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Ruby Rose Opens Up About Her Androgynous Personal Style

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Photo: Courtesy of Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren.
Even if you're not an Orange Is the New Black fan, chances are high that you've stumbled across Ruby Rose's name: the Aussie actress and model was the fifth most searched person on Google in 2015 (coming in right after Donald Trump, for context), and the most googled actress of the year. You'll probably spot Rose on billboards and in glossies soon — she's one of the faces of Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren's new campaign, out today — and you'll certainly be seeing more of her in the multiplex this year and next. Rose spoke with Refinery29 about the campaign, androgyny in fashion, and why gender-fluid role models really do matter.

Your look in the campaign is quite androgynous. Did you have much input in terms of the styling?
"I chose all of the looks, and we had an amazing stylist there as well. She chose 20 to 30 of the most Ruby Rose-type looks, and we narrowed it down from there. They’re strong looks I’d actually wear in my real life. Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply does do a lot of denim and edgy things, but they also do dresses and skirts — things that I’m less likely to wear. That’s why there are amazing models like Hailey Baldwin in the campaign, to wear those beautiful dresses."

How has clothing helped reinforce your sexual identity?

"I’ve always been a tomboy, and been gender-fluid; I have days where I dress more femininely, and then there are days where I’ll dress with a masculine vibe. It’s what I’ve always done, but now I can understand why I’m doing it more. Before, [when I’d dress androgynously] people on the street would say, 'Oh, you’re dressed like a dude!' — I would get confused, and it would kind of get to me. We’re now breaking down those barriers; that includes brands like Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply allowing a female spokesperson to dress the way [I do] — androgynously.

"Dressing the way I dress, and the androgynous look, doesn’t really have to do with sexuality — a lot of heterosexual women dress androgynously, and straight guys can dress femininely. Those boundaries in fashion are slowly being broken down; regardless of who you are, it’s about dressing for what you want to express. I’m allowing myself to dress how I want to, based on my identity, not based on how people want or think I should dress. That has made me happy, true to myself, and confident."
Photo: Courtesy of Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren.
What are your thoughts on gender fluidity becoming a major conversation in the fashion industry these days?
"I think it’s great. In some fashion campaigns, [gender fluidity] has been done before, but now boundaries are being broken down in a much bigger way. Whether it’s in fashion or film, there’s a big social impact: Jenji Kohan did a really massive thing by casting a transgender woman [Laverne Cox] to play a transgender woman in Orange Is the New Black. Transparent definitely sparked a conversation, too. Then, there are different celebrities that have come out as gender-fluid."

What's the impact?
"The reason this is important isn’t for people my age and older; it’s really about the younger generation. They’re less secure themselves and why they look or feel a certain way — they look everywhere to find identity and normalcy somewhere. If a boy wants to wear dresses and doesn’t understand why he wants to do that, it’s great to have role models like Jaden Smith doing that, being comfortable doing that, and looking good doing it. We have girls that want to dress like boys: What does that mean? They can feel confused and heartbroken, and on top of that, be bullied for what they’re wearing. The more we make [gender fluidity] mainstream, and the more this conversation continues and happens everywhere — that’s how a younger generation can be whomever they want to be. It’s freeing."
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