Hey, Internet. It's been a while. And while I've been off doing my thing and becoming the person I'm going to be, there's one thing that hasn't changed. That's right, I'm still a ginge.
I recently joined Toastmasters to finesse my orating skills. It's quite a lot of fun and I really recommend it. The spontaneous 'table topics' where you're given a random subject and need to speak about it on-the-spot is particularly trying.
For my first speech, I needed to share a bit about myself. I chose to talk about my life as a redhead. People seemed to like it, so here it is for you to enjoy. Go ahead, let the sunshine in! :)
Speech: The Perks of Being a Redhead
Hello. My name is Devon and I am a redhead.
I'm one of the world's two per cent who get to carry a little sunshine on their head every day. Some speculate that we redheads may even be dying out. This means genetically, I am a unicorn.
For me to come into this world a redhead, I needed two things in utero -- a recessive gene on my mom's side, and the same on my dad's. Given they both had brown hair, you can imagine their surprise when they saw me!
Fiery hair does not come without drawbacks, though. For me to survive in the world I need two things: A sense of humour, and sunscreen with a very high SPF.
Ladies and gentlemen, for my inaugural speech, today I'm going to tell you about the perks of being a redhead. You will learn that because of the very things that make me special -- my hair and fair skin, my tiny community, and the folklore that sounds us--, that those perks may also be called jerks. Because the path of the redhead is not a smooth one, but it sure does sparkle.
The first perk of being a redhead is I get to have orange hair. Orange hair is just not that common, and I'm told it's hard to fake by hairdressers. Apparently, it also takes longer to go white. Knock on wood!
But with the hair comes the fair skin, making us redheads a notoriously precious sort. As a Canadian I count myself lucky to be in a climate that hosts winter six months of the year. Less sun! In fact, I like to strap wooden planks on my feet and throw myself down mountains as often as I can.
Despite the climate, my superhero talent is I can sunburn regardless. I've burned in Scotland on an overcast day, through car windows and on the hill. I once fell asleep on a beach in April and burned my calves so badly I couldn't walk for a week. I'm not just a red head, turns out.
Because I practically disintegrate in the sun it's no shock to learn that in medieval times, redheads were thought to be vampires. This is not true. I am the one on the beach others compare their tans to -- alabaster is indeed a good baseline -- and well-intentioned strangers actually come up to me to check if I'm wearing sun protection. If I were a vampire, those would be excellent tests!
The second perk of being a redhead is being amongst an elite and authentic crew. I'm proud to call Prince Henry, Ed Sheeran, Julianne Moore and Agent Scully my peers. Being a redhead in itself affords a certain degree of celebrity. When meeting people, I just say look for the redhead. I've actually had strangers come up to me while travelling to ask for a photo. People actually use that descriptor – redhead -- rather than my name sometimes. That's a bit like an actor being addressed by their character, no?
From a celebrity perspective, Orphan Annie had a particular influence on my life. When the movie came out in the eighties, my mom decided my debut kindergarten haircut would be a perm, just like Annie’s. Unfortunately, I thought it looked more like a throw to another famous redhead -- Ronald McDonald. Eek.
The third perk of being a redhead is definitely influenced by the jerks. We gingers typically have a wicked sense of humour -- because we have to. There's a reason why we're the brunt -- and source -- of a lot of jokes.
How many gingers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None. They prefer to sit in the dark.
Ask any redhead and they'll know, we’ve heard all the names -- rusty, carrot top. My particular favourite is the term redheaded stepchild, because I am one.
And so, I’ve decided to accept the ginger facts of life. I won't tan, so instead I will shine. As in, I will actually reflect the sun off my skin onto others.
No, my freckles will not morph into one, thus creating a tan, but they will actually cover up imperfections. When any makeup artist asks if she should cover up my freckles, I definitely say no.
And finally, I can't and won’t dye my differences away. Because there is nothing subtle about ginger roots.
If the perks of being a redhead are that I'm a unicorn with a sense of humour that counts royalty in her tribe, I'll take it. Because blondes may have more fun, but redheads just plain rock.