ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

There's been a lot of hubbub surrounding the addition of Australian model/actress/DJ Ruby Rose to Orange Is the New Black Season 3. This is no surprise. She has a certain celebrity status, and an air of genuine style and glamour that Orange is the New Black is yet to see. I'm not saying that Orange is the New Black can't be stylish, but Ruby Rose embodies a sense of real life cool that a drama about a women's prison just isn't used to.

So let's get this straight. Ruby Rose is really cool. Like intimidatingly cool, and whose sheer appearance in trailers is enough to set fans speculating wildly. She doesn't even have the recognisability of half the celebrities they could have cast in Season 3, and yet she has an aura that seems to tell you Orange is the New Black is changing for the better!

Her tattoos either say lust or just. Both cool!
Her tattoos either say lust or just. Both cool!

Those tattoos are real too! They aren't just dressing to make the character of Stella Carlin appear more believable in this new setting. I was initially sceptical about how a character with such obvious appeal to the outside world could be introduced into such a harsh and realistic environment. It seems, however, that before Orange is the New Black is even broadcast, Ruby Rose as Stella Carlin is a hit. Part of me hopes she's done something really terrible to get into prison, though given that Litchfield is low-security, that probably won't be the case.

The best thing about Ruby Rose's use in Orange is the New Black Season 3 is that she's there to rile up character relations, rather than be window-dressing. Stella Carlin will allegedly be part of a love triangle with Piper and Alex, in which case, oh boy I'm wondering where that will take things! Ruby Rose's presence in Orange is the New Black has been more than well received, so why did the actress ever refer to the show as "a failure"?

It has women writers, directors and producers; it's about women in prison. Everything about it had failure written on it.

It's actually strange to hear an actress with the style and prestige of Ruby Rose talk like this about a show as confident and celebratory as Orange is the New Black. I'm quite sure Ruby Rose doesn't hold these doubts anymore, given the fact that Orange is the New Black is now in Season 3 and is one of Netflix's flagship shows. It is, however, important to question just why she would presume the show to be destined for failure.

It's a very sad world we live in if a show created by and starring mostly women is doomed to fail. It clearly isn't true, given the legacy started by Sex and the City, and carried on to this day by Girls. Though those shows include predominantly straight women. Could a show with an entirely lesbian cast have the deck stacked against it? Well, shows like The L Word partially speak against that. What about a show that presented lesbian sex not as something titillating (at least not towards a heteronormative male audience)? A show like Orange is the New Black.

This used to be the most feminist thing on TV...
This used to be the most feminist thing on TV...

Ruby Rose has spoken out about growing up around hostility and ostracisation towards gay women, and may well have carried those doubts with her when Orange is the New Black was first green-lit. Luckily, with the emergence of Season 3, Ruby Rose is now part of a TV phenomenon that transcends gender and sexuality. By it's success alone, Orange is the New Black stands as proof of why straight, white, and male, aren't factors of a show that guarantee a resonance with audiences.

With how popular she's proving with fans, it seems Ruby Rose is to be part of a new era of liquidating demographics, and moving towards genuine diversity in television.

Orange is the New Black Season 3 premieres June 12th!


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