Tristan Rodgers, MC1R
To start the week off we’re in Hamburg visiting Tristan Rodgers, editor of the first ever magazine for redheads, MC1R.
It’s an orange and pink speckled publication we’ve described before as celebrating ‘red-hair and fair skin with all the devotion of a pre-Raphaelite painting,’ and the newly released, book-sized issue three is just as committed to ginger culture. As we learned from issue two, ‘MC1R’ stands for ‘melancortin-stimulating hormone receptor’ – a gene mutation that causes red hair and 85% of the time freckles too. We catch up with Tristan to hear more about issue three as well as his other plans for promoting and documenting the redhead cause.
Where are you today?
I’m in Hamburg St.Pauli. Getting my breakfast and a coffee around the corner.
What can you see from the window?
A gay video shop and a 24/7 pub.
Are you a morning or evening person?
The last 10 years I was a convinced evening person, but I’ve been changing into a really happy morning person over the last few months. I love it!
Which magazine do you first remember?
It’s a German magazine called Kicker about football. That’s the first magazine I got when I moved from Ireland to Germany as a kid.
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
Who’s your favourite red-head this morning?
Haha, my favorite redhead is Kacy Hill… every morning.
You’re now onto your third issue so must have more of an idea of your readership. Are your readers mostly redheads? Or is the magazine reaching people of other hair types too?
Since the beginning of this project there have been 4 types of readers:
- Friends or family members who buy this magazine as a present
- People who like the featured artists in the magazine
- People who never heard about this kind of culture or a magazine about red hair (or the MC1R gene). They are interested, mostly well-educated, and they used to email me their opinion about the concept. That was really cool, because now I’m learning how to transport the concept of a red-hair magazine to non-redheads too.
What are your hopes for MC1R beyond the production and distribution of the magazine?
I’d love to be the biggest collection of art about red hair worldwide. I think I already am, but there is so much more to talk about and to show - I’d like to feature some Hollywood actors or famous musicians. I’d love to visit all of the international redhead festivals/ gatherings, so that I can meet all kinds of red-heads and other people who are interested in the topic. For me it’s important to meet the readers personally and be a big part in the program of red hair events. One idea is to have small exhibitions where artists can show their work and I can sell the magazine.
You receive a lot of letters from red-heads excited about the magazine. What’s been one of the most memorable emails so far?
I don’t know which one was the most memorable... There are a few really amazing emails I’ve gotten over the last few years and it’s hard to pick only one of them. When you get these kinds of letters with really personal stories inside of them, you start to realise what you’re doing with the project. When someone writes you a long email or an old fashioned hand written letter (!!) saying that my magazine and the featured stories have changed their life - made the person more happy or proud - it’s a really emotional and indescribable feeling.
Did you think a magazine about redheads would last more than a single issue?
Yes! Since the beginning there was a big range of topics that I could work on and there are still so many cool stories. Right now, there are some totally new developments in the history of red hair culture, and I can always report on that. The next issue is already in work and I think it will get another step cooler as I’m making a few small changes in the concept.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
I hope to travel to Prague on Tuesday or Wednesday. I need a break after the launch party last Saturday, plus we had two other exhibitions. You have to do so much work when you’re an independent publisher.
What are you least looking forward to this week?
Puh. I have to tidy up the showroom where I had the launch party.
What will you be doing after this chat?
I’ll tidy up the showroom :(
Photography: Malte Brenneisen