Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Preview: Red Hot 100 by Thomas Knights

Thomas Knights' Red Hot 100 book finally comes out in September thanks to publishing house Bruno Gmünder. If you are unfamiliar with the #REDHOT movement started a few years ago by Thomas Knights, here's the short version. Knights had a vision to re-brand ginger guys as alpha males, no longer to be bullied or joked about. He wanted them to be sexual, confident, and heroic. So he decided to start using the term Red Hot instead of ginger and set out to bring the world a photography exhibit of the hottest, most desirable red haired men he could find.

Before the exhibit could even open, there was a media frenzy and Thomas Knights work attracted the attention of magazines and tv shows from around the world. Every publication from Elle to The Guardian (and everything in between) got in on the action. Even Conan O'Brien famously inserted himself into the Red Hot trailer. You can watch that hilarious video below!

"Guys with red hair don't have the positive role models that girls do in our culture. A male with red hair is not seen as aspirational, culturally speaking, with very few leading men, heroes, action stars or heartthrobs played by men with red hair in Hollywood or on our TV screens. Also the more laddish culture of banter - that maybe is not so prevalent in female friendship circles - creates a fear of speaking out based on the concept of 'it was just a joke'. While many people may argue calling someone a 'ginga’ or any other 'fun' words for people with red hair is just witty banter, for some of those on the receiving end, the impact to their self esteem is felt much more deeply and can have lasting, detrimental effects at school and way into their adult life. Red Hot is my response to this."
                               -Thomas Knights

The Red Hot movement has also started raising funds for Anti-Bullying charities contributing well over six thousand pounds (UK). Anyway, you can explore the entire history of the art shows, calendars, posters, and Kickstarter campaigns at the Red Hot Website!

Thankfully, Bruno Gmünder sent us a preview copy of the Red Hot 100. Every single man in this book is completely drool worthy. But, what really sets this book apart is each of the one hundred models chosen tell a little bit about their experience growing up with red hair. Some are short one sentence blurbs such as Wade Holter's quip, "I don't want to say redheads are better...but being ginger does give a natural superiority in the world of eugenics." Others are touching, multi-paragraph stories of being skinny and awkward ginger teens teased and bullied by their peers. Even as adults, models such as Greg Rutherford, an Olympic Gold Medalist in the long jump, explain they are still identified by the color of their hair: "Whenever I am spoken about in articles, by commentators or by members of the general public, I'm described as the ginger long jumper, which is interesting seeing as I never hear the brunette javelin thrower or blonde rower."

Red Hot 100 also includes a wonderfully written foreword by author Jackie Colliss Harvey about redheads called "Getting Heated." Harvey has a book due out in Spring 2015 aptly titled Red: A Natural History of the Redhead. Red Hot 100 also includes a great interview with Thomas Knights by Colin Gentry, scientific information on the red gene, and the longest dedication list I have ever seen!

Buy this book. It is worth it every penny. You can pre-order it at the Bruno Gmünder website or Amazon. If you display it on your coffee table, you will never run short of conversation starters when you have company. But then again, I have shoulder freckles and a bright red beard, so I might be a little biased.

Click any pic to enlarge.

**All images copyright Thomas Knights and used courtesy of Bruno Gmünder.

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