Strutting the red carpet that is almost the same color as their hair, these Hollywood redhead actresses and musicians have a way of catching the eye. Not only that, but many of them have found their way to the top of their fields in both acting, music, and more. Read on for the most successful redheaded stars who are still in the spotlight today.
Sophie Turner caught the entire world’s attention when she appeared on the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones. Originally from Warwickshire, England, Turner was cast in the HBO hit series when she was only 14 years old. Since then, the actress and her fiery red hair have been appearing on everything from red carpets to magazine covers.
In 2013 Turner made her feature film debut in Isabel Coixet’s Another Me, before going on to star in the action comedy film, Barely Lethal. Afterwards Turner starred as mutant superhero Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, which became a huge box-office success. In recent news, Turner changed her last name to Jonas after marrying her boyfriend Joe Jonas in May of 2019, likely crushing the hearts of many of her fans.
Some people work their whole lives to become famous in Hollywood and never seem to catch a break. For Laura Prepon, this was not the case. At age 15 she began studying acting, dance and jazz and soon found success as a model traveling everywhere from Paris to Milan, and even Brazil. But she discovered that modeling simply wasn’t her passion.
At age 18, Prepon sent in an audition tape to Fox for an upcoming sitcom called That ‘70s Show. Today, fans of the show still remember her as the energetic Donna Pinciotti where she worked from 1998-2006. She has since gone on to act in numerous other works, including a starring role in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, and, like many other Hollywood redhead actresses, is regularly seen strutting the red carpet.
Riley Keough seemed to be born to play music. She was born in Santa Monica, and grew up next to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Both her parents were musicians and her grandfather? Well, as it turns out her grandfather was none other than the King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley.
In spite of being a direct descendant of Elvis, Keough went through a period involving years of auditions and rejections before finally landing the role of Capable in Mad Max: Fury Road. She has also appeared in films like Magic Mike and Logan Lucky. For her role of Christine Reade in The Girlfriend Experience, Keough was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Rose Leslie was born in Aberdeen, Scotland near Lickleyhead Castle where apparently her family had settled 500 years ago. But this red-haired descendant of Scottish settlers was destined for big things when she left for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
By 2008, at age 21, Leslie appeared in her first role in a made-for-TV film, Purves + Pekkala. Right away she received a Scottish BAFTA Award for Best Acting Performance. Not long after, in 2011, she starred in her most recognizable role of Ygritte in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Even though she left the show in 2014, Leslie stayed in contact with co-star Kit Harrington. By June 2018 the two GOT stars were married, balancing on-screen romance with real life love.
Beginning her career as a child model at the age of three, Lindsay Lohan was already considered a show-business veteran by age 10 when she played Alexandra “Alli” Fowler in Another World. A year later, in 1998, she starred in her breakout role in the Disney family comedy The Parent Trap. Since then, fame seemed to swirl around this Hollywood redhead.
Lohan went on to star in Freaky Friday and later the cult classic, Mean Girls. Even though her career has faced numerous interruptions, Lohan was most recently seen in the 2019 supernatural thriller Among the Shadows, playing the role of Patricia.
This Los Angeles native found early success at age 19 for roles in films like Beautiful Creatures (2013) and Vampire Academy (2014). As the daughter of an actress and a director, she seemed born to walk the red carpet, and by age five was already taking acting classes.
As Deutch has matured so has her career. She has recently starred in films like Everybody Wants Some, Before I Fall, Why Him?, Flower, and Set it Up from the years 2016 to 2018. Seems like Deutch and her signature fiery locks are going to be in the spotlight for quite some time.
This one time in band camp…well we don’t actually know if Alyson Hannigan was ever in a band camp but she did play a convincing band nerd in the comedy film American Pie. Born in Washington D.C. this future Hollywood redhead already starred in her first commercial at age four. At age 11, her family packed their bags and moved to Hollywood.
Hannigan earned major screen recognition as Lily Aldrin on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, which got her a People’s Choice Award in 2009. But from her work in Buffy the Vampire Slayer she arguably gained something better – Husband Alexis Denisof, to whom she’s been married since 2003 and has two children with.
Described on IMDb as being “one of Hollywood’s top Australian imports,” readers might be surprised to discover that Nicole Kidman is actually an American! Born in Hawaii to Australian parents with student visas, Kidman was raised in Sydney, Australia before returning to America to make it big on the big screen.
Kidman has appeared in at least 67 movies, including the critically acclaimed Eyes Wide Shut and Moulin Rouge! This Hollywood redhead has appeared on stages around the world multiple times to accept a British Academy Film Award, five Golden Globes, and two Emmy Awards. She is also the first Australian actress to win an Oscar.
Born in 1985 in New York City as Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, she grew up in upstate New York and eventually relocated to California in her mid-20s to pursue her musical aspirations. The name ‘Lana Del Rey’ was inspired by Lana Turner, a memorable, glamorous Old Hollywood icon, and “Del Rey,” which is Spanish for “of the King.”
By 2012, Del Rey had found international success after the Cedric Gervais remix to her song “Summertime Sadness” propelled her to the top of the Billboard charts. Since then this red headed songstress has released additional red-hot hits like “Doin’ Time,” which became Del Rey’s first number one single on any Billboard airplay chart.
Bryce Dallas Howard is not the only redheaded star in her family. Her father, Ron Howard, is an Oscar-winning director known for making A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code, amongst others. Despite this, Bryce Dallas Howard was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut because her parents felt it was best for her to grow up without the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
That being said, Howard’s father could not resist casting her as an extra in some of his movies, even when she was a child. Howard has since gone on to gain independent success in films like The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Jurassic World, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
This Ivy League educated actress initially had an interest in writing sketches and preforming improvisational comedy. One of Kemper’s teachers in high school was Mad Men actor Jon Hamm, which she described as “very distracting,” and she actually acted with him in a school play. This education seemed to be a great investment to Ellie Kemper’s stellar career.
Kemper gained fame and recognition from her role as receptionist Erin Hannon in the NBC comedy series The Office, a show which she was reportedly a “huge fan” of. She later starred in the Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for which she received two Emmy nominations.
Does this actress really need an introduction? Susan Sarandon and her flaming hair have been in at least 84 films. The actress has won numerous awards including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
In addition to acting, Sarandon is known for her social and political activism, and was even appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999. Sarandon is also a business owner, she and her former partner Malcolm Bricklin established a chain of ping-pong lounges named SPiN. It might sound unusual, but this business has positive online reviews and even comes complete with a full bar service and dining. And plenty of ping-pong of course.
Emma Stone’s distinctive husky voice, and of course, red hair, have arguably made her one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood. She has appeared in a number of box-office hits like Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Help. The Arizona native has received an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, and has been featured in the Forbes Celebrity 100 and Time’s 100 most influential people in the world. All this before the age of 30.
Believe it or not, Emma Stone was actually born as Emily Jean Stone. Jean was her grandmother’s first name and also happens to be her mother’s middle name. Funny enough, Stone had been called “Emma” since elementary school due to her being a huge fan of pop group Spice Girls, and especially Baby Spice, whose real name is Emma Bunton.
Jessica Chastain is known for much more than just having red hair. After her film debut in the 2008 drama Jolene, Chastain began starring in films and later received universal acclaim for her roles in Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar, The Help, and Molly’s Game to name a few.
Always a dedicated to her craft, Chastain actually took German lessons and learned Krav Maga to prepare for acting roles. Chastain is famously an outspoken feminist and advocate, but prefers to keep the details of her personal life under wraps. Her friendship with fellow actress and member of this list, Bryce Dallas Howard is well known however. Since the two are often mistaken for each other, they enjoy impersonating one another for the amusement of their fans.
Compared to some of the other Hollywood redhead actresses on this list, Madelaine Petsch is much less experienced in the field of acting. She only has six film and television credits to her name but has received significant recognition for her role as Cheryl Blossom on The CW series Riverdale.
Born in Port Orchard, WA but raised in South Africa, Petsch is a seemingly determined woman. Reportedly, she already knew from the young age of three that she wanted to be an actress. Teased at school for her South African accent and red hair, Petsch left Portland for Los Angeles to try and make it big. In order to support herself in LA, she worked as a barista before catching her big break and appearing on the big screen.
Growing up, Fantastic Four star Kate Mara was hardly regarded as Hollywood material. Despite her signature fiery locks, Mara was reportedly “painfully shy” as a kid. Apparently, she only had one childhood friend, in spite of coming from a very high-profile family – Mara’s grandparents founded both the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers,
The Bedford, NY actress found initial success as reporter Zoe Barnes in the Netflix series, House of Cards. Since then she has gone on to star in films like The Martian and 127 Hours. In August 2018 it was revealed that Kate Mara was going to be starring and producing the FX series A Teacher.
Actress Christina Hendricks in known for playing intelligent and dominant women. Initially, the Tennessee native started in 1999 as an intern in the Showtime comedy series Beggars and Choosers, before taking smaller guest roles in shows like ER, The Court, and Firefly. After all that hard work, Hendricks finally found her break on a 2007 hit series.
Mad Men propelled Hendricks to universal success as the memorable Joan Holloway, making her an international icon. Her performance garnered her six Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Notorious for her red hair, Hendricks stated that she grew up looking up to fellow redheads on the small screen, like Gilligan’s Island‘s Tina Louise.
Known for her versatility and bright red hair, Amy Adams emerged singing on to the big screen in her 2007 feature-film Enchanted. Her subsequent roles in multiple critically acclaimed films have earned her two Golden Globes and six Academy Award nominations.
Adams was featured in 2014 in TIME magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world, and was reported by Forbes to be the highest paid actress in 2014, 2016, and 2017. Fun fact – the red headed actress is apparently often mistaken for her friend, Isla Fisher, a fellow Hollywood redhead. So much so, that Fisher’s husband thought it would be hilarious to paste Adams’ face over Fisher on their holiday greeting cards. Reportedly, nobody noticed.
London-born singer and songwriter, Florence Welch is the lead vocalist of rock band, Florence and the Machine. The indie music group released their debut album, Lungs in 2009, reaching number one on the charts in the UK and number two on the charts in Ireland.
Speaking of her band’s name, Welch said, “Florence + the Machine started off as a private joke that got out of hand. I had made music with my friend, who we called Isabella Machine, to which I was Florence Robot. When I was about an hour away from my first gig, I still didn’t have a name, so I thought ‘Okay, I’ll be Florence Robot/Isa Machine,’ before realizing that name was so long it’d drive me mad.”
Originally from Australia, Isla Fisher had her first major role as Shannon Reed in the Australian soap opera Home and Away. In 2002, Fisher made a successful transition over to Hollywood movies, starring in Scooby Doo, Wedding Crashers, and Confessions of a Shopaholic. But her adventures didn’t stop there.
Back in 2002, Fisher met the tall and talented Borat star Sasha Baron Cohen. Two years later the two got engaged, and in 2010, this Hollywood redhead tied the knot with her hilarious beau. While the two reportedly have a happy marriage, Fisher has said there have been a few uncomfortable moments in the past, particularly when she brought their children to one of Cohen’s film sets unannounced. There, they witness a truly unforgettable scene. Let’s just say it had something to do with a certain elephant’s anatomy.
Born in San Jose, California, Kate Walsh is known for her roles as Dr. Addison Montgomery on the ABC dramas Grey’s Anatomy, and again on Private Practice. From there she portrayed Olivia Baker on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, as well as The Handler in The Umbrella Academy. But Walsh didn’t always live the Hollywood high-life.
Before making it in Hollywood, Walsh worked at Burger King and Dairy Queen, probably having to hide that red hair under a company hat. From there she moved to Japan to teach English, but ended up finding work as a model since, as the actress once put it, they were “crazy about Americans” there. Since then, she started her own perfume line, Boyhood, which sold out the first day of its release.
It might take frequent movie-goers a minute to recognize Karen Gillan, but on closer inspection you might recognize her from some of the most popular box-office successes in history. If you didn’t get it don’t beat yourself up, Gillan played the blue cyborg and daughter of Thanos, Nebula, in The Avengers franchise. A role that this Hollywood redhead agreed to shave her head for.
Gillan later described that the experience of shaving her head was “completely liberating” in an interview. This might be because, growing up in Scotland, she was often bullied in school for her red hair. How did she go from getting picked on to the big screen? For that Gillan credits her father, for always encouraging his now movie-famous daughter.
No list of Hollywood redhead actresses could be complete without Julianne Moore. Known for her raw portrayals of emotionally troubled women both in mainstream Hollywood films as well as smaller independent projects, Moore began her career as an actress in 1985 after graduating from Boston University. From there, her career took off.
The New York native has found success with films like The Big Lebowski, Hannibal, Children of Men, and The Kids Are All Right. In addition to the Academy Award and two Golden Globes she has earned during the course of her career, Moore is also a children’s author. A fellow redhead, her most popular character is called Freckleface Strawberry.
Actress Cynthia Nixon completed her rise to fame portraying the lawyer Miranda Hobbes in the HBO comedy, Sex and the City. Before that, Nixon worked on and off as a Broadway actress since 1980, and had been in supporting roles for several films. But this Hollywood redhead had a lot more to offer the world than just acting.
Nixon has been a long-time advocate for LGBTQ rights in the United States and a long time proponent of same-sex marriage. After meeting fellow activist and organizer (and redhead!), Christine Marinoni, the two began dating in 2004 and announced their engagement at a rally in 2009. The two were married in 2012 and have been together ever since.
Singer Tori Amos was a child prodigy – certifiably. At age five, she became the youngest-ever student to gain acceptance at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. That accomplishment was short-lived however, as Amos’ apparent rebellious spirit was too much for administrators, and Amos was expelled at age 11 for “musical insubordination.”
Since entering the mainstream, Amos has released songs filled with deep emotional trauma from her own life. On stage she wildly plays her piano and swings her fiery locks around, feeding on inspiration from numerous figures from mythology. This redhead is not only listed on VH1’s 100 greatest women of rock and roll, her stage presence is so powerful that one observer described her as “a moon child for lost souls and misfits.”
Molly Ringwald made her motion picture debut in the 1982 film Tempest and from there, her career took off. Ringwald famously appeared in ’80s classics Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink from 1984 to 1986. These huge film successes made her a teen icon, but this redheaded teen icon didn’t stop there.
Ringwald became a member of the “Brat Pack,” which also included Demi Moore and Rob Lowe, a group of teen actors who appeared often together. Still acting to this day, Ringwald has recently appears as Mary Andrews in the show Riverdale. She’s also released a jazz record called Except Sometimes in 2013, following a tradition for jazz set by her father.
Milwaukee native, Heather Graham got her first big break when she starred as Mercedes Lane in the 1988 teen comedy, License to Drive. She then went on to appear in a number of critically acclaimed films like Drugstore Cowboy, Boogie Nights, Bowfinger, The Hangover, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Apart from acting, Heather Graham is also an activist for a number of global nonprofit organizations. One of them, Children International, supports children’s education to help them overcome poverty. Another, the Cambodian Children’s Fund, aims to end human trafficking and slavery through offering free education, healthcare, and clean water to those in Cambodia.
Remembered for portraying wise but passionate heroines in adventure films, Irish actress Maureen O’Hara was considered a star during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The iconic redhead first made a name for herself in the 1939 classic film, Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which she played Esmeralda.
From that moment on, O’Hara was nicknamed “The Queen of Technicolor” in reference to her vibrance on screen. She then made appearances in films such as How Green Was My Valley in which she played Angharad Morgan, The Black Swan, The Spanish Main, and The Parent Trap, in which she played Hayley Mills’ mom, Maggie McKendrick.
Although Gilian Anderson started her acting career on stage, it did not take long for her to acquire international recognition for her work on screen when playing the FBI special agent, Dana Scully in Fox’s nine-season run of The X-Files.
For her roles in front of the camera, Anderson has won a Golden Globe, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, to name a few. For her roles on stage – like when she performed in Absent Friends and A Doll’s House – she has won a Theatre World Award and an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress.
Lauren Ambrose is recognized by most for her role as Claire Fisher in the HBO drama series, Six Feet Under, which earned her two Emmy Award nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Her portrayal of PR girl, Jilly Kitzinger in the British science fiction series, Torchwood: Miracle Day also earned her a nomination for the Saturn Award’s Best Supporting Actress in Television. Clearly, Ambrose is doing something right when it comes to television. As far as film goes, she has appeared in Can’t Hardly Wait, Psycho Beach Party, and Where the Wild Things Are.
Judy Greer first made a name for herself in Hollywood around the beginning of the 2000s when she made appearances in some of our favorite rom-coms such as What Women Want, The Wedding Planner, 13 Going on 30, and 27 Dresses. But that’s not all she has been in.
On the small screen, Greer can be seen playing Kitty Sanchez in Fox’s three-season run of Arrested Development. She also plays Fatty Magoo in the sitcom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As of September 2018, you can spot Greer in the comedy-drama, Kidding on Showtime where she stars as nurse, Jill Piccirillo.
Swedish actress, Ann-Margaret has always seemed like a natural in front of the cameras. Beginning her career in 1961, her first recording earned her the moniker, the “female Elvis Presly.” Fast forward three years and she co-starred alongside the King in Viva Las Vegas, a music comedy from 1964.
Ann-Margaret is also recognized for her role in both Bye Bye Birdie and State Fair. Furthermore, she has shared the stage with a good amount of high profile Hollywood names like Jack Nicholson, Steve McQueen, and John Wayne. Her performances have even earned her an impressive amount of awards such as five Golden Globes, two Grammys, six Emmys, and two Oscar nominations.
Former Disney star, Bella Thorne first rose to international fame following her successful run on Disney channel, where she starred in Shake It Up. As for the big screen – she made a name for herself in films like The Babysitter and Midnight Sun.
Thorne is set to star in the crime-drama, Southland, which is expected to hit theaters in 2020. On set of the new film in which she plays diner worker Arielle, Thorne met with L’Officiel for an interview. Explaining that her favorite creative outlet is writing, the actress said, “I can write music, books, television, and movies.” Talk about multi-talent!
Marcia Cross got her start at an acting career in daytime soap operas. She first appeared in The Edge of Night, Another World, and One Life to Live. This opened the door for her to take on recurring television roles.
Between 1992 and 1997, Cross starred in Melrose Place, where she portrayed Dr. Kimberly Shaw. Between 2004 and 2012, she played Bree Van de Kamp, the conservative housewife from the ABC series, Desperate Housewives. For this role, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.
Australian actress, Sarah Snook first made a name for herself in Hollywood following her appearance in the 2010 telemovie, Sisters of War, which is based on a true story. She then went on to act in films such as Not Suitable for Children, These Final Hours, Predestination, and Steve Jobs.
Her most recent role is in the HBO comedy-drama series, Succession, in which she stars as Siobhan (aka Shiv) Roy. So far, the show has acquired a number of accolades like the British Academy Television Award for Best International Programme and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
Sources: Rolling Stone, Biography, BBC