RED: Minna Gilligan


Despite the occasional freak out about the whole race dying out, red heads and our love for them seems eternal. So when one of our long time favourites Heather Lighton told us about her latest project Red, we couldn’t resist. First up: Artist and all around lady legend, Minna Gilligan.

Minna Gilligan is a natural born Art Star. She works primarily within the realms of painting, drawing, and collage and has international clients such as Urban Outfitters, Asos and Nasty Gal. Minna, also illustrates for Rookie and counts legendary Tavi Gevinson as a bestie. If you you knew nothing about Minna before meeting her, the first thing you might notice is her strong red hair paired with bold red lip and an outfit straight from vintage heaven. Miss Gilligan is a force on the come up who is only getting stronger.


Heather: First tell me a little about yourself.
Minna: My name is Minna Gilligan, I’m an artist based in Melbourne

Have you ever been given any ‘red head’ related nicknames?
I actually can’t say I have.


From my research on redheads there seems to be a stereotype that red headed women are fiery tempered and sexy and red headed men are meek. How do you feel about these stereotypes?
I’ve heard that stereotype in regards to women but didn’t know about the “red headed men being meek” one. I kind of enjoy the idea that I’m oooh “sexy” and fiery and stuff, but let’s be honest, my red hair wouldn’t have the capacity to make any of those things true. I have read a number of things that I like to believe which is that those with red hair are more sensitive to hot and cold, and that those with red hair need more anaesthetic because they have more blood or their blood is warmer or something? Of course these are untrue. The only thing that I know to be true is that red hair is a recessive gene and that we are precious and rare little gems to be worshiped as Gods among men. JOKING. But red hair IS a recessive gene. I got it from my Great Grandmother and no-one else in my now-living immediate or distant family has my colour hair.

What do you like most about your hair colour?
I like the richness and depth of it, and I like how it can look different in different lights.


Is there anything you don’t like about your hair colour?
No, I really like it. I suppose my sun sensitive skin goes hand in hand with my hair colour, I do wish I could go outside without sunscreen for more than 10 minutes without getting sunburnt.


Have you ever changed your hair colour or wanted to?
When I was in Year 9 my Mum let me put a rinse in my hair which was a BIG DEAL OKAY. It was just a brown rinse and hardly changed my hair colour even a shade. It’s near impossible to dye my hair. We didn’t tell my Dad because he’d get mad “WHY would you want to change your beautiful hair colour!?” but when he saw me after I’d done it he didn’t even notice. After the non reaction I didn’t really pursue the idea. Many years later in Art School I bleached the ends of my hair and then dyed them pink. It was some sort of rebellious gesture, plus, red and pink is my favourite colour combination, but that’s the extent of me altering my hair colour.


Do you think attitudes about red hair are changing?
I don’t know, I mean, you’d have to be preeeettttty stupid to have a negative attitude towards someone because of their hair colour! I’ve never really experienced any major discriminatory behaviour or bullying because of it, but if anyone has made some kind of low brow “ranga” joke, I just mark them off in my head as someone not worth my time or energy. Most people I know really like my hair colour, and a lot of people are envious of it. I get stopped on the street with compliments or questions really regularly. I think a lot of people with my colour hair have similar experiences.


Words and photography Heather Lighton 



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