May 10, 2007

The Redder, the Better, No Matter What Anyone Says

A few weeks ago I attended a wonderful girls day/brunch/communicators' networking party at a new friend's house, and part of the day included a workshop with some nice ladies who run an image consulting business. Lord knows as a longtime tomboy, and small town chick recently turned urban writer and comedian, I could use a few tips in sprucing up my image. I got away with wearing jeans, t-shirts, and no makeup for a long time, and that's just not going to work with what I'm trying to accomplish in my life right now. My image is just something I've never had to think about until now. But one of the pieces of advice I was given had me worried. "Lose the red hair," was the suggestion. Actually, it was delivered a bit more gently than that, but it made me think. "Try dark brown, with some light blonde highlights, and, since you do comedy, maybe go for something flippy and playful. But the orange is not working for you." Orange.

A week or so before, Sloan and I had attended a lecture at Northwestern by the woman who wrote this book: Keeping Your Brand in Demand, which is, similarly, about image projection, and making sure that people get the impression of you that you want them to have. One of the things she mentioned was having continuity with your visual style. Red hair has been one of the only consistent things about my style, and for goodness' sake, my online persona has been branded "Bella Rossa."

Last Sunday my family and I and several friends went out for Sunday brunch. We tried to get into Tre Kroner but it was way busy and we reached that level of impatient hunger that drove us to hop in our cars and head up the street for other options. After a very satisfying stack of strawberry pancakes, my mom and I skipped off to the ladies room, doing our usual joking and laughing thing. I don't even remember what we were talking about, but at one point I heard a little girl waiting by the sink giggle at something we'd said, and when I stepped out, I saw an adorable little chubby freckly red haired girl. Her expression brightened even more when she saw me. "Hey!" She said. "You look like me!" "Hey!" I said to her. "You have pretty hair." The little girl seemed so pleased with seeing another redhead, and it was so sweet the way she blushed when I complimented her.

That's it. I'm keeping the red. For now, at least.