A redhead who was picked on throughout his schooldays for his bright ginger hair has beaten the bullies by becoming an international catwalk model.
Louis Evans, 22, was nicknamed ‘Rusty’ and taunted for his bright red hair and freckled face.
He struggled to find girlfriends as he battled severe acne in his teens and after leaving school got a dead-end job as a cold caller for an office supplies company.
But by the time he was 20 Louis had blossomed into a striking high-cheekboned model and was signed up by a leading modelling agency.
He has now appeared at London Fashion Week, on the pages of British Vogue, and been grabbed by Milan agency Independent Men to take part in June’s Milan Fashion Week.
Louis, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, said his red looks have made him a particularly hot property in Europe where the appearance is in demand.
He said: “In places like Milan, Spain and Greece they adore red heads and put them on a pedestal.
“That is why I have had so much attention from Milan.
“I didn’t have the confidence before to apply to the modelling agencies. My mum kept saying I could do it and I just kept saying ‘No, I don’t know’.
“It was quite difficult growing up in a small town. People are very close-minded in Lowestoft.
“Back at home there were stereotypes about gingers and I had the wrong kind of attention.
“I didn’t let it affect me though and I tried not to let it affect my confidence.
“I always liked to think I was a bit smooth but to be honest I sucked at getting girls. The worst thing is that I had acne. I wished every day that it could be gone.”
Louis, who is 6′ 3″ tall and now lives in London, added: “I’ve got a photo from three years ago and I still have no cheekbones.
“I got to 20 and suddenly I just had them and the acne cleared up and now my face is flawless.
“I started getting a lot of attention, especially when I moved to London.
“I like to think it’s the fact I’m slim, tall and have the face that’s got me noticed, but I think having red hair does make me different.
“Working as a stationary salesman was the most boring job. It was just terrible and I walked out.
“I always had so much drive and ambition and energy but I never knew what to do with it.
“Nothing I did seemed to be the right thing and then I moved to London and it all clicked in to place.”
Louis’ mother Jo McCall, 45, continually encouraged him to apply to modelling agencies and he is now with London-based Booking Models.
He has also taken part in the Red Hot campaign which celebrates models with red hair and appeared on the BBC’S The One Show as part of the drive to break the negative stereotype.
Louis now attends exclusive nightclubs and parties, and has even spent time with the Saudi Royal family.
His mother – a former beauty queen – said Louis had inherited his height from his father Paul Evans, 46.
She said: “I am just very happy that he is having all of these amazing experiences.
“He is really working hard to achieve his goals and I am very proud of that.”