When it comes to self-expression, actor Ruby Rose likes to make a statement with her make-up. It’s no wonder, then, that she’s collaborated with the ultimate bold beauty brand...
In a hotel room in West Hollywood, 31-year-old actress and model Ruby Rose is showing off products from a collection she’s been working on with Urban Decay since meeting the founder of the brand three years ago. ‘This has been the most top-secret collaboration they’ve done,’ she laughs. ‘It’s a big deal.’ Ruby is Urban Decay’s first ever face – founding partner Wende Zomnir held off until she found the right candidate. And you can immediately see why Ruby ts the bill. Her meld of edgy street style combined with her rebel streak is the perfect counterpoint to her striking natural beauty.
WATCH: Ruby Rose talks about her role in Return of Xander Cage
Born in Melbourne to a single mum, Ruby began life as an MTV presenter in Australia and soon started modelling for Maybelline. In 2008 she embarked on an acting career and got her international break in 2015 as new inmate Stella in Orange Is The New Black, her gender-fluid looks often drawing comparisons with those of Justin Bieber. Now she’s busy with big screen projects, wrapping up three blockbuster action movies with XxX: Return Of Xander Cage, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and John Wick: Chapter 2. Off-screen, Ruby has become tabloid fodder and is often papped with her girlfriend Jess Origliasso (from band The Veronicas). She’s a member of Taylor Swift’s squad, too.
For her collaboration with Urban Decay, Ruby’s employed her ultimate muse as her guide: New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. ‘I have two Basquiat tattoos, I’m obsessed with him,’ she says, showing off the portrait on her arm, and another small image of a crown on her stomach. Basquiat was renowned for his unique neo-expressionism and pieces that re ected the socio-political climate of 1970s New York. His style is present throughout the design of this collaboration, as is Ruby’s rock star attitude.
Grazia: Is your approach to beauty products a form of self-expression?
Ruby Rose: Yeah, absolutely. My body art, my tattoos, fashion, make-up, styling and hair is like it is with a film – I create a character. In my day-to-day I’ll ask, ‘How do I feel? Am I feeling like I wanna have a relaxed day, wear jeans and a T-shirt and do something light? Do I wanna feel like a rock star, amp it up? Or do I feel classic Hollywood and want to walk a red carpet?’ Each look is representative of how I’m feeling. It helps me if I’m not feeling the most glamorous or if I’m really tired, jetlagged and working like crazy, or if my skin’s breaking out and I’m hormonal. In those cases, I’ll use make-up and be like, ‘You know what? I actually feel a lot better.’
Grazia: As someone who can pull off heavy glam as well as natural styles, which do you prefer?
RR: I love the juxtaposition of the two. I love being glamorous. The last four films I did, I had two costumes and one look for four months. When we finally break out of that, I wanna do all the red carpets, all the glamorous photoshoots. You just wanna feel like something other than an apocalypse fighter or a drowned rat, or whatever you’ve been playing on screen.
Grazia: As somebody who’s gender-fluid and invested in beauty, what is your experience of the industry?
RR: Since I moved to the US, my approach to using make-up was noticed. Wende gravitated towards that. She’s so outspoken and believes in authenticity. She knew there’d be times when I don’t wear as much make-up... She knows the times when I wanna go crazy. The [campaign] photos are authentic and people who relate to different parts of the spectrum will find something they love and incorporate it.
Grazia: Do you and your famous friends exchange beauty tips?
RR: I’m the beauty dealer. They come to my house and say, ‘Oh, what a shame I didn’t bring my lip balm and lipgloss and eyeshadow... Ruby?!’ So I open this drawer that’s just Urban Decay products for days and I’ll be like, ‘This is the last mascara I’m giving you.’ So they get most of their beauty make-up tips and collections courtesy of me.
Grazia: Who are the people that inspire you when it comes to beauty?
RR: I get all my inspiration from iconic Madonna looks. I love the elegance of the classic lm stars from the ’20s through to the ’50s, but if I could have experienced another era it would have been the ’80s. I always admire the likes of Prince, Bowie and Debbie Harry, but more recently my icons include Janelle Monáe and Cate Blanchett.
Grazia: You’ve said you love TV series Black Mirror. How is your relationship with social media?
RR: I think what draws me most to Black Mirror is the psychological aspect of it and what it says about human nature. Technology is just the catalyst. My relationship with social media is fairly inconsequential. Don’t get me wrong: it’s invaluable as a platform for my work, as well as the causes close to my heart, but I don’t think you can take it too seriously when it comes to how people react to you on it. You can only control what you post and who you are – everything after that is just a free-for-all. You can’t let the praise or the negative attention affect you one way or the other.
Grazia: When you first entered the industry, you had to grow your hair. Why do you think hair length on women confuses society so much?
RR: I imagine from a purely business point of view, people saw it as a harder ‘sell’ to put me on TV with short hair 10 years ago. It seems sort of ridiculous, because it’s just hair, but I remember even after I established myself, then cut my hair, there were always compromises; I always had to be open to wearing wigs for magazine covers and shoots because it was proven covers with long-haired women sold more. I just don’t think it’s as big a deal any more.
Grazia: How LA are you? Do you enjoy hiking, juicing, dog-walking? Do you integrate yourself in the Hollywood night life?
RR: I feel like some of those things fall under the umbrella of ‘healthy living’. Yes, I partake in exercise, I drink juice and I walk my dogs. I don’t go out, though – I’d rather sit at home with my dogs and a film, so I’m not sure about the LA night life.
Grazia: You have a great group of girlfriends in the public eye – does it help to share the battles of fame with people who ‘get it’?
RR: I have amazing girlfriends – I never feel lonely, even when I’m far away working on set, because we make the time to check in on each other. It’s something I didn’t really have growing up – a support network, a lot of friends – so it’s really something I hold dear.