Orange Is the New Black‘s new inmate: Sex symbol or LGBT statement?

Ruby Rose is set to don an orange jumpsuit and join the cast of the Netflix original, Orange Is the New Black. If you didn’t know this already – where have you been hiding?

The Australian actress, DJ and model is set to hit our screens as inmate Stella Carlin in the third season of the acclaimed US show.

Stella is set to rustle a few feathers as the love interest of characters Alex Vause and Piper Chapman at Litchfield penitentiary.

Rose herself is openly gay and came out at the age of twelve. She is an active campaigner and recently featured in viral hit Break Free which gained her status as a LGBT icon.

The internet has, in typical fashion, gone hysterical at the arrival of the latest inmate. Many are praising the decision to cast Rose, a proud lesbian, playing a lesbian on the hit TV show. However, let’s not forget – she isn’t the first. There are multiple female characters in the show that are already played by gay or transgender people.

Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset, Lea DeLaria, who plays Big Boo, and Samira Wiley, who plays Poussey Washington, are all flying the flag for gay women. So, is the hype really about the casting of Ruby Rose, a gay woman gaining the exposure that the LGBT community deserves in the media, or is it that there is a conventionally attractive girl playing the role of a ‘sexy lesbian’ on our tellies?

There is no denying that Ruby Rose is the obvious choice for the role as Chapman and Vause’s love interest. However, does it come down to appealing to a wider male audience?

Rose had previously posed for lads’ mag FHM, she was the first lesbian to feature on the Australian cover, but some questioned her decision.

Asked why a gay woman would wish to pose for a lads’ mag. Rose has explained previously that she read the magazine growing up and feels there is an undiscovered female readership to such magazines. Yet the majority of the readership is… straight men.

The casting of Rose in OITNB may not be an attempt to pull in a larger more heterosexual male audience. But hey, I’m sure it won’t drive them away. For those that have an understanding of the work of the incredible Ruby Rose you will know she is much more than a pretty face, that is plain to see. Let’s celebrate all of these women for the courage and power they are displaying as high profile women in the LGBT community. Not as sex objects.

The third season of Orange Is The New Black is currently still being filmed and will likely hit Netflix late 2015.


Featured image: Michael_Spencer via Flickr