Saturday, March 30, 2024

Two Famous Red-haired Italians of Today

Italy is not famous for red hair, so today I will introduce you to two famous red-haired Italians of today, who, probably, many of you never heard of.

The first is professional tennis player Jannik Sinner (born 2001). If his name doesn’t sound very Italian is only because he was born in South Tyrol, a German-speaking region in northern Italy.

Sinner began playing in professional men's events at age 16 and became one of the few players to win multiple ATP Challenger Tour titles at age 17. In 2019, he broke into the top 100, winning the Next Generation ATP Finals and the ATP Newcomer of the Year award.

In 2021, he became the youngest ATP 500 champion at the 2021 Citi Open, was a Masters runner-up at the Miami Open, and became the first player born in the 2000s to enter the top 10 in rankings. After reaching his first major semifinal at the 2023 Wimbledon Championships, Sinner won his first Masters 1000 title at the 2023 Canadian Open. He finished the season by reaching the final of the ATP Finals and contributing to Italy lifting Davis Cup for the first time after 1976. In the 2024 Australian Open, Sinner defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals to reach his first major final. He then defeated Daniil Medvedev in a five-set final, coming back from two sets down to win his first Grand Slam title.

In a recent interview, he was asked: “Today when you stroll through Italy, are you ready to embrace the shift from anonymity to becoming a sports star? Can you envision a future where the ordinary act of walking alone is a rarity?”

To which he replied: “No, I guess it’s part of what I do, no? The only issue that I have red hair, so it’s easy to recognize me (laughter).” [a problem we redheads know very well! 😁]

A young Jannik with tennis legend Novak Djokovic


The second redhead is Lapo Elkann (born 1977). His name too doesn’t sound typically Italian, although he belong to a very important Italian family. He is the son of Margherita Agnelli, daughter of Gianni Agnelli, former controlling CEO and controlling shareholder of Fiat Automobiles. His father is Alain Elkann, a journalist and novelist of French-Italian origins (his father, Jean-Paul Elkann, was a French industrialist, chairman of Dior and the president of the Israelite Central Consistory of France. His mother, Carla Ovazza, is from the influential Turinese Ovazza banking family).

Lapo has an older brother, John, chairman of Ferrari and Stellantis and CEO of Exor, and a younger sister, Ginevra, film producer and director.

He is the chairman, founder, and majority shareholder of the Italia Independent Group. He is also the president and founder of Garage Italia Customs and Independent Ideas,as well as a member of the board of directors of Ferrari N.V. and responsible for the promotion of the Fiat Group brand.

He is sort of the black sheep of the family. In 2005 he was hospitalised in serious conditions in the intensive care unit of the Mauriziano Hospital in Turin due to an overdose of a mix of opiates and cocaine. Subsequently, he resigned from his positions in Fiat and moved to Arizona, where he began rehabilitation therapy. In 2019, he was involved in a car accident in Tel Aviv, where he was hospitalised. After recovering from a ten-day coma, he moved to a clinic in Switzerland, and was seen on a wheelchair for a while. The accident led him to a change of lifestyle and started working with the Laps Foundation, a non-profit organisation created in 2016 in support of children with dyslexia, learning disabilities and addictions (in his childhood, he suffered from dyslexia, hyperactivity and attention deficit).

In 2021, Lapo married the Portuguese former rally raid racer Joana Lemos.

His hair is now almost totally white, but as a young man he sported a beautiful red mane and we know where part of it comes from. Gianni Agnelli's mother was the red-haired and ill-fated Virginia Bourbon del Monte.


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