I went out to snorkel and catch lobster. Always mindful of how easily I burn, I applied Bullfrog sunscreen to my face, neck and arms. We probably spent two or three hours out on the water. Later that afternoon, I felt a burning sensation. The two or three inch strip between where my swim shorts and T-shirt did not meet, was cooked. Also, the backs of my knees were cooked. I couldn’t even bend my legs to walk. I was walking stiff legged when I walked into church the next morning. Note to self: ALWAYS take the time to apply sunscreen to every area that might even possibly be exposed to Florida sun. If you don’t, it can be extremely painful and dangerous for your skin. However, the lobster was really good.
Next we spoke with the triplets that named their group after the hue of their beautiful hair.
Sheri: So, how do you like having/being Red Roots?
Red Roots: We love being redheads because it makes us different in a lot of ways. We aren’t crazy about the sunburns but everything else is all right.
Sheri: Where did you get it from?
Red Roots: We got our red hair from our mom and she said that when she was young, people used to tease her about being red headed by saying a funny phrase. “I’d rather be dead than red on the head.”
Poor Momma Red Roots.
Josh Singletary is one of the brightest people in the business today. And I’m not just talking about his hair.
Sheri: What are some of the things you hear a lot from the fans?
Josh: I’m constantly asked if I color it. And the red hair confirms to people that I’m from Ireland, even though they know tons of redheads that live down the street that are as redneck as they come.
Sheri: Any perks that come with having orange hair?
Josh: Well, regardless of the hundreds of folks in line for the ride, my youth director never had any trouble at theme parks, knowing where we were in the line for a roller coaster. And he seemed to ALWAYS know when MY turn on the roller coaster was done!
A true sweetheart in this industry is the beautiful, Misty Freeman.
Sheri: Do you have any Irish in you?
Misty: I’m a mutt so I’m sure there is Irish in there somewhere.
Sheri: So how has life been for you, as a redhead?
Misty: Growing up, it was never popular to have red hair. Only older people thought it was pretty. But as a teenager I started loving it. I felt different but in a good way. My husband jokingly says he married me in spite of my red hair. When our daughter was born I just knew she’d have red hair. It was the first thing I asked the nurse “does she have red hair?” To which she sternly replied, ” She’s healthy!” She had pretty dark brown hair! Which Bryce was happy about.
Fast forward two years, I’m having my son and never ever thought I’d have a redheaded son. But the first thing I hear is Reba Rambo in the delivery room saying, “look at that red hair!”
They showed him to me and his hair was bright orange and all I could do was giggle!! What a fun surprise. We definitely get a lot of attention with those red curls but we’ve also had a lot of negative comments too. One man in line with us one day said, “poor little guy having to grow up with that hair”. I hope he grows up to love his.
Sheri: Where did you get it from?
Misty: I get it from both sides of the family. My mom had red hair and my dad did when he was a baby. I have aunts and cousins that are redheads too. The older I get the more I love it!
Only 1-2% of the world’s population are natural redheads. Although parting the red hair can hardly be compared to parting the Red Sea, it is still a rare and extraordinary miracle of God. Some could call it luck, but I think that Joel Hemphill said it best when he penned the song, “Don’t Call Me Lucky, Call Me Blessed.”