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September 10, 2019

In Emmy Magazine Ruby Rose Talks Making History as the First Gay Live-Action Superhero Lead in Batwoman

Ruby Rose's new role as Kate Kane in Batwoman is a match made in comic book heaven. Between identical tattoos, a love of bats and superhuman confidence, the two women have a lot in common. In advance of the series premiere, emmy talks to the actress about her own hero's journey and making history in the first live-action television series with a gay superhero lead.

The award-winning official publication of the Television Academy hits newsstands Sept. 10.

It's clear that Ruby Rose was destined to play Kate Kane in the CW's Batwoman, premiering Oct. 6. "My mum would rescue injured bats ... she loved them," says the former model. "She's had a little Batman tattoo since she was in her twenties, and I used to have bat wings that she made out of cardboard." Rose herself was literally marked for the role, as she shares a tattoo worn by the comic book character.

In cover story "Destiny, Manifest," Rose shares memories of her early days as an MTV VJ in her native Australia and recounts the catalyst for her five-minute, self-produced short film Break Free, representing the spectrum of gender. Shot in one day for $3,000, the film went viral on social media and led to her big break: casting director Jennifer Euston saw it online and invited her to audition for a role in the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black. "That was my favorite show of all time," Rose says. "To get a role in that was crazy. Orange opened up everything."

Rumors had spread of Rose playing the female counter of Bruce Wayne before she even auditioned for the part. When she did finally sit down with executive producer Sarah Schechter and showrunner Caroline Dries, Rose was struck by the passion they both had for the show. "Sarah and Caroline would finish each other's sentences. It's this ping-pong match, and I'm like, 'These guys are so excited—now I'm so excited!' The story was really interesting and way more intense than I expected it to be."

While Dries once thought it would be possible to cast a straight actor in the historic part, she soon realized that Rose was "born for the role." "After we cast Ruby, I was like, 'Thank God; we got a lesbian,'" says Dries. "Her being out and so comfortable is part of what makes her pop in general and what makes her pop as an actor." But initially, not everybody was a fan of the casting. Rose's comments about fitting on a "genderless spectrum" left some members of the queer community questioning her ability to play a lesbian. "I identify as a woman; but I don't like any of the labels, to be perfectly honest," explains Rose. "I just want everyone to be human, be accepted for being human. I think eventually that will be what happens."

On set in Vancouver, one of Rose's greatest challenges was having to display so much emotion on camera. "I'd rather do 20 hours of stunts, because that's a different kind of exhaustion," she says. Despite the emotional toll, Rose is grateful for the opportunity: "I said to Caroline, 'Thank you for giving me a character that has so much depth and vulnerability and for giving me these emotional scenes.'"

Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:

  • In "The Contender," emmy explores the overnight streaming sensation, DAZN (pronounced "da zone"), which is shaking up the pay-per-view model while creating a foothold in sports broadcasting.
  • Helen Mirren is no stranger to playing powerful, historic women. In "Isn't It Grand," emmy talks to the celebrated actress about her ambitious role in HBO's Catherine The Great and the challenges of portraying one of history's most liberal females.
  • Emmy talks to Jill Soloway, creator and executive producer of Amazon's Transparent, about the show's musical finale. In "The Big Finish," Soloway shares how using song and dance rather than dialogue was "more expressive, more visceral and more intimate."

About emmy
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. It showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make TV happen, from the stars of top shows to the pros behind the cameras, covering programming trends and advances in technology. Honored consistently for excellence, emmy is a six-time Maggie Award winner as Best Trade Publication in Communications or the Arts and has collected 52 Maggies from the Western Publishing Association. Emmy is available on selected newsstands and at for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.

Download the press release here.

For issue/coverage contacts:
Carla Schalman

Stephanie Goodell

breakwhitelight for the Television Academy

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