Ruby Rose Is Mystified by People With No Tattoos

Ruby Rose
Ruby Rose Photo: Steven A Henry/Getty Images

Since captivating everyone’s interest at the Litchfield Penitentiary on Orange Is the New Black, Ruby Rose has had a busy year. She’s wrapped her TV show and three more movies (sequels to Resident Evil, xXx, and John Wick), starred in Ralph Lauren ads, and signed her first beauty campaign with Urban Decay. The Cut talked to Rose about filming her co-workers’ “fail videos,” her cat who acts like a dog, and how she felt about seeing all those OITNB memes about her changing people’s sexuality.

What are five things that currently make you happy?
Puppies. The hundred Urban Decay lipsticks I have sitting in my room — it’s so exciting. The sun — I’ve been in very cold climates for the past six months shooting. Friends. And Vin Diesel gave me an electric skateboard and it’s so much fun.

He gave everyone cool wrap gifts. I got the electric skateboard. Those less likely to want to be on a motorized skateboard got a light bicycle with our xXx names. Mine is now being shipped back to L.A. because I couldn’t take it on the plane. I asked!

But please don’t try an electric skateboard at home if you haven’t skated. Nina [Dobrev], my co-star in xXx, got on it in boots and stacked it. I wasn’t filming it, which was the sad part of it. But then she got on again in flats. She went down like Gunsh. And this time I got it on video!

I’ve heard you have a tattoo that says, “Be the person your dog thinks you are.”
Yes. Dogs: They have a love for you like you could do no wrong. The way they look at you is so amazing. They never get bored of you. You’re perfect to them. Imagine that you were the person that they see all the time. Nice, giving, caring, loving, and even patient when you have to pick up their poop. You’d be the best version of yourself.

Funny that the quote is related to dogs and not cats.
Because your cat thinks you’re evil and doesn’t know why you’re keeping them locked up in the house when they should be on a spaceship ruling the world.

I love cats that act like dogs. I have one like that in Australia. His name is Axl. You know: Ruby Rose, Axl Rose. He’s the cutest cat; he’s 14 now and totally thinks he’s a dog. He makes dog noises, he’ll be like, “romph.” I’m like, That’s not a meow, buddy.

I raised this cat to be a dog. Everyone else’s cats freak me out. They’re just like weird aliens. I feel like they’re trying to mind-control me. Why do I want to go pet you right now?

You have a lot of tattoos. What draws you to tattoos?
It’s the same way I like to explore with clothing and makeup. That was my self-expression growing up. My mum let me get one — I was in a period when I was trying to find my own way and she wanted me to feel like I owned my body again. She said, “You need to own yourself and who you are and what you are. If this is going to help you know that your skin belongs to you and you’re in control, let’s do it.”

I see tattoos as a journal, a way of keeping control of my life. I can look at my arms, legs, and stomach and have memories that trigger me every time. I can have hope.

It’s funny because I look at someone like you with bare skin and I’m like, How can I read your story? What is your road map? I think not having tattoos is way more mysterious than having tattoos. Like, wow — I have so many questions to ask!

What is your morning beauty routine like?
I’m a clean freak when it comes to my skin. I drink a lot of water and green juices. I use a lot of light products that are not chemically based. I like to stay moisturized. I’ll focus on mascara and brows, and maybe a light kind of BB cream, like one and done.

Today, I’ve chosen a lipstick and have done a lot more. Today was about me getting up, showering, getting an amazing glam team, and experimenting with what kind of mood I’m in and what I want to do.

You’ve said before you identify as being gender-fluid. How does that approach the way you think about beauty?
I think it’s fun. At last night’s event, I met all these amazing makeup bloggers and some beautiful women with out-there colors, glitter, contouring, and nails. Then there were such an array of boys wearing makeup. And also some girls wearing less makeup. I love seeing all that fluidity between the genders.

It would be hard to work out who had the best makeup last night. Jeffree Starr is a star. Nowadays, we get the option to be really casual and relaxed in our approach with makeup and then the option to be daring and bold. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other.

Being gender fluid in the way that I dress with my hair and makeup — it gives me a broader ability to do different things. And it’s translating into every industry and everyday life. I get letters and fan mail from people, young girls and boys, saying they feel more comfortable being fluid and expressing their gender. It’s cool to see what we’re doing in the media. Celebrity, fashion, and beauty is now impacting the people we want to impact. They’re allowed to be themselves in situations where they previously didn’t feel comfortable.

How did the collaboration with Urban Decay happen?
It was at a time when OINTB happened. I had gotten some amazing inquiries but wasn’t wanting to delve into brand partnerships. I wanted to solidify myself as an actor.

But Urban stood out — my makeup artist used Perversion mascara on me, which was the first product from them that I tried. My makeup artist told me that it was cruelty-free and vegan, and I was triggered. We didn’t even take the other meetings with the other two beauty people. Once I met Wende [Zomnir], I felt like we had synergy. You’re artistic, I’m an artist, we’re both inspired by nature and want to create unique things in the world.

When you appeared on OINTB, all these memes came out saying that you were making people “change” their mind about their sexuality. What did you think when you saw those?
Those were the days. [Laughs] I didn’t think anything, honestly. I was shocked. I had a period of life where my jaw was on the ground and it started when I got the audition, to the role, to actually being on my favorite show ever. I was just in awe of how amazing my life was and how lucky I was to be living that dream. Six months ago, no one really knew who I was. I had a small following. And everything just changed overnight.

This interview has been condensed and edited.