HOLLY Willoughby has been talking about the pain of being blonde.

“A lot of people look at the blonde hair and this and that and the other and have a massive judgement on you,” she says.

All I can say is, she should try being ginger.

Growing up I would have done anything to have golden locks, that did not attract comments like “carrot top”, “Duracell” and - one that, at the age of 56, I still get - “ginge.”

For years I hated my hair, as I was subjected to teasing. It was light-hearted, but in your early teens each comment is like a barb to the heart.

Back then there were no glamourous red haired stars such as Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams and Julianne Moore gracing the covers of glossy magazines. The only high-profile gingers I remember were Jasper Carrot and Rita Tanner off Coronation Street.

I could have consoled myself watching the very beautiful Rita Hayworth, but all her films were black and white, so it wasn’t until much later that I learned she was a red head. I remember being devastated to see Ginger Rogers’ hair, which was more strawberry blonde than red.

Has Holly Willoughby ever heard the expression ‘reds have more fun’? No, she hasn’t, because we all know they don’t. ‘Gentlemen prefer reds?’ The majority don’t. Generally speaking we are still a laughing stock. I remember an advert featuring a family of redheads with the slogan ‘There are some things in life you can’t choose.’

I would have given anything to swap my red hair and freckles with my sister’s golden blonde locks and easy-tan skin. She struck lucky with the texture too - straight and silky, compared with my curly and frizzy.

My eldest daughter was ginger for about six months after birth. It was a lovely rich colour, but I can’t pretend I was disappointed when it began to turn light brown.

Redheads have a long-standing image problem. Which other hair colour has a special day in which others are encouraged to kick people with it?

The dreadful ‘Kick a Ginger Day’ was inspired by the US comedy TV show South Park. Schoolchildren with red hair, pale skin, and freckles are targeted in a class presentation put on by a pupil - it escalates into a movement in which the school and eventually the town discriminates against ginger kids.

Held this year on September 20, the day is no laughing matter for ginger haired children, who have been attacked in school playgrounds across the US and the UK.

People may use the expression a ‘blonde moment’ to signify a scatterbrain, but blondes have never suffered the levels of persecution afforded to us redheads.

Adolf Hitler reportedly banned the marriage of two redheads as he feared their children would be ‘deviant offspring.’ In Corsica, if you see a redhead you spit and turn around, and in some parts of rural Europe red hair is labelled ‘evil hair’ and red beards are the ‘devil’s way.’

I’m sure I am not along in believing that Prince Andrew’s split with Sarah Ferguson was not so much down to their well-publicised differences, but her red hair and freckles.

I have grown to like, even love, my hair. It stands out in a crowd and I am sad to be losing it as I age and notice grey creeping in. There will no doubt come a time when I will be glad to hear the word ‘ginge’ at all. I may even have to resort to using a bottle to preserve my original colour.

If Holly Willoughby ever fancies a change, there’s always red. See how she likes THAT on ‘Kick a Ginger Day.’