The model-turned-actress chatted with WWD at the GLAAD Awards about coming out, helping other youths and acting.
WWD: Thanks to “Orange is the New Black,” you’ve become a prominent figure in the LGBT community. What changed for you?
Ruby Rose: I came out when I was 12 when there was no one gay in my family or in my community…I had a spiritual awakening around the time of “The L Word,” which was amazing. I watched things progress from there slowly, but surely. Now fast track to where we are today. There are so many shows that I could turn on and be like, “That reminds me of myself,” or “I relate to that character.”
WWD: And now you get to be a role model for others. What’s that like?
R.R.: That means everything to me. Clearly now I’m very comfortable with who I am. I think about the [young people who] are looking for somebody to let them know that they’re normal, that they’re OK, that they should be out and be true to themselves. “Orange [is the New Black”] covers so much ground — different races, different body sizes, different ages, different religions, different sexuality. To be on that show makes me feel like I’m doing something right in my life.
WWD: You recently signed a deal with Urban Decay to be a spokesperson and you have a number of movie projects in the pipeline. Are you focusing on acting for now?
R.R.: I’m loving shooting films. I’ve just done three in a row: [“xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” with Vin Diesel and Nina Dobrev; “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” with Milla Jovovich, and “John Wick: Chapter Two” with Keanu Reeves.] They all come out in the same month next year. So I really have to get better at this whole red carpet thing.
WWD: In 2014, you wrote, produced and starred in a short film called “Break Free,” which was inspired by your own struggle with gender presentation. You’ve also been a DJ, an MTV VJ and host of “Australia’s Next Top Model.” What would you love to tackle next?
R.R.: I would love to keep getting more and more [parts in films]. I want to do something that’s incredibly raw and something where I can really take a risk where people say, “Oh, I didn’t see her playing that.” I’ve been doing fun films and amazing characters that are so badass to play, but I want to do something where people are really surprised.