Ruby Rose on coming out, queer formals, and her posts about The Veronicas
28th February 2023

By her own admission, Ruby Rose was a tough teenager. The 36-year-old actor, model and DJ came out when she was just 12. “I was very gutsy,” she says. Rose isn’t exactly sure where that confidence came from – she says she didn’t have any role models in her family or in the media – but the alternative of staying closeted wasn’t an option.

“It was more important to come out and risk being ostracised or isolated, or be bullied and have less friends. That to me seemed like a lesser risk than keeping it inside,” she says after arriving back in Sydney.

After five years away, Rose is back in Australia to partner with charity Minus18 and Hilton on an initiative that provides formals for LGBTQIA+ youth.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Rose also addressed a series of Instagram stories she posted last month suggesting she’d unveil the truth about Australian singers The Veronicas in her upcoming memoir (Rose dated one half of the duo, Jessica Origliasso for almost two years).

“I was trying to do too many things at once and had a triggered night and posted on Instagram, regretfully, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing,” she says. She had been filming her upcoming film Dirty Angels, in which she plays an American soldier in Afghanistan, when she made the post.

“We all know now not to write traumatic books while shooting traumatic films.”

After five years, Rose has returned to Australia to announce her partnership with charity Minus18 and Hilton hotels on an initiative that provides formals for LGBTQIA+ youth. While Minus18 has been hosting rainbow formals for more than a decade, they hope this partnership with Hilton and Rose will bring in greater attention and funding to roll out the events on a larger scale.

“Formals are a rite of passage and have been a tradition for teenagers for decades and decades,” says Minus18’s CEO Micah Scott, but LGBTQIA+ youth don’t always feel comfortable going to their school formal.

“At our Queer Formals, where there are crowds of 500 to 800 queer youth, it’s the first time people attending are in a room of people just like them.” Hilton is providing funding but also offering up the hotel to host a fundraising gala on Wednesday night.

Rose herself is an alum of Minus18, who started attending their events at 12 after seeing an ad in the paper. “I went by myself and I walked in, and it was the first time I felt completely free and safe to be who I was.”

Rose, who has spoken previously about the intense bullying she experienced in school, says she constructed a kind of armour in this time as a survival mechanism. This manifested itself in part through her physical appearance – she shaved her head and got her first tattoo at 16.

But she admits that this form of self-protection was also a means of avoiding parts of herself. “It was a little bit of, ‘I need to say who I am, I need to be honest and within my truth, but that’s a little bit scary. So I’m also going to armour up and make sure that I look strong’.”

“I’ve spent quite a significant amount of years now removing each piece of that armour that doesn’t serve me anymore, because you get so armoured up that people can’t get in and you can’t really even get out.”

She’s currently working on the memoir, which has been a way of taking off that armour and tapping into a more vulnerable part of herself. “I’m a lot more private and sensitive than I think people know, because I’ve always had that guard up.”

She’s adamant that her memoir is not a gossip book or a tell-all. “I want this book to be a little bit of what I’ve been through and what I learned from that, and what I feel like might be able to help somebody else who’s gone through something similar or is going through a tough time.”

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