While the RED HOT exhibition showing photographs of sexy redhead males is about to conquer the world, his photographer Thomas Knights answered some questions for an exclusive interview.
1) What is the idea behind the RED HOT project?
Being a redheaded male myself, it’s close to my heart and a very personal project. It amazed me how our western culture holds redheaded women to such high regard, almost the ‘ultimate’ female, and redheaded males in such low esteem; emasculated and de-sexualised in film and TV and literature. I don’t think any other hair colour has this polarised opinion between genders. If you think about it, there are hardly any Hollywood leading men with ginger hair, and no superheros or action stars. Actually, it’s almost laughable to imagine a ginger action star, we have been conditioned to think ginger men are ugly and weak.
I wanted to flip this on its head and present the redheaded male as the ‘ultimate’ alpha male. I thought, if Flora, which is essentially, a box of fat, can present itself as a health product – Flora ‘Active’ - ‘lowers your cholesterol’ …’run for life’ etc… then I can make the ginger man the ‘ultimate man’. Essentially, ginger boys desperately needed a re-brand and I felt like I was in a good position to do it.
2) What was the trigger ?
It was in my head for a couple of years when I read an article in the Sunday Times Style with the caption: ‘What is our new obsession with hot ginger men?’ name checking Damien Lewis (Homelands) and Prince Harry and BOOM, I new something was changing, hot ginger guys were SO taboo they were exciting. The fashion world – often being at the forefront of popular culture was already on to it and I knew that RED HOT was going to work. The next week, I shot the first few guys and it snowballed from there.
3) How did you find these red hot models ?
When I read The Times article I phoned every big model agency in London and every single one seemed surprised to discover they actually didn’t have any redhead guys on their books. I was quite shocked too, there obviously wasn’t the market for them yet. Then I discovered AMCK who had four ginger models, I shot them all, which kick started the RED HOT idea. I then found a number of guys randomly – in clubs – walking down the street – recommendations, Facebook etc.. Then about a year later I went back to all the big agencies and each of them had one or two ginger models. So obviously things were changing.
4) How many different nationalities can we found ?
Around 15 different nationalities coming from all around the world.
5) Have they all faced discrimination when they were younger ?
A large majority of them yes, on a different scale for every one, we can not generalise. Most of them have been through different type of bullying. It seems that discrimination in adult life is largely confined to the UK but bullying at school is universal.
6) In which country the RED HOT exhibition is the most successful?
Regarding our social media engagement and the people supporting us the most, Brazil is the most successful country, even thought we haven’t done any exhibition there yet.
The exhibitions in London and New York were a really big success too and we are looking forward to the next ones, especially Sydney at the beginning of December.
7) What would be the ultimate success ?
The ultimate success will be to change the world by having red head males seen the same as blondes or brunettes.
If you haven’t already, it is time to buy or offer a copy of the RED HOT 100 book ! It is the perfect Christmas gift and will help them to continue their mission to change the world! You will also be raising money for The Diana Award who recognise amazing young people and help tackle bullying. Click HERE !
Watch and share this new video showing the amazing reaction to the book around the world from the incredible US launch in New York’s BOSI Contemporary gallery to the amazing UK launch at The Conran Shop London and plans for the future world tour.