Jessica Chastain: “You Brits are usually so mean to your redheads. Why is that?”

Personally, I think Jessica Chastain’s entire vibe is too “classy” to appear semi-naked in a GQ UK pictorial. It feels wrong and like an unexpectedly trashy move from an actress who has no need to rely on her “sexy” photo shoots to sell her extraordinary work. Like, this photo shoot is more of an Ashley Greene or Jessica Biel move. However, the last time Chastain appeared on a women’s magazine, it was Marie Claire and that photo shoot was TERRIBLE. At least Jessica actually looks pretty in this shoot.

Jessica appears on the January cover of GQ UK to promote Zero Dark Thirty, the Kathryn Bigelow film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Bigelow was trying to make this film for years, even before Navy Seals raided the Pakistani compound where Bin Laden had been living for years. Apparently, Bigelow got help from the Obama administration so that the half-true, half-fictional film would be more realistic. Chastain plays one of the CIA operatives searching for Bin Laden, and there’s lots of buzz that Chastain could be up for her second Oscar nomination for the role. Here are some highlights from Chastain’s GQ interview:

On Zero Dark Thirty and Bin Laden: ‘This film will make news. We all think we know how it ended. We don’t. And this movie is about how it really ended. It is shocking. When I first read the script, I was blown away by this woman. The sacrifices she made and what she had to do. It’s something I still get very emotional about. What happens when you live for this one goal? And then you achieve it.’

Relating to CIA agents: ‘I can relate to those aspects of being in the CIA. For the last three years, my life has been work and only work. I do miss my family. I do feel cut off from my friends. Listen, I know being in the CIA is a lot more important that being an actress, but I do feel some empathy with the loneliness: you give away yourself.’

Ginger angst: ‘You Brits are usually so mean to your redheads. Why is that? In America it’s seen as a good thing. Look at Julia Roberts – she’s cool, right? I was working in Thailand and I’d be walking down the street and people – British people – would stop the car and scream, “ginger!” at me.’

On working with Brad Pitt in Tree of Life: ‘He didn’t have a huge entourage, nothing like that. He just showed up on his motorcycle on the very first day and went, “Hi, I’m Brad.” You just heard the rumbling of his bike and he’d appear like James Dean, or Marlon Brando from The Wild One. He was kind, he was generous, he’d never heard of me but he never made me feel less.’

Sex symbol status? ‘I always find sex scenes embarrassing. But at times they are necessary – I get that. It’s a huge compliment when someone says you’re attractive, especially when I was such an awkward kid – I was very tomboyish, with very short red hair, running around with cowboy boots on. So when someone tells me I’m a sex symbol I’m like, “what?”. But I’ll take what I can get. That’ll teach all those boys back in Junior High! In fact, I hope my very first boyfriend, the guy I dated for one month and who broke up with me at the Valentine’s Day Dance – I hope that boy reads this article.’

[From The Mail]

The anti-ginger thing is so crazy to me. Gingers are awesome! I don’t understand how a supposedly modern culture can have such anti-ginger bigotry. Of course, I’ve also wondered if Jessica is a real redhead… I guess she is?

Also: I should note that within the GQ article and all of the press for Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain is being identified as “35 years old”. I do think that’s probably right – Jessica never tells her real age, but a year ago, she was widely identified as “around 30 years old”.

Photos courtesy of GQ UK.

 

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94 Responses to “Jessica Chastain: “You Brits are usually so mean to your redheads. Why is that?””

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  1. Sisi says:

    I’ve never met a guy who didn’t like redheads… just saying :)

  2. Incredulous says:

    That photoshoot is like Terry Richardson in colour.

    Also, no, Julia Roberts is not cool.

  3. Amelia says:

    Oh Jessica … Why? You’re not Mila Kunis, Vanilla Biel or Nosey Greene. You have talent by the bucketload!!
    As for the ginger thing … I haven’t the foggiest idea why gingers get a lot of stick in Britain. It’s just a long standing joke for whatever reason. It probably came from taking the Mickey out of the Scottish.
    But as a disclaimer, can I just say that we don’t all yell at redheads out of car windows?

  4. Emma says:

    Female redheads are beautiful… unfortunately male redheads are usually… ughh

  5. jinni says:

    That cover pics looks like the GQ sign is pushing her head into a painful position. As for the ginger hate thing, I always thought it was because of the English historical dislike/hatred of the Irish, who are always associated with red hair (even though red hair appears more commonly in people of Scottish descent).

    • jinni says:

      Plus, Judas the Betrayer was always believed or depicted as a redhead. Red hair was supposed to be a sure sign that someone was a witch or at least in league with the devil/demons according to The Malleus Maleficarum (a medieval book on hunting witches). Red haired children were supposedly born of women that had sex during their periods, which was considered sinful. There is a long history in Europe surrounding the dislike/mistrust of redheads.

      • Fee says:

        As far as I can tell, this is pretty much it. The English weren’t particularly fond of the Scots for a long time, either. Witchcraft + the dirty Celts = redhead prejudice. I think the “beat you like a red-headed stepchild” is an Irish thing – ie, I’ll beat you as if you were and illegitimate Irish child.

        There’s a few comments down the way talking about the difference between nastiness to gingers in Scotland and England. It’s worse down south, but I’ve always gotten shit for it up here, too (near Glasgow). IIRC about 14% of the population in Scotland is ginger, about 11% in Ireland, and about 3% in England and Wales. And it’s much lower pretty much everywhere else in the world.

      • jinni says:

        @Fee: I remember reading the “beat you like a redheaded stepchild” is actually a saying from the American South. It was in reference to light skin, light featured, mixed race, slave children born from the rape of a slave woman by the master of the plantation.

      • Kat says:

        That’s interesting…I read that the “red headed stepchild” saying came from the dislike of Irish immigrants at the beginning of the previous century in the US – remember, No Irish Need Apply?

  6. merski says:

    NOOOOOOO, Jessica!!! :(
    I absolutely adore her: she’s a beautiful woman and a great actress. I also feel like this photoshoot is below her. (Except for photo #2 – it’s rather interesting)
    You are so much better than this, woman! I don’t need to see your ass! :(

  7. Riana says:

    …people would pull over and scream ‘ginger’ at her?

    That’s terrible and hilarious. (South Park)

    I recall there was a big thing in Australia where some fast-food restaurant had an ad something like ‘A ginger for a ginger’ like ‘Since you don’t like your ginger haired kids trade them in for a ginger soda’. So yeah apparently the red-headed step child opinion is still very prominent in many parts of the world.

    Gingers do absolutely 0 for me, but how silly a thing to hate a person for.

  8. Miss Kiki says:

    This is so true, I know loads of kids that were teased when I was in Primary school about being ginger. Mr Kiki (26) is a lovely shade of ginger, (we’re talking a little darker than Damien Lewis) but he was dying his hair until last summer. He told me that he used to get bullied endlessly at school, although I do think the fact that he wore a lab coat didn’t help…

  9. marie says:

    GQ look like they photoshopped her head onto some else’s body for the cover..

  10. Isa says:

    Oh the male ginger comments sting a bit! My son is a ginger. My daughter too.

    • j.eyre says:

      My husband and son are gingers and they are gorgeous (biased? Possibly…)

      My understanding of the ginger bit (although my information comes from Scotsmen and not Englishmen) is that it’s not an attractive thing, it’s a wily thing – that gingers are a bit crazy and wild. With this I can totally agree and proclaim Viva the Gingers!

  11. Eevee says:

    As an American redhead I can say from experience the ginger hate happens here all the time as well. Ive had high school kids pull the car over and scream “ginger” at me. It is so offensive & lame. It all really started up after that southpark episode.
    Whatever though – many men LOVE foxy redheads. I think redheads are beautiful & exotic. It took me twenty years to love my hair though. I just don’t understand why people can’t celebrate differences & instead feel the need to cut people down.

  12. Suze says:

    Blech! Jessica, close your mouth. Regain some dignity.

    And I say this as a fan.

    Love redheads. I am one.

    I do have a slight peeve about the use of Briticisms by people in the US. I never heard anyone in my area ever use “ginger” to refer to a redhead (unless it was the ever-awesome GINGER on Gilligan’s Island) until about three years ago. But since it’s British, it’s cool, and now everyone is tossing it around. Same with baby “bump”, and oh, a myriad of other things…

    • telesma says:

      This. I’m a redhead, I grew up in the American south, and no one ever gave me any trouble over my hair. Quite the opposite – I’ve always gotten compliments, people telling me how beautiful it is and how lucky I am to have it.

      I did get some flack for my fishbelly white complexion and sun avoidance, but now I’m 42 and look about half the age of most of the women I went to school with, who were all very into tanning. They look like leather handbags and I don’t. Enjoy your tan, ladies.

      Whatever, I’ve been aware of the UK ginger hatred for years, but it never had anything to do with me until very recently when it became a “thing” in the US, via an internet meme and then South Park. Now people make ginger comments here and there, usually young idiots who think they’re funny. But IME, people in the US do not have anything like the anti-redhead prejudice that you see in the UK.

  13. Britt says:

    In Australia anyone with red hair is called a ‘ranga’ short for orangutan. Our Prime Minister Julia Gillard is probably our most picked on ‘ranga’.

  14. tracking says:

    You can tell she’s acting sexy vs. feeling sexy. Big difference. She took bad advice here. She should be aspiring to Meryl Streep-dom not Jessica Biel-dom.

  15. Cody says:

    I am a teacher and I always have this soft spot for red headed kids. Also,in the last few months when I read about Jessica they are saying her age is 35 years old. IMO, these underwear, sexy girl shots really don’t go with the promotion of a serious film like the capture of Osama bin Laden by the CIA and the Navy Seals.

  16. Kitty says:

    I think it is English people rather than British people who have this weird anti-ginger thing. I am Scottish and being ginger isn’t seen as weird or ugly there. I am more strawberry blonde than marmalade but sadly I don’t have the lovely skin and green eyes that go with it.
    Miss Kiki has a good list of hot ginger/redhead men there.

    • Lee says:

      Yeah, my first thought on reading that comment was to wonder how much of the English distaste for redheads comes from historical animosity with Irish and Scottish people (who are more often redheaded I think)? I don’t actually know much about it though. And I guess that rudeness does extend to other countries as well. I don’t particularly remember all that much teasing of the ginger kids in my classes growing up in Canada. Maybe I was just blind to it though.

    • Miss Kiki says:

      Do you reckon that’s partly because being ginger is usually associated with Scots and the Irish? I’m in England and if someone was to draw a stereotypical picture of someone from Scotland or from Ireland I think they would be ginger, or am I just making that up? It is weird that being ginger is such a *thing* down this end.

    • berry says:

      I’m from Scotland too and it is a problem here, some of my friends have had some terrible things said to them about their hair. Also one of my nephews was born with a red tinge to his hair and my sisiter was so worried about it, which is ridiculous but he’s has grown out of it and is now just blonde.

    • ruby says:

      The french are mean about redheads too, so I’m not sure it has anything to do with scottish people.

      It’s just people being mean, I hate it when they do that :(

      • telesma says:

        The French used to believe that redheads were witches and even vampires. That was a thing in New Orleans before the 20th century, redhead vampirism. I think there weren’t a lot of redheads here back then, and apparently the locals were afraid of them. But no one I’ve ever met thinks that way now.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I’m originally from Ireland and I’m ginger (complete with the Mayo blue eyes and freckles.) The sisters at the Children’s Home where I grew up used to say I was a hellion because of my red hair. :D

  17. natavalina says:

    love her porcelain skin unless its airbrushed

  18. Trek Girl says:

    I do not understand the hate for redheads either. I’ve always thought red hair was beautiful and that redheads can be, and often are, attractive, just like everyone else.
    I know a lot of people in the US are jumping on the redhead/ginger-hating bandwagon just because it’s the hip/funny thing to do, but I hope that doesn’t become anything more than the usually bad joke that it is.

    • j.eyre says:

      Isn’t that interesting – and see, my experience has been totally different.

      My husband who still has a red beard, has become more dark auburn but when I say I married a redhead, people seem to get excited by the prospect.

      My son came out a flaming redhead and it attracted people to him like moths to a candle. They went ballistic, no matter where I was. In Europe, people would take him out of my hands to pet his hair.

      Today, his hair is darkening a little too and people make sad faces and say “oh, isn’t there anything you can do? What a shame.”

  19. Adrien says:

    Redheads are an endangered species. I didn’t mean that in a bad way. I’m saying that they are very unique. I only know one female redhead and she dyes her hair brown and I have not seen a male ginger in real life ( I lived in London for 6 years).

    • Isa says:

      Maybe the town I live in needs to be studied. There are a LOT of redheads popping up around here. I notice them everywhere. My husband has blonde I have black, my kids are 1/4 Hispanic. And they have red hair! I notice them everywhere I go now that I have redheads myself.

  20. QQ says:

    Ok can i ask: what’s with the ongoing snide remarkness about her age? Celebitchy and other outlets do it all the time in any article about her… Why does this matter? The chick is a good competent actress that looks appropriate to whatever part she plays, so why is this shit constantly brought up?

    • Trek Girl says:

      It says at the bottom of the post that Chastain never reveals her real age.

      That may be why people talk about it so much – because they want to know.

    • jinni says:

      I think it’s brought up constantly because that’s the only controversial/scandalous thing about her; no one really knows anything else about her. Gossip sites live off of scandal; got to make stories about a celeb interesting for the readers so that the sites gets hits.

    • Lee says:

      I can only guess that any snide remarks are likely due to her long standing refusal to discuss her age. Though I can’t say I necessarily noticed anything snide about pointing out that outlets are stating her age at 35 considering that her age had never before been stated as fact with such specifics. I hope your not inferring that mentioning that someone is 35 yrs old is in and of itself rude…

    • Lindsay says:

      I don’t if this applies, as far as tone, but there is a long standing blind item that now almost certainly is her. She is hiding a lot under the rug by playing this weird, vague numbers game. Plus, honestly at this point it is a little bizarre. Actress lie about there ages, but they at least give one. She has been pulling this for years now and it is either an over played stunt or she is that girl. She give all sorts of other details about her life, why not a number?

  21. Harpreet says:

    I agree with Kaiser, she is so talented, I thought she’d never have to do shoots like this, but I guess to draw in the male audience to her new film, she was asked to be in GQ.

  22. Belladonna says:

    The “kick a ginger day” thing began in the UK and prior to it jumping the pond, you never heard the term in North America. As a natural redhead with very pale skin and green eyes, I received my share of teasing growing up. By the time I was 16 though, the attention from guys changed dramatically. I spent a month in Thailand last year and nobody said a word about my flaming mop and dyed red hair seemed commonplace (even among natives) A big deal was made over my fair skin though, as light skin denotes affluence in Asian culture. Even the deodorant I bought in a local Boots pharmacy was “whitening formula”….

    • Mica says:

      I live in Malaysia and to be frank, people here appreciate fair skin than tanned. Beauty products usually has “whitening agent” which guarantees you’ll have at least 2-3 shades fairer in just 2 weeks and believe me, with the scorching sun all year long, it’s really hard to not to get tanned.

  23. Talia says:

    As said above it is kinda beneath her to do this kind of shoot. But Ellen Von Unwerth is known for this kinda image, I love the pictures so why the heck not do it.

    I have no idea about the ginger taunting, as a person who has an English mum but foreign dad I got attacked mercilessly over not fitting in any kind of stereotype.
    This kinda stuff happens right no matter where youre from. Or what you look like.

  24. A says:

    Love her. So talented and incredibly beautiful.

  25. Stacia says:

    I dont understand that ginger-hate either. I’m fascinated with looking at gingers…esp. ginger-men. That Damien Lewis…HOT! I think that gingers are uniquely beautiful. And back in the day…Simple Red- with red dredlocks-(although he’s lost his good looks now).

  26. Kloops says:

    I love red hair. Do not understand this stupid “anti-ginger” bs. All variations of the human color spectrum are beautiful.

  27. KellyinSeattle says:

    “You Brits”…how condescending is that? If she goes to England and nobody likes her, it isn’t due to her red hair!

  28. Rll says:

    England is not anti-ginger, it’s like saying all Americans are fat and brash, and all the French smell of garlic – Bullshit. People here are more concerned with their flooded out houses and sickmaking high taxes right now, we don’t go down the street shouting “ginger!” at people. Maybe kids at school were teased for having red hair – well I got teased for being pale and freckly but you don’t see me accusing an entire country of being anti ghost-skin freckle-face.

  29. I’m a redhead who grew up in the U.S. and I remember getting teased as a child . . . by other children. Adults were always very complimentary.

    I’ve been to the UK several times and have never been teased about my hair, but maybe they just didn’t do it so I could hear them. I don’t much care either way.

  30. KK says:

    Wait a minute…the bin laden case files are classified. How do the makers of this film have the information if supposedly we don’t know the real ending according to Chastain? How would they obtain that information? If they weren’t given it? Or does she believe that the script is fact? This movie and the information it’s claiming to have are scary. Since when does Hollywood (or anyone) get access to classified and fresh intelligence in their scripts and movies?

    • Lindsay says:

      Seriously? There has been a book written by a guy who was there, a documentary, a news style interview breakdown with people in the room with the President as he was making the call, a movie, a whole trove of declassified documents released under the FOIA (heavily redacted) from before to his burial at sea.

      Also, it is not all true – it is a the producer is a huge Obama supporter, he raised million when he hosted an event with Anne Hathaway. There were complaints of propaganda so the release date was moved to after the election. Which I think is stupid that they caved. Anyway, it been broken down and reconstructed and analyzed from every angle it won’t be surprising anymore. The Navy Seal that wrote the book real forced everyone’s hand. I personally would rather learn about historic, important events from someone who was there or from the government not a movie.

      • KK says:

        I agree with about learning from someone who was actually there. This movie looks fantastic, in a cinematic manner, but reeks of propaganda. Movies take anywhere from 6 -10 months to make, not to mention the months of pre-production and writing, too. Meaning they had to have made it up, because that Navy Seal gave his interview after the movie was already made, as well as the people who were in room news reports. So either they made it up or have info. PS I love Chastain, why did she have to do this spread? She’s so incredibly talented.

  31. Meredith says:

    I just finished a Ruth Rendell (British mystery author) book where a character was taunted so terribly because of her red hair that she ended up dyeing it black … and dying because of it! I read a LOT of British fiction and that was the first I’d ever heard of it. The kids on the subway were grabbing at her, taking her hat off, that kind of thing. Ugh!! Glad to know it’s not all that prevalent. My hubby is ginger and I can’t wait to have a little redhaired baby :)

  32. blonde on the dock says:

    I’m a redhead and grew up in Canada. I was teased constantly because of it. My son has red hair as well. One day picking him up from school a little sh-t classmate called him carrot top. Well all those years of teasing came back in a flash.
    On another note I love Jessica Chastian. She’s a great actress and very beautiful especially because of her red hair!

  33. RobN says:

    Don’t care about her hair or her age, but those pictures are horrendous. Close your freaking mouth for god’s sake. Why is no actress smart enough to say “Hey, photographer guy, I’m not doing the BJ face for the camera, I’m an actual actress.”

  34. Mara says:

    She is a lovely and talanted actress .

  35. One of the prettiest and most talented actresses in Hollywood. Love her red hair and pale skin, not to mention her body (WOW!).

    And almost all actresses do these kind of shoots – I don’t see what the big deal is. Jennifer Lawrence posed in Esquire and even though I think she (and Jessica) are extremely talented and don’t HAVE to do it, it still brings a new audience to their movies.

  36. Gracie says:

    I’m side-eying this entire thread. Maybe I’m just a cold-hearted Native Blacktina… I understand being bullied for hair texture but hair color, I can’t see. I swear this thread is the first I’ve heard someone complain, or make being pale sound like a disability. *kanye shrug*

    • Lucrezia says:

      Huh. I’m an Aussie, and didn’t know hair-texture discrimination was even a “thing” until I was 30. There were a couple of kids at school with afro-textured hair, but it was exotic enough to be considered cool.

      On the other hand, my red hair, freckles, and inability to tan were considered distinctly uncool.

      It wasn’t until this thread that I learnt redheads generally aren’t teased in the US … I just assumed the teasing of rangas was universal.

  37. Katyusha says:

    I don’t get it – some of the most beautiful girls I have EVER seen were redheads; and I mean natural, not dyed.

  38. shontay says:

    Some of the posing is awkward, but I have no problem with the semi naked pics. There’s nothing wrong with a woman putting herself out there that way. This alone doesn’t make her trashy or relying on sex appeal to sell her work. Jessica is talented and smart, so this is just her putting herself out there in a different way. This isn’t beneath her.

  39. kaligula says:

    Brits are just mean period.

    And this photo shoot of her is ridiculously bad.

  40. Ginger says:

    Well I am a ginger (obviously) but not naturally. I have natural brown with red undertones. I switched from blonde to red on the advice of a former flame and have never looked back. I’ve been coloring various shades of red for over 20 years. Whenever I think of a different color for myself I get wistful because I know I would really miss the red even though its a high maintenance color. I just love it! I don’t get the anti ginger stance at all. I’m glad it’s not this way in the states,

  41. Kat says:

    I have auburn hair and was never teased about it – my sister’s hair is more red than mine and she wasn’t either. The ginger stuff is funny to me b/c I’ve only ever heard it applied good-naturedly, but if people are actually mean about that’s f-ed up.

    I think redheads are gorgeous – they even gave Jessica Rabbit red hair. :)

  42. FireNgin says:

    I’m a redheaded American and don’t recall ever bring teased. Well, in high school, the question of the “carpet matching the drapes” was a thing, but more in a sexual harassment, rather than a bullying way ; ) I embraced it, thus the title, “fire engine.” For all the ginges, please refer to Bruce Springsteen’s “Red Headed Woman.” Total redhead empowerment :)

  43. cari says:

    WHy isn’t anyone discussing the real elephant in the corner? Does no one know Robin WIlliams is her biological dad? She keeps it a secret. Like the fact he fully paid for her Juilliard Schooling, and the door was opened for a lot of the movies she has been in.