BY: GIBSON JOHNS
Ruby Rose just had "one of the greatest years" of her life.
The Australian actress, model and DJ has been a star in her home country for years, but broke out in 2015 for her portrayal of Stella on the third season of Netflix's hit show "Orange Is the New Black." Though she has a slew of upcoming acting roles -- "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter," "John Wick 2" and the animated "Sheep'n'Wolves" -- Rose's next big project is a high-profile modeling gig: She's currently the face of Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply's Spring 2016 campaign.
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Speaking exclusively to AOL, Rose told us about her experience of shooting the campaign for Denim & Supply, joining the "Orange" family and comparing the price of fame in Australia and America. Throughout the conversation, the rising star was eloquent, funny and down-to-earth, providing a level-headed perspective on her rise to the top, ever-evolving style and affinity for a wide variety of roles.
See photos of Ruby Rose from her breakout year in 2015:
Check out our full conversation with Ruby Rose below:
You've done a lot of modeling over the years, and I'm sure you've been offered a ton of different opportunities from a variety of brands. What about Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply felt like the right fit for you?
It came at the time when "Orange" had really come out and it was really well-received. I had a lot of different people approaching me about doing different things (which was amazing) but this was the one where I knew people that had done previous campaigns that had loved it, like Cody Simpson and Hailey Baldwin and Avicii, so I knew it was a good fit. I knew how collaborative it is and that everyone has a say in what they were doing. It's a really artistic approach to utilizing the spokeswoman's skills and applying them to Denim & Supply's aesthetic. I immediately said yes and we had a meeting about what kind of vibe we wanted to do right away.
We [wanted to embody] the New York scene with a Williamsburg/Brooklyn vibe. It just seemed like the right fit. It was awesome. We did a couple of days of shooting and every single day we just made it up as we went along. It was a question of, "What do we feel? What are we vibing? Where would you wear this? What is authentic? What's real?"
Have you always felt a natural connection to fashion? Or is it something you came into over time?
I didn't notice until I got into the entertainment industry how much I do have such an affiliation with fashion and that type of expression. I was already doing it innately based on trial and error -- with a lot of error. I was always very eclectic and I did a lot of exploring into different niche outlets. I tried everything and over time I worked out what worked for me and what made me the most comfortable.
I have a very androgynous kind of style with a kind of rock-chic vibe. It sounds cliche, but I do just sort of love wearing band tees, skinny tees and leather jackets. Fashion is a huge part of my life and when we do red carpets I work very hard on what I want to wear. It's a big part of my life -- it really is just like art.
You touched on your ability and tendency to embody different looks, which seems to be something that carried over to the roles you choose to portray -- you've taken on a wide range of projects. Is that a conscious decision you made for your career, to take on diverse roles?
It's definitely a decision. When you get a script, you have two options that really depend on the director and the role: Most often, the director wants you to make a character your own and decide how she would speak, how she would move and how she would dress. I like to have a lot of say into what my characters wear, and I recently booked another film that I'm creating the costume for now: She's an entirely different character. It's a lot of fun being able to make those decisions because you're turning into someone else and you really want to get into your character -- and a big part of that is fashion.
And we do that every day as people, too. If I were to wear a dress to a red carpet, for some reason the way I stand and talk is different from if I wear jeans and flat tops.
Talk to me about the experience of filming "Orange Is the New Black" last season. 2015 was truly your breakout year -- what was that whole experience like?
Last year was the greatest year of my life. For starters, I've made friends that I'll have with me for the rest of my life and I've learned skills that I'll have for the rest of my life. The biggest thing that came out of that was that it really helped me break into the American market, which is an incredibly hard thing to do. And getting to work with that level of talent in all sectors for my biggest role ever in the States is nothing short of a blessing.
Every single person that works on that show is so brilliantly gifted in what they do that it just rubs off on you. The quintessential thing on that show is that all of the women support each other. That's the biggest different between that show and some other shows that are out there: It's not a common thing for a show that has that many women — acting, directing, writing — all get along as well as the family at 'Orange' do. It's true; we really do all get along so well. Everyone is so good at giving each other feedback and running lines with one another and talking about what we think our characters are doing next.
The other thing is that, because we only get the scripts a week at a time, you never knew what's going to happen [with your character]. We would sit and have these conspiracy theories about what was happening, and at one point we were all convinced that my character was in there to kill Laura Prepon's character [Alex Vause]. You just don't know until you get the next script. It was the most amazing experience of my life.
You mentioned the importance of breaking into the American entertainment industry -- how does fame differ in Australia and America?
In Australia, one of the things that can be difficult is that it's a smaller market, which means there are less of us there, so we get more attention — like, unwanted attention — and it's a lot harder to go out and do what you want to do like walk your dog and do other everyday things.
You're also always being written about. Whereas in the States, there's an abundance of people in entertainment so you can kind of go more unnoticed and go about your life because there are so many people doing the same thing. It's the hub of entertainment, and if you can make it over here then you've truly made it, but I actually feel less pressure now than I did back home.
I definitely feel like there's a lot of support here -- not that there wasn't back home -- but I feel a lot of love here right now and it really gives me my focus, drive and passion.
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