GRAZIA: You look beautiful!
Rose: “Oh, thank you!”
Let’s chat about your recent films. Your character Calamity in Pitch Perfect 3 was such a different role to Adele in xXx: Return of Xander Cage with Vin Diesel. What’s your ultimate type of role? What are you dying to play?
“I mean, you don’t know an ultimate role until you read the script and go, ‘I love that’. You know I read scripts and see films and then I have favourite films whether it’s The Godfather or Girl Interrupted or there’s certain films where you go, ‘Oh wow, that made me get into acting’ or ‘That is something I’d like to do.’ Doing comedy, doing something that families go and see, doing a musical, getting to play guitar and sing – something I haven’t done in years is very different to going around and killing people and surviving apocalypses. Playing someone like Calamity was great fun because I was able to be loose and light – a lot of my other characters were a lot more heavy. You want to do a bit of everything.”
When you first moved to the States, you auditioned for two years and weren’t getting a lot of work. The you landed Orange Is The New Black. How did that feel?
“Well no, I didn’t even get to audition! I couldn’t get a manager or an agent so I couldn’t actually even audition because I didn’t have any way into that opportunity. So I really just kind of honed in on my craft. I took a lot of ‘me time’. I had worked in Australia solidly for ten years and I really wanted to work out exactly what I wanted to do. I made the short film Break Free and then that lead to Orange. So my first audition was Orange and I got that role! After that, the first time I flew home to Oz, I went to the GQ Women of the Year Awards. It was really bizarre to come back and then get this Woman of the Year accolade after being like, ‘I haven’t been home for so long!’ and have people love the work that I’ve done and be really into the show and be proud. It’s just nice because I feel like if it wasn’t for the career that I’ve had in Australia and all the different things that I got to do, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now. It was also amazing to come home and know that this is where it all started.”
When you went over to LA, was that your ambition to be an actress? Or was it something else?
“No, it was to be an actress. And that’s why it was tough to stay in Australia, because everyone kept saying, ‘Nobody is going to believe you in this role because they’re going to see Ruby Rose the presenter or Ruby Rose the DJ or a personality and they’re not going to see you as an actress’. Wentworth was going around at the time and a few other scripts and it’s so ironic cause then I went and did a prison show in America [Laughs]. Producers and casting directors would be like, ‘We love you and you’d be great for it, but it’s just that we don’t think people are going to believe that,’ and they were probably right because people would probably think it doesn’t feel right. But if you go into it in a different format and context and if you do it in the States… It surprised people. I was only meant to be doing three episodes of Orange and ended up doing thirteen and won a SAG award and had all these great experiences from that and that opened up all the doors.”
It was such a great role. Did you ever fear, within those two years of no work, “I could come home with my tail between my legs”?
“Everyone said that to me and I even sort of had some managers throughout the years who said I shouldn’t bother with the States because I had such a great career here and non-stop work and my family is here and they thought if I went over there, I might just come back with nothing. I can’t remember who it was, if it was Hugh Jackman or… it was a very famous Australian actor who was asked a similar question and he said, “Well, Australia is not exactly a bad Plan B” [Laughs]”
He was right in a way…
“He said, ‘You’re coming back home to the most beautiful country in the world, to your friends and family, where you have a career – and it is one of the most beautiful places to live, we’re so blessed’. If it didn’t work on a work-level in the States, coming back home I wouldn’t feel embarrassed. I would just feel grateful that I gave it a shot. If I hadn’t have gone, I would have felt that regret later on in life. So I had to make the move and I made it pretty late – I think I got Orange when I was 27-years-old, it didn’t come out til I was twenty-eight, and that’s a big time to start, people start when they’re twenty. But with the acting, I was offered every but – I got offers from all the different agencies that I met with, they wanted me to do reality TV, hosting, DJ, be an influencer, music – anything but acting! And they were like, ‘Yeah, the acting, we’re gonna pass, we want you to basically do exactly what you’ve done so well in Australia’, and I thought that if I was going to do that, then I would’ve stayed in Australia. So I kept it as wanting to be an actor because that’s all I wanted to do and luckily – towards the end I started thinking if I’ve made a big mistake, maybe I am meant to do what I’ve done and what’s come so naturally to me – but at that very last moment, I got Orange. It was definitely perfect timing.”
Why do you think they said that? That you shouldn’t go into the acting side?
“I think, at the time in America they didn’t have a host for MTV, reality TV was enormous, they had the writers strike which is how reality TV was born because they couldn’t have anyone writing scripts. And I think they thought, ‘Why would you want to do film, plus we haven’t seen any of your work,’ so they don’t have anything to go by, and they’re thinking, ‘But you would kill it in reality TV! There’s so much money in being a host’. And for me I think it was just a lack of faith, and I don’t blame them because I had nothing to show.”
Your Twitter – I feel like sometimes you have a knee-jerk reaction to events. As your star rises and as your following gets bigger do you ever think, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t post this.’ Do you ever have that filter?
“[Laughs] Oh yeah, all the time! I mean there’s so many posts that I just don’t post. And then I delete it sometimes because there’s so much news going on in the world and so many things and distractions that it’s nice to just delete it for a couple of weeks and then go back to it. Otherwise you find yourself so connected to your phone, and like, we have a whole world around us. I have obligations that I have to do promoting things, or there’s causes that I really care about that I want to advocate for so I go on for that. But I’m sort of indifferent to social media – maybe it’s because I’m a little bit older, but I can go without it for quite a long time.”
You’ve been such an advocate for marriage equality and issues like gender fluidity. How important is it to you that you now use this platform to further these plights?
“Oh its enormous, yeah its huge. There’s a lot of things that I care a lot about – equal rights across the board, the gay vote that happened that’s sort of a non-binding. It was a weird waste of money that I’m glad it came back in our favour because so many people were put through emotional turmoil and bullying and the propaganda on TV which was anti-gay rights and I was like, ‘Gosh, if this doesn’t go in our favour and we’ve subjected all these people to this horrible bullying that we’ve allowed to happen…’ – everyone was sort of allowed to say whatever they wanted – it would have been really detrimental. So I’m glad it went in the right direction.”