Ruby Rose: A rose by any other name...
Wed 21st Jan, 2009 Lifestylein
She is a strong woman, slick as a glam rock chick for the noughties as she silently proclaims her individual style with an 8-tattoo sleeve on her right arm. She is a tender yet edgy feminine character of the post-MTV generation, blessed with plenty of street smarts, enclosed in a refuge of inscrutability and bound by an arresting allure; Ruby Rose, the gemstone of MTV.
As a VJ and public figure of the 15-seconds-of–fame era, Ruby Rose holds an in-demand seat, interviewing famed and musical luminaries like Cyprus Hill, while rubbing shoulders with Sex And The City’s Chris “Mr Big” North, celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson, Nicholas Cage and, ahem, The Veronicas. However, in a world obsessed with sex and image much media conjecture has been gratuitously focused on this budding ingénue’s sexuality and looks. As with most prominent feminine characters, sexuality is the most direct method of “putting one in one’s place”. The many interesting features that form the charm of Ruby Rose, unfortunately, fall to the wayside as a result, hidden behind the stigmas attached to the modelling industry and rumours of romance with female stars of Australia’s music scene. Such unrestricted speculation had Ruby Rose stripped and laid bare before the public eye. Yet despite this, an ostensibly carefree Rose has stood firm.
If ever there was a syllabus in ‘Becoming an MTV VJ’, perhaps Ruby Rose’s life experiences would serve as the ideal prospectus. The enigma surrounding Rose starts with the vivid figures that colour her life. As her father’s best friend, boxing legend Lionel Rose is Ruby’s god father – and the inspiration behind the boxing gloves featured amidst the tattoos of crosses, a dove and koi fish adorning her body. She is also the great granddaughter of the last surviving ANZAC Alec Campbell. In light of these larger-than-life characters, no doubt Ruby has felt the need to push herself to follow her dreams. She lived with her single mother, somewhat as a gypsy; growing up all over Australia – rural Victoria, Tasmania, then Surfers Paradise, “all before I was six” – until she settled in Melbourne.
Born and bred on a diet of rock, Madonna, Sinead O’Conner and Meat Loaf, the young Ruby Langenheim would fall asleep to Guns n’Roses’ Sweet Child O’Mine. A self confessed “80s pop and rock tragic”, Ruby also cites her tastes as including “dirty electro, electro pop and house.” She’s a self-proclaimed rock star-wannabe who can’t play an instrument, but Ruby has nevertheless managed to acquire quite a collection of guitars. Her modelling experience started at the age of 9, leading to a lucrative livelihood in the field which saw her take second place in the 2002 Girlfriend Model Search at 16 years of age. She has also studied acting at Melbourne’s prestigious Victorian College of Arts, and her experience as the doorhost for celebrated live venue The Evelyn Hotel served as the perfect entrée in observing the rock star life – where even an encounter with famed Hamish and Andy remains the stuff of Melbourne urban legend.
When the coveted role of MTV VJ came up, Ruby Rose was right in there with the 2000 other entrants, determined to follow the chance through to the end. With tasks set by Jackass’ Bam Margera, including smashing TVs, skateboarding dressed as a koala, kissing strangers and drinking 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes, Ruby Rose emerged triumphant with her distinctive look and character, varied love for music, and an intuitive understanding of working the lens. Of her experience in getting to MTV Ruby notes, “it has been amazing. I mean, it was just the best opportunity from the get-go and I have fun everyday.” Certainly her job as an MTV VJ is an enviable position. Asked to define what a VJ is, Ruby’s wit reveals that she may “play videos like a DJ or I ride videos like horses.” Still, Ruby is exposed to a varied range of music from her position, and can see Australia’s place in the international musical arena. “I really only know the US and UK well,” Ruby says of her observations. “Though France, Germany and Greece have amazing music. I think we have great up-and-coming acts – Grafton Primary, British India and TZU to name a few.” She notes that established acts like Sneaky Sound System and Sia are also examples of great Australian talent.
“Days are ever changing in this industry,” she asserts. “I could be interviewing a musician, filming my show, doing the MTV news, MCing an event or DJing.” Indeed, Ruby Rose has been called upon to perform many a task, from interviewing Cyprus Hill, to maintaining her gruelling schedule with MTV, or even featuring as the presenter for the 2008 Sony inthemix50 Awards; an assignment she notes “was great. tyDi was a real sweetheart – I’m so glad he won. The crowd was cool, but you never know with these cool kids – if they will laugh… or throw things. It went well,” she reminisces. Her VJing has seen her travel the globe, working alongside VJ colleague Darren McMullen, while her DJ skills have taken her around various parts of the country. She has an upcoming gig at I Love Sundaes on January 25 at Fisherman’s Wharf on the Gold Coast, flanking Rasmus Faber, ADAM Baby, Timmy Trumpet, tyDi, Baby Gee and Don Nadi. This will see Ruby perform before a massive Gold Coast crowd, keen to celebrate Australia Day. Certainly, a day in the life of Ruby Rose seems tumultuous, but she manages to keep time for herself, ensuring that she will “always walk my dog and always grab a coffee before 10am. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.”
Having hit such a pinnacle already, one wonders what challenges are left in order for this still youthful rose to grow and mature. Certainly, handling the very public limelight on her sexuality and looks will forever be a task in itself, but Ruby is conscious of the need to develop as a person. With spirituality a key aspect to her personality, Ruby notes “everything I do is done in a certain way which pertains to my personality and spirit. It’s not a conscious thing of course but it is evident in all the small details.“ Certainly, her dignified composure whilst dealing with the media and their outrageous remarks was apparent. But it is her compassion sparked from her spiritual nature that is disclosed when she notes; “I want to highlight and bring attention to everything that isn’t being a celebrity. Like my trip to Kenya will highlight the Global Vision foundation and their amazing work. It is a strange world we live in when a lot of people listen to celebrities more than the founders and creators of these organisations that are changing lives daily,” Ruby remarks. “I am doing the standard trip to Kenya where you teach English and help with community projects. I applied like a normal person, and not as a celebrity.”
Although Ruby’s 6” height could easily keep her head in the clouds, it may well be her quiet strength that keeps her feet on the ground. Ruby remarks that she is in TV and not necessarily saving lives – though with such a statement, one must think she hasn’t watched much free-to-air lately. Ruby articulates that her experience to date means she has been taught many lessons. “I guess I have learnt that it is important to keep some things sacred.” In spite of the cast upon what apparently happens behind her bedroom door, Ruby has managed to stay strong and true to herself – a depth no doubt fostered from a strong upbringing thanks to her single mother and an acceptance of who she is by herself, her parents and her family. “If you want to succeed you must never stop learning, never stop trying and just keep being yourself,” Ruby writes on her MySpace page. “You are your own person. You make the choices in life that effect you.”
If you’re on the Gold Coast you can catch Ruby Rose at I Love Sundaes, January 25th. If you’d like to see her in action at the 2008 Sony inthemix50 Awards, check out the video of the big night here!