Step aside, Soso. There's a new inmate at Litchfield, and with her faux hawk haircut and tatted sleeves, she's decidedly more badass than last season's tree-hugging activist. This weekend, Orange Is the New Black's most avid binge-watchers will meet Stella Carlin, an Australian prisoner who's living everybody's worst nightmare: being locked up abroad. Played impeccably by Australian model-slash-actress Ruby Rose, there's been buzz surrounding the part since the Season 3 trailer dropped, where, with a subtle, split-second wink, she sparked Internet rumors of an onscreen romance with Piper. We caught up with Rose at last night's OrangeCon fan event in N.Y.C. to get the lowdown on her new role:
What initially drew you to the show?
Honestly, I don’t think there’s a working or non-working actor in the world who wouldn’t take up an opportunity to be on Orange Is the New Black. It’s so well-written and well-cast. It’s magic. But when I got asked to audition for Stella, and I read a little bit about her, I was like, “I relate to this character. I feel like she needs to be on TV.”
How do you identify with Stella specifically?
There’s something very unique about being an out, gay woman playing a gay character, because there are kids that are tuning in looking for someone they can relate to, and it’s nice that that person is the same onscreen and off. They won’t find out she’s married with four kids in real life, because I’m not. I really am like her, and them.
What's it like being the new inmate at Litchfield?
Great! I feel like it should feel more nerve-wracking, but maybe it hasn’t hit me yet. Everyone’s been so supportive, and the fans are obviously amazing.
Was there a special welcoming ritual with the cast? Did you have to DIY hooch?
It was very satanic… animals were sacrificed [laughs]. No. They literally opened their arms to me like I had been on the show the last two seasons. I really couldn’t have asked for any more from my co-stars. I don’t remember my life before I met these people. They’re like family.
Have you developed a special kinship with Yael Stone, seeing as she's a fellow Aussie?
As an Australian, I feel like it’s my duty to know who’s Aussie, but I had no idea she was. I literally sat at home being like, “Isn’t that sweet? They gave that poor little Jersey girl with a really strong accent a job! She could probably have never gotten a job on a show like this.” And then I meet her, and I’m like, “You’ve got to be shi**ing me.” And she looks at me and goes, “You got to keep your accent? Really?” I’m obsessed with her, though. Having another Aussie on set is amazing.
How does it feel playing the other woman in a love triangle?
In real life, I would not be daring enough to get between Alex and Piper. I was such an advocate for that relationship to work, and then they throw me into the storyline, and it’s like, “What are you doing? I’m a fan of that relationship!” I think it definitely spices things up. It was a lot of fun to play that role.