My Red People
I often feel simultaneously insecure and superior at auditions. I’m nervous, questioning why I go through this, and way early. The role exists in my head and in my room, where I practice the lines, until I enter the room full of my competition. Suddenly I understand why I’ve been called in and what they are looking for. Then I try to figure out how I can stand out but also embody exactly what they want. Usually it comes down to my head. No one else in that room (at least it hasn’t happened yet) has real red hair. This means without opening my mouth they will assume many things that will sometimes work to my advantage.
People assume I’m feisty, fiery, hot-tempered, and quirky. I live with red hair prejudice on a daily basis. I tried to tell my black friend that I knew what being a minority was like because of my hair. I am only 4% of the world population. She, very understandably, wasn’t having it, but there are some similarities. People try to set me up with their other redheaded friends. The idea is we’ll see a red glow coming from each other’s heads and fall instantly in love. At one point in history people lynched red heads because we are all witches. Oh, and stupid people think all redheads look the same. I’ve been told I look like Molly Ringwald, Peter Pan, Conan O’brien, Leprechauns, Lindsay Lohan, the Wendy’s Logo, and Meryl Streep, which when you’re an actor is like being told you look like God.
My red people made the news recently because scientists predict that in 100 years redheads will be extinct. It’s a recessive gene, and redheads aren’t mating with other redheads, probably because redheaded boys are not fierce: they are Ron Weasley. They look like they still eat Elmer’s glue. Redheaded boys know that they look like this, so sometimes they overcompensate, shaving their heads and getting a lot of tattoos. I don’t want to have children with Ron Weasley or neck-tat man, but this doesn’t stop redheaded boys in bars. “We should procreate.” Or if they don’t have red hair, “You know, my grandfather had red hair….” Good for him. These boys probably just want to see if the carpet matches the drapes. In high school I once humored friends with a quick peak in the girls bathroom, but it felt cheap, like putting on a freak show.
To avoid the freak show that is being an extra I’ve come to any easy solution, stop buying birth control. I need to save my people from extinction.