It’s been an amazing year for MTV VJ Ruby Rose, going from relative obscurity to having her sexuality splashed all over the papers in a matter of months. Still, the 22 year old handled it with honesty, strength and maturity, earning the respect of those around her, along with bags of fan mail.
“I think what the public appreciated was the honesty. And the fan mail was a really weird experience given that I’d only been doing the MTV job for a couple of months,” says Ruby. “People were saying, ‘thank you, you’ve made it easier for me to come out to my family’ or ‘you’ve made it easier to tell my friends’. I was really glad that a lot of good came out of it in the end. People liked that I came out straight away and didn’t hide it at all - it sent the message that there is nothing to hide when it comes to sexuality.”
According to Ruby the story hit the press after someone overheard her talking about a girlfriend at a party. “Then suddenly - ‘bang’ - it was in the paper, as one of those ‘guess who, don’t sue’ items. ‘Guess who’s a lesbian?’ When I was asked if it was true I turned around and said ‘yes, yes I am’. If people saw me being written about like that, and saw me obviously not caring about it, then it made them feel more comfortable with themselves. I wouldn’t change anything. I have no regrets.”
While Ruby can be philosophical about the experience now, she admits that it did have its frustrations. “I had a job that I wanted to do and I wanted that to be the reason people were writing articles about me. Although I understand that it doesn’t work like that, that doesn’t sell papers.”
For a few months Ruby was the tabloid it-girl, rumoured to be romantically linked with virtually every woman in town.
“I think it’s relaxed now. I’ve been an MTV VJ for 11 months – I haven’t even been doing this for a year – and only in the last two months have I seen articles written about me that don’t include my sexuality. For a really long time I was reading ‘Ruby Rose – MTV Lesbian’, as though being a lesbian was my job! I felt like I should get business cards made up – ‘Ruby Rose – part-time MTV VJ, full time lesbian’.”
Still, despite all the turmoil, Ruby has described the last year of her life as ‘absolutely extraordinary’.
“If it was a couple of years ago, or if I was in a different country, it could have been a really negative experience, so I’m really blessed. I’m about to go on holidays, so I am mentally, spiritually and physically winding down and it’s allowed me to actually see the last year clearly. All I can say is ‘wow, that’s amazing’. I absolutely didn’t expect it go as quickly and as big as it did. As far as I knew I only got a little job on MTV, I didn’t even have pay TV at the time, so I barely even knew what MTV was when I got the job! To see it all blow up in a way that I didn’t expect was massive.”
When asked about her role models in life, Ruby mentions two strong women – her mother and Madonna.
“Predominantly the person who has inspired me the most has been my mother. I know that probably sounds a bit clichéd, but she had me when she was 20 years old, yet she still managed to go to university and get her masters. I can’t imagine being the age I am now with a two year old. She still managed to become an amazing artist and a teacher and she was a single mum as well. Watching her grow into an extraordinary person has been my biggest inspiration. And when it comes to famous role models, I always had a really big thing for Madonna. I just loved how she kept changing. Madonna’s someone who has the world on her shoulders and she handles it pretty well. And she’s still got that body! I don’t even know a 20 year old with a body as amazing as Madonna’s. And at 50 years old too - well done!”
By Christian Taylor
The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. They are publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders.
For the past two years, the announcement of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians has attracted widespread national media attention and focused on the achievements and influence of a varied and inspirational group of people.