In case you’ve been vacationing under a rock for the past two weeks, “Break Free” is the video you missed on YouTube and must drop everything for right now. It proves that five minutes with no dialogue can still rack up five million views and shake up definitions of what is feminine and masculine.
The writer, producer, and star is Ruby Rose, an Australian model, DJ, and Australian MTV VJ. In the viral aftermath of “Break Free,” Rose gave an interview with Australian News Corp. during which she revealed that she considers herself “gender fluid” and wakes up “everyday sort of gender neutral.” In a recent interview with the Guardian, Rose elaborated on this notion of interchangeable genders: She considers herself anatomically female, but doesn’t feel the need to surgically alter herself to still identify as a boy.
“Yeah, I’m lucky enough to have accepted my body. I’m so comfortable. I feel wonderful about it, but I also fluctuate a lot,” Rose said.
She has spoken candidly about her past struggles with depression. Today, however, she does indeed appear comfortable in her skin. About her new video she said: “No promotion, no lead-up…it was just a self-funded project and it has turned into something I’m very proud of. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support.”
Gender politics has recently become a hot topic in the fashion industry. Andrej PejiÄ‡, formerly billed an “androgynous” male model, announced recently that she underwent sex reassignment surgery earlier this year. And Swedish model Erika Linder modeled as both a man and a woman in the new Crocker campaign.
Rose admitted that the inspiration for her video was getting turned down for a role in an American film because she looked too much like Justin Bieber. Her career prospects have certainly improved since. Last year she played Christina Ricci’s lover in the Australian drama Around the Block. She’s also currently the face of Maybelline NY.
Rose lives in Los Angeles with fiancée Phoebe Dahl, a fashion designer and the granddaughter of beloved author Roald Dahl. She, too, is an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality.
“Break Free” has already received wide acclaim, so if one thing is certain it’s that this Ruby will continue to shine.