Ruby Rose Explains the Secret to Making Your Look More Androgynous


Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Here at Byrdie, we know that beauty is way more than braid tutorials and mascara reviews. Beauty is identity. Our hair, our facial features, our bodies: They can reflect culture, sexuality, race, even politics. We needed somewhere on Byrdie to talk about this stuff, so... welcome to The Flipside (as in the flipside of beauty, of course!), a dedicated place for unique, personal, and unexpected stories that challenge our society's definition of "beauty." Here, you'll find cool interviews with LGBTQ+ celebrities, vulnerable essays about beauty standards and cultural identity, feminist meditations on everything from thigh brows to eyebrows, and more. The ideas our writers are exploring here are new, so we'd love for you, our savvy readers, to participate in the conversation, too. Be sure to comment your thoughts (and share them on social media with the hashtag #TheFlipsideOfBeauty). Because here, on The Flipside, everybody gets to be heard.



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Right up there with Prince and Patti Smith, Ruby Rose has established herself as one of history's most admired androgynous icons. The tattoo-clad performer and model first flashed on our radar back in 2014 with Break Free, a stirringly beautiful short film she created to challenge the gender spectrum. (If you haven't seen it, do your consciousness a favor and watch.) Then, as we know, Rose's one-season turn on Orange Is the New Black as the lawbreaking Stella Carlin had women, men, and everyone in between developing simultaneous crushes—if for no other reason than her badass (and universally alluring) aesthetic.

What makes Rose's look so unique is that she plays with gender presentation every time we see her, unafraid to flout expectations from mainstream society or anyone. When I met Rose at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles to interview her for Urban Decay's new Jean-Michel Basquiat collection (Rose has been one of the brand's spokespeople for a year), I was expecting to see her in something like a tuxedo and minimal makeup. Instead, I was met with a sheer black ensemble, slicked-back hair, and a neon smoky eye. At every turn, Rose proves that a person can have a crew cut and an affinity for makeup without being a contradiction.

Importantly, this has given those of us who don't feel comfortable sticking to a traditionally feminine (or masculine) aesthetic all the time someone to look up to. So when I was given the chance to sit down with Rose, I only really had one question for her: How can the rest of us be more like you? In other words, if someone is curious about exploring a less femme aesthetic for the first time, how can they proceed? Fortunately, Rose was game to reveal her starter kit for androgynous beauty. Keep scrolling to learn how.