Jessica Chastain on how she learned to love being a redhead

Posted by
Moya Crockett
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

In the latest edition of ‘Stars: They’re Just Like Us!’, we bring you news of Jessica Chastain, who says that she once struggled with low self-esteem as a result of her red hair.

Obviously, the star of Zero Dark Thirty, The Help and Interstellar is the sort of Hollywood hyper-gorgeous that makes the average human being look like a Jersey Royal potato. But in a new interview, Chastain explains that insecurities about her fiery locks caused her self-confidence to plummet in her teens.

“I didn’t like looking different,” she tells Net-a-Porter’s The Edit magazine. “Being a redhead, you can’t fit into the group.”

The 39-year-old actress said she even considered bleaching her hair to help her blend in. “I wanted to be blonde so bad,” she says. “I had really bad self-esteem and I asked my mom if I could dye my hair but she wouldn’t let me.”

Chastain graduated in 2003 from New York’s Juilliard School, a world-famous performing arts conservatory that counts Viola Davis, Robin Williams and Kevin Spacey among its celebrity alumni. However, she tells The Edit that she believes her lack of confidence initially hindered her chances as an actress.  

“I look at myself now and I look at myself when I left college,” she said. “I still feel awkward at times, but then I’m sure I probably auditioned terribly because I had such fear and doubt about myself.”

Watch: Pixiwoo’s Marilyn Monroe make-up tutorial

Years later, Chastain named her film production company, Freckle Films, after one of the things she used to hate about herself. “I want to make movies about our differences as a society so that’s why I called it that,” she explained. “Now, I celebrate [my freckles].”

And the actress says she partly credits her boost in self-confidence – and her perfect skin – to an animal product-free diet.

“So much comes down to the food you eat and I eat a very clean diet,” she says. “Being vegan has made a huge difference in my life.”

In her latest film, Miss Sloane, Chastain plays a shrewd political lobbyist who takes on the American gun lobby. She tells The Edit that she purposefully chooses complex female roles, in the hope that other women and girls will take inspiration from her movies.

“If I can help create empathy and balance in society, I’m going to do whatever I can to tell stories that subconsciously create that,” she says. “When I get a script that has the opportunity to create discussion and inspire young girls, I don’t want to say no to that … I just want to contribute.”

Chastain isn’t the only Hollywood redhead to struggle with a youthful lack of confidence. Oscar winner Julianne Moore was also bullied for her bright auburn hair as a child. “At school I did get teased about it,” she told You magazine in 2010. “You want dark or blonde hair like everyone else in the room.”

But just like Chastain, Moore grew up to embrace her natural colouring – and name something after her freckles. Freckleface Strawberry, a children’s book written by Moore and published in 2008, tells the story of a little girl who learns to love being different.

All together now: aw.

Images: Rex Features