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Youthful Freckles

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Freckles are associated with being young and given to both children and teens to emphasize their age. It can also be used to brand a younger person as a misfit, perhaps because it's an easily visible mark that other children can make fun of. Adults sometimes have them too.

Freckles are caused by exposure to sunlight, especially on those with fair skin. The propensity to freckle is determined by genetics. Redheads are genetically associated with both fair skin and freckles, although Hollywood tends to overemphasize the connection, similar to Significant Green-Eyed Redhead.

Because freckles are caused by sunlight exposure they are associated with those who run around outside all the time, symbolizing youthful energy (in both positive and negative forms). Freckles can be used to symbolize youthful innocence as well. They can also be a sign of poverty, as poor children are more likely to be Free-Range Children.

Aside from the association with red hair, different hair colors combined with freckles can indicate something about the character:

Black hair and freckles: This character may be East Asian with a touch of But Not Too Foreign.

Brown hair and freckles: Such characters are often Hollywood Homely, especially nerds. But it can be found on the Girl Next Door and cute characters as well.

Blonde hair and freckles: Common on the Bratty Half-Pint, and somewhat of the Phenotype Stereotype of American southerners.

Some archetypes commonly given freckles include:

Girls with freckles have some additional associations, as freckles tend to be associated with girlish innocence.

Compare to Childish Tooth Gap, another design trait used to showcase a character's youth.


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  • This 2018 Apple "Share Your Gifts" ad featuring Billie Eilish's "Come Out and Play", features a young Shrinking Violet lady with black hair and freckles who keeps her drawings in an art storage box. When a winter wind blows her drawings to the street, she goes out to recover them, with some of the people in the crowd picking up and looking at some pieces of her art, and liking them so much they come up to her, encouraging her to not be afraid to express her creative talents.

    Anime & Manga 
  • From Anpanman, Yakisobapanman's younger sister, Yakisobakasu. Her name's actually a pun on yakisoba (like her brother, her head is made out of yakisobapan, a bun filled with yakisoba, so the noodles act as their hair), and of sobakasu, which means "freckle".
  • Several characters in Attack on Titan have them.
    • Marco Bott is the brown-haired, dorky variant.
    • Ymir has the black-haired variant, which works since she has Titan powers and is from a completely different culture/group than the rest of the cast.
    • Hannah is the standard red-haired variety.
    • Ilse Lagner had them, which is significant since she was an Identical Stranger to Ymir. It confuses a Titan she encounters, and allows her to leave vital information behind in her Apocalyptic Log.
  • Max from Bakuten Shoot Beyblade is one of the youngest characters and is freckled.
  • Sasami from Tenchi Muyo! has these, but they tend to appear and disappear depending on the scene/series/incarnation/frame of animation.
  • Makoto Ariga from Wandering Son has freckles. She dislikes them, thinking they make her look less cute. Her energetic mother also has freckles.
  • Rebecca from Yu-Gi-Oh! has freckles, and also has Girlish Pigtails in Season One and Season Five.
  • Izuku Midoriya, the protagonist of My Hero Academia, has a cluster of freckles on each cheek just under his eye, which reflects his youthful idealism in the face of the many trials and tribulations he endured to achieve his dream of becoming a superhero.
  • Rosencrantz sports a few of these in the manga adaptation of Hamlet.

    Comic Books 
  • Maxine Sinclair of Double Jumpers is a game developer working on "Dungeon Lords 2". She has freckles on her face.
  • Richie's poor friend Freckles Friendly from Richie Rich.
  • Rosharch from Watchmen is in the misfit category.
  • Archie Andrews in Archie Comics is of The All-American Boy variant, being a youthful teenager.
  • Jimmy Olsen from Superman, Depending on the Artist.
  • Sin from Captain America has freckles.
  • Sassette in the comic book version of The Smurfs sometimes has freckles.
  • Wonder Woman
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): While twin sisters Milly & Tilly Heyday are a bit old for this as college students they are both the most childish of the Holiday Girls in different ways and have a dusting of freckles that seems to consist of all the freckles in the entire group.
    • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: To help drive home just how young Eleanor Chapman was at the time of her death once her ghostly face takes on the features she had in life her nose and cheeks are spattered with freckles.
  • Dylan Brock, the younger half-brother of Eddie Brock, has freckles running across his nose, illustrating his childish enthusiasm when compared to his world-weary brother.
  • The Snow Cat Prince has Kit, a young girl who joins Syv on his quest to retrieve Nordan's magic crown. She has freckles under her eyes.
  • Kid Sherlock: A bully who likes picking on Sherlock and Watson has a face of freckles.
  • Norby: Jeff, a fourteen-year-old Space Cadet, is given a freckled nose and cheeks for the Norby, the Mixed-Up Robot adaptation, but they’re gone for the second adaptation.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • West of the Kingdom Hearts fic Reconnected has of the "brown hair and freckles" variety, serving as both a Genki Girl and Cute Clumsy Girl.
  • In From Muddy Waters, All For One of all people is said to have these. This is what unnerves All Might, Gran Torino, and Sir Nighteye when they see Izuku, who is said to be the spitting image of his father, complete with curly hair and Quirk.
  • The Royal Sketchbook depicts Luna as having been dappled as a foal. Eventually her spots went away, aside from her blotchy Cutie Mark. The dappled fur gives off the impression of freckles.
  • When two recent graduates of the Guild of Assassins School go backpacking across the Discworld's equivalent of the African continent, a Running Gag is that whichever culture or country they are in, the vividly red-haired one gets a nickname in the local language that translates to something like Oh, her? Ginger-With-Freckles. When she finally reaches her own native country after nearly eighteen months of travelling and is conscripted into her nation's army for her National Service, her Army nickname is Sproetjie - "Freckles". Read more in "Gap Year Adventures" by A.A. Pessimal.
  • 4-year old Silver from Single Parents Night has light freckles on his cheeks.
  • Percy has these in Ask the Famous 8!, and is the youngest of the titular group. However, they are less noticeable because of his dark skin.
  • Vow of Nudity: Haara has them according to her HeroForge minifigure, probably to highlight her masculine personality and active lifestyle spent almost entirely outdoors.

    Films — Animation 
  • Dot in A Bug's Life is the only ant to have freckles on her nose, and is the youngest and least mature major character.
  • Young Ellie from Pixar's Up is a Tomboy Girl Next Door.
  • Rapunzel from Tangled.
  • Dash Parr from The Incredibles is a 10 year old boy with freckles which are even more noticeable in the sequel. Buddy Pine/Syndrome has freckles both as a kid and an adult, and is a Psychopathic Manchild Evil Redhead.
  • Princess Merida from Brave.
  • Coraline has freckles and is also a Plucky Girl/Tomboy.
  • In an unusually literal example, Odette in The Swan Princess had freckles, for just one summer while she was a tomboy. Once she grew into a more elegant, feminine woman the freckles were gone again.
  • Frozen:
    • 18-year old Princess Anna has freckles to go with her spunky, youthful persona. After she turns 21 and even becomes queen, she still has these.
    • Queen Elsa shares her sister's freckles, but in her case they're very light and hard-to-notice. Her freckles symbolize her youth (only becoming queen at 21 after the death of her parents at 18).
  • Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III in How to Train Your Dragon is a runty 15-year old misfit Viking who can't seem to do anything right, and he has auburn hair and a face full of freckles. In How to Train Your Dragon 2 he's a rather tall and fit 20-year old who's become more respected and most of his freckles are gone, but he retains some of the darker ones.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Lewis has some faint freckles on his cheeks. His older self, Cornelius does too, but even in close shots of his face they're hard to notice.
  • Ratatouille: Linguini has these to show how easily excited he can be, and how out-of-place his is among the much more seasoned chefs of Gusteau's.
  • Turning Red:
    • Mei has a few of them that are barely noticeable which indicate that she's not quite as adult as she thinks she is.
    • Devon has some almost noticeable ones on his face indicating, though he looks older than he is, he is clearly not 30 as Ming accuses him of being.
  • Louie from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story has both freckles and a Childish Tooth Gap.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Natalya Rudakova in Transporter 3, playing the kidnapped daughter Frank is forced to drive around with him. She certainly proves troublesome until they warm up to each other.
  • Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean had lots of freckles as a child (as seen in a flashback in the first film), and none as an adult.
  • Some early film roles of Marlčne Jobert.
  • Some roles of Sophia Lillis, including young Beverly Marsh in It and It: Chapter Two and Nancy Drew in Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.
  • In The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Captain Gregg's ghost says that Lucy Muir must have been a fat girl with pigtails (she insist she was skinny and wore her hair in braids), and "A thousand freckles".
    Captain Gregg: You still have some.
    Lucy: Only seven. I'm told they're most becoming.
    Captain Gregg(smiling): They are at that.
  • Ma Vie En Rose: Chris is a freckle-faced kid around the age of Ludovic (who's seven).
In Tank Girl when The Madame kidnaps Sam she forces her to dress in a Stripperific schoolgirl uniform, complete with painted-on youthful freckles, to make her more attractive to pedophiles.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Howdy Doody's titular character is a red-haired, freckle-faced marionette, who started out with 48 freckles for each of the United States, which was later increased to 49 and 50 when Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union.
  • Punky Brewster is a Tomboy with brown hair and Girlish Pigtails.
  • Maeby Funke in Arrested Development, definitely very adventurous/rebellious and something of a tomboy.
  • Stranger Things: (In order of appearance) Mike, Barb, Max, and Robin (at the end of Season 3 especially) all seem to possess a few sprinkles on their complexions and are all very young.
  • Dean Winchester in Supernatural possesses freckles, which become less obvious after the first couple of seasons. In the episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), the Acheri demon, who poses as a child, also has freckles.
  • Bellamy Blake in The 100 has freckles, despite being the oldest of the 100 sent to Earth.
  • Luke Ross from Jessie is noted for his freckles. Despite being the second oldest of the Ross kids, he's not the most mature.
  • Willow: Jade has brown freckles all over her face which serve as a mark of her youth.
  • Ginny and Georgia: Ginny has a few freckles high up on her cheeks, which helps to show her as a teen (despite being played by a woman in her mid twenties).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Inverted with Nikki Roxx, who was very pale in her youth and referred to as "La Gringa" while wrestling for LLF in Monterrey. She got more freckles as she aged, likely due to Arena Femenil being an outdoor venue. The Hollywood Homely aspect was used in TNA when she dyed her hair brown and became a target of The Beautiful People, though given she was the baby face in the feud it might have also been a subversion.


    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: In the Mysterious Console DLC, Noni, a young teenage girl, is shown to have these when given a close-up on the Versus Character Splash.
  • In Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly, Riona is a young adult banshee with a freckled face.
  • Nina Cortex from the Crash Bandicoot series, who fits the black hair and tomboy types and is occasionally a Butt-Monkey. Whether she has the freckles or not tends to vary, though.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, the Inventor's cheeks are covered with tiny freckles, showing how innocent she is.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Junko Enoshima has a light dusting of freckles over her nose, which she tells Naegi is one of the things that gets airbrushed out of her glamour shots. It's a plot point, actually: the girl who presents herself as Junko and has freckles is not Junko, but her twin sister and decoy Mukuro Ikusaba. The real Junko, the Big Bad behind the evil Monokuma, has no freckles.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Galaxy Angel has Creta Biscuit, the chief engineer of the Elsior. While she's already an adult woman in her twenties, she has a rather jovial personality and is the only member of the Elsior's crew who has freckles.
  • Shishido from Inazuma Eleven, a red-headed Butt-Monkey and one of the youngest characters in the main cast, has freckles.
  • Yuuko Shirakawa of Katawa Shoujo, a college student who works part-time as a librarian and waitress and isn't much older than Hisao or his classmates, has them. The same applies for one nameless girl in Lilly's route who is said to be an underclassman, the only student not in third year apart from the April Fool's Day character Rika.
  • Mass Effect
    • Liara T'Soni. She's 106 when you meet her, but that's still pretty young by the standards of her species. They're olive green because her skin is blue.
    • The default Female Shepard for Mass Effect 3 has them as well, fitting the red hair and green eyes part of this trope.

    Web Animation 
  • Toothy from Happy Tree Friends, with a Butt-Monkey trait to match.
  • RWBY
    • Penny is a cheerful, positive person who wants to explore the world and make new friends. She wants help people and takes her job title as a protector of the people very seriously. Her face is sprinkled with a faint dusting of freckles, which helps create the image of an innocent girl with an abundance of youthful energy.
    • Oscar has freckles all over his cheeks. As a fourteen-year-old boy, he is the youngest main character in the show but carries the greatest burden of them all. The freckles help contrast his youth with the weight of a responsibility that has been shown to break adults. He is the inheritor of both Ozpin's soul and responsibility to protect humanity from Salem. Compared to the old headmaster who knew everything about the threat the world is facing, Oscar is a Farm Boy with no combat background and limited life experience.
  • SMG4's Mario Bloopers: Meggy gets these after turning into a human. Her redesign still has them but they're a lot more subtle.

    Web Comics 
  • Rachel from Tower of God as a Tomboy Next Door. She is definitely not innocent as we discover.
  • Weak Hero:
    • Though Rowan changes a lot between middle and high school, what doesn't change is his spattering of freckles or the immaturity they're associated with.
    • Lily's spattering of freckles, alongside her twintails and round spectacles, make her appearance as childish as her romantic thoughts about Gray.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Raya has fur markings on her cheeks which resemble freckles, contributing to her Ridiculously Cute Critter appearance.

    Western Animation 
  • Both 11-year old and 16-year old Gwen Tennyson on Ben 10: Omniverse are both freckled.
  • Danny Phantom: Danny had these when he was eight years old, as shown in "Maternal Instincts". Youngblood, the bratty ghost boy, and Johnny 13, the biker ghost who spreads bad luck, also have freckles.
  • On Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Prince Wednesday's cousin, Chrissie, has these.
  • Wendy from Gravity Falls has red hair and freckles, as a Girl Next Door-type.
  • Lincoln, Luna, Lynn, and Ronnie Ann from The Loud House all possess freckles.
  • Big City Greens: Tilly Green possesses freckles.
  • On the PBS Curious George, Allie is a spunky girl with red hair in a ponytail and freckles.
  • On Ready Jet Go!, Sean, Mitchell, and Zerk all have freckles.
  • Total DramaRama: Owen and Izzy have these in this series, unlike their teenage counterparts. Courtney also does, but that's because her teenage self has freckles as well. Curiously, Harold actually loses his faint freckles, but gains a Childish Tooth Gap instead.
  • In The Crumpets, the young twins Bother and Blister have freckles in addition to some of their numerous siblings like the childish young adult Grownboy. They also have red hair.
  • What About Mimi?: Mimi has freckles on her cheeks.
  • The Tale of the Great Bunny: Abigail has freckles on her cheeks.
  • Joey from Atomic Puppet has these. Interestingly, they disappear when he enters his superhero form. His neighbor/classmate Warren also has some freckles.
  • Dez from Wishfart has these.
  • Kaeloo: Pretty and Eugly, who are preteens, have these. So does Lavanade, a toddler. A photograph of Kaeloo herself as a child shows that she used to have these when she was younger.

Alternative Title(s): Red Hair And Freckles