Ruby Rose: So much more than Orange Is The New Black's new 'lust object'

Meet the model-turned-actress inspiring LGBT and youth mental health activists across Australia

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The Independent Online

Ruby Rose is a name you may well get used to seeing appearing in your social timelines this year.

The 28-year-old model and presenter from Australia has just been cast to play the love interest of Piper Chapman and Alex Vause in Season 3 of cut-throat prison drama-dy Orange Is The New Black.

According to Elle, her character plays the “lust object” of the warring couple. And it doesn’t take a production expert to work out why she was deemed best for the role.

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But there’s more to Rose than pure aestheticism. Here’s what you should know.

She’s of remarkably impressive stock…

Her father was bantamweight boxer Lionel Edmund Rose MBE, who was the first Indigenous Australian boxer to win the world title. Her great-grandfather? None other than Alec Campbell, the last surviving Australian soldier from the Battle of Gallipoli. Her mother, Katia Langenheim, is an artist.

She has been praised for her openness about mental health as a youth ambassador for Headspace…

Which includes sharing her own struggle to manage depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after she found a child hanging at a BBQ. See her talking about her battle in the video below:

She came out as gay at the age of 12…

And suffered a torrent of verbal and physical abuse throughout her teen years as a result. One homophobic attack was so extreme, she was hospitalised.  “Where are you now?!” she shouted to her former tormentors as she accepted a Favorite Female Personality award in Australia in 2009.

She found fame – and a famous ex-fiancée – in a Girlfriend model search when she was 15…

Rose came runner-up in the 2007 competition to Catherine McNeil, now an internationally renowned model who has starred in campaigns D&G, Versace and Donna Karan, among others. The pair are thought to have started a romantic relationship in 2009, but parted ways in 2010. Earlier this year, Rose told reporters she was engaged to Phoebe Dahl, the  granddaughter of author Roald Dahl and the cousin of model Sophie Dahl.

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Ruby Rose and Phoebe Dahl in May 2014

She became an LGBT icon when she released this gender-fluidity tribute in 2014…

Break Free, which you can see below, has since been viewed over 2million times:

“As a little kid, I was convinced that I was a guy,” she told the Guardian of the concept behind the piece. “I used to bind with ACE bandages, which is really, really bad for you. I was like, five or six? I was really young. I didn't have anything there to bind! I used to sleep on my chest because I thought it would stop me from getting boobs. I used to pray to God that I wouldn’t get breasts.”

She considers herself entirely gender neutral…

But if she had to choose, she identifies more with her male side.

“I feel like I'm a boy, but I don't feel like I should've been born with different parts of my body or anything like that,” she said.

“I think I'm lucky enough to have accepted my body. I've done a lot of therapy. I have a lot of trans friends, and I've seen them go through the surgeries. I saw the desperation that they had. I remember thinking, “Do I have that? Do I really need to go and put myself through that?” And I thought, No, I don't. I really sit in a more neutral place, which I'm grateful for as well.”