Why Ruby Rose Chose to Be Urban Decay's Beauty Spokeswoman
"It’s really cool to have somebody like myself who is, you know, gender fluid with short hair and tattoos representing something beautiful."
Inside a top-floor suite at New York’s Crosby Street Hotel, Ruby Rose has just wrapped a fashion photo shoot. She is poised and relaxed, sitting in an armchair with her short hair slicked back and cornrowed, wearing “Slow Burn,” a rich red lip color from Urban Decay’s 100-shade “Vice” lipstick launch, for which Rose is the spokeswoman.
Billboard spoke exclusively with the Orange Is the New Black actress and popular DJ about everything from why she partnered with Urban Decay to being a gender-fluid role model to why Rihanna’s lips rock.
How did the Urban Decay partnership come to be? Have you always been a fan?
I had just finished up Orange [Is the New Black] and had a few opportunities come through from the makeup and beauty world, but I was taking my time, thinking about what I realistically wanted to do next. I honestly didn’t expect to focus on anything other than solidifying myself as an actor, but when one of the requests came through to meet with Wende [Zomnir] from Urban, I couldn't say no to it. What really got me was that they’re cruelty-free.
How does being the spokeswoman for a makeup brand propel your image as a strong woman in the entertainment industry?
It’s really cool to have somebody like myself who is, you know, gender fluid with short hair and tattoos representing something beautiful. I don't want to say most spokeswomen are cookie-cutter because that's not what I mean, but I’m certainly not your typical, "everyday beauty." Oftentimes, people will look at the face of a beauty brand almost like she’s a god, thinking, “Oh, if only I could look like that ... ” But I think girls can look at me and say, “We’re one and the same.”
Is red your favorite lip color?
I have a rule with my lips: If I have to speak a lot and am being filmed, I cannot wear red. I have a real phobia of red and bright lips because I constantly think I’ll get it on my teeth, so I’ll wear a more nude color like Trick or Interrogate. But then if I’m just doing a red carpet or photo shoot, I’ll go straight back to red.
If your favorite song of the moment was a lip color, what would it be?
“This Is What You Came For” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris is such a good song. I would wear Pandemonium as me being Rihanna because when I think of that song and I think of Rihanna, I only just see Rihanna and those beautiful lips. And then Calvin would get a smoky eye.POWER PURPLE: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Pandemonium (Photo: Urban Decay)
You’ve been open about how Prince and David Bowie really inspired you. Did they inspire you to experiment with your look?
Prince, Bowie and Madonna were all my mom played when I was growing up, and they really helped build my confidence when I was young. I loved what Prince did because he was such a feminine guy who really explored different types of clothing and different types of makeup. Then Bowie was sort of from another world, you know? He had that kind of extraterrestrial-type look about him and was a real enigma. Madonna was the girl-girl. But she was constantly re-creating herself, constantly being a feminine badass and a force to reckon with.
Did you ever get to see Prince in concert?
About two months ago, I was working on xXx and someone offered me tickets to see him. I turned them down because I was like, “Oh, I have an early morning and I have to shoot and I'm tired, but who knows? This might be the last time he's touring.” I remember waking up in, like, the middle of the night suddenly desperately regretting not going, thinking how I should have gone and questioning why I didn’t go. Then a week and a half later, I find out he has passed. It was devastating.
You have over 70 tattoos. What’s your favorite?
I started with tattoos when I was 16 and got a lower-back tramp stamp. Recently I was at Shamrock in L.A. talking with Mark Mahoney, and I was complaining about this lower-back tramp stamp, being like, “Man, I have this lower-back tramp stamp, and I feel like I have so many tattoos because I’ve just been making up for it ever since.” But he told me mine is from a period where they were cool and new and called something like “the three-point diamond,” so if you have one from that period, you’re old-school.
But I honestly don’t think I’m going to get any more. I have my life story all over my body like a living diary, and that's why I did it and that's why I love it, but I’m living in the moment and really appreciating life more than I ever have right now. And I don't need to put anything on my body to remind me of the good because all these, like, amazing blessings remind me every day.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.