Do they primp for the games? Well, duh. Josie Taylor didn’t wake up with these carnation-pink lips. And she’s happy to tell you that she curled her high ponytail with a hot iron that game-day morning. “At the end of the day,” the Team Blonde veteran says, “we’re still girls.”
Uh, what about the redheads? “They’re free agents,” Team Brunette’s Raina Edelstein explains — at liberty to self-identify with the team of their choice. As we all are, really, in this heady new era of hair-color emancipation.
Now, are you ready for some football? Because they sure are.
Tackling a cause
D.C.’s seventh annual matchup of the Bettys and Veronicas went down Saturday afternoon at the George Washington University field on Foxhall Road. Raising almost $125,000, it marked a milestone for an event that started as a modest do-gooder effort within a small circle of friends, most in their mid-20s.
They were part of a preppy, Georgetown-centric crew that applied a Greek-system rigor to their post-college social life. No party without a good cause underlying it; no philanthropy without good cocktails fueling it.
“Every single night,” says Ryan Triplette, a political strategist, “if you wanted to go to a charity event, you could.”
And in the fall of 2005, they had a new cause. The father of their friend Sara Abbott was dying of early-onset Alzheimer’s. They wanted to do something.
It was the middle of football season, Triplette says, and “half of us were blond, and half of us were brunette.”
No one took offense to the concept. “It’s one of the ways you identify yourself,” she says. “In this day and age, you can change your hair color at the drop of a hat. It’s part of your personality.” And since you’re wondering: “I don’t really know what my natural hair color is.” (Just back from the hairstylist, she pegged her current shade as strawberry blond.)
Within a couple months, they’d mobilized for their first game that December at Hains Point — a Brunette 13-7 victory — raising $10,000.
It only got bigger from there. Blondes vs. Brunettes has not only raised $500,000 locally, but it has spread to 16 other cities, raising a total of $2 million for Alzheimer’s research.
Today, Blondes vs. Brunettes is virtually a way of life for a sector of young Washington women. They sign onto a team at a September “draft party,” after raising a minimum of $250 each. They spend the next few months practicing with their team up to three times a week — as well as frenetically trying to raise more money. They host brunches and bar crawls. They sell T-shirts, a BvB calendar and, of course, tickets to the big game. (This year, BvB nabbed the support of corporate donors: Coca-Cola, Bud Light and Under Armour, among others. )