Female action heroes may sadly be few and far between, but every now and then a new face enters the frame. Enter former model Ruby Rose, who in the past two years has transitioned from MTV presenter to Hollywood’s go-to female action star.
With a recurring role in Netflix hit Orange Is the New Black providing the bedrock for Rose’s ascent, her latest roles in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage and John Wick: Chapter 2 have all demanded an almost superhuman level of intense physical training – hitting the gym hard in order to attain a physique worthy of the most explosive thrillers Tinseltown has to offer. As the star herself posted on her Instagram account – which is filled with images of Rose working out, from strength circuits to axe-throwing – “Action films equal forced training.”
“It’s my everyday routine, especially cardio and weights – it’s just like brushing my teeth,” she says of her morning workout. “And you can’t beat that feeling after hitting the gym!”
The slender ex-catwalk model is almost as effusive about food as she is the after-gym glow. An herbivore in the main – “I’ll eat fish sometimes if I need to get my protein up or there isn’t a vegetarian option” – Rose is committed to steering clear of any kind of strict diet or food fad. After all, if she eats too much one day, she’ll just “work out even harder the next.”
One thing Rose is partial to, however, is supplements – boasting a vitamin collection that reaches into the fifties. Her daily dosage includes zinc, magnesium and vitamin C – and the occasional Echinacea if she’s feeling under the weather.
Fortunately for Rose, when it comes to staying fighting-fit her latest projects have seen her working with some of the great and the good of the biggest action franchises, including Keanu Reeves –
“hell yes!” – as well as “queen of action” Milla Jovovich and, of course, Vin Diesel himself.
“Vin is like my big brother. He’s my best friend. He’s my fake boyfriend. I love that man so much, I can’t even tell you,” the 30-year-old gushes. “And the irony is that I idolised him watching the first xXx, the first Fast and Furious… he was smooth and charismatic and did these mind-blowing stunts and he had this amazing smile. He was just the coolest guy to me – and now here we are, best friends.”
Rose and Diesel aren’t just best mates – she also credits her muscle-bound male co-star with providing the perfect inspiration in the gym. After all, as Melbourne-born Rose explains, it’s much easier to get “so ripped” quicker when you’re actively competing with Xander Cage himself.
Her inclusion in xXx as sharpshooter Adele Wolff required her to focus on strength training – be it for a scene in which she was expected to climb a tree using “just silk ropes, after 10 hours plus of shooting the day before” or the regular physical exertion of having to carry Wolff’s signature sniper rifle.
“That was such a weird territory for me to be tackling because I am completely gun-shy,” Rose reveals. “I only touched a gun for the first time when I started doing films and then all of a sudden, I’m doing six weeks of sniper training and hauling around these huge insane weapons! But it’s such a powerful tool to pull you into character and I almost had to have that because these are people who couldn’t be further from me.”
Hot on the heels of appearing alongside Diesel’s extreme secret agent, Rose was plunged straight into the “very dark and stylised, assassin-centric” sequel to 2014’s sleeper hit, John Wick. While xXx gave Rose the chance to flex her burgeoning abilities as a fearless stunt woman – “My agent was like, ‘Why do you keep agreeing to these insane acts of lunacy?’” she laughs, “and I’m like, ‘They’re not asking me, I’m begging them to do it!” – John Wick: Chapter 2 sees Rose’s character Ares face off against Keanu Reeves’ Wick in a number of fast-paced and brutal hand-to-hand fights.
Playing to her strengths, Rose’s background in boxing, martial arts and kickboxing comes to the fore. Having won in a charity bout against lightweight Yi Sia after just three months of training in 2012, the actress had an ace up her sleeve in the form of Patrick Murphy, the LA-based trainer to the stars.
In order to build core and leg muscle endurance, as well as Rose’s cardio strength, Murphy put her on a routine of triple-threat moves that comprised mountain climbers, scissors and frog jumps to maximise the effect on her entire body.
But despite her newest project being a horror-thriller named Meg alongside Jason Statham and a 70-foot prehistoric shark, Rose is tentative about taking on the mantle of the silver screen’s newest action queen in the mould of Jovovich or Kate Beckinsale.
“If people are calling me that, I am beyond humbled and also at pains to convey I should be so lucky,” she says. “You know, I idolised Vin, wanted to do what he got to do with these set pieces and action sequences, and now I’m getting to do all that, or at least get a taste of what that’s like. It’s been my dream and I’m going to take these opportunities with both hands.”
“But I am also conscious of the fact that I don’t want to be pigeonholed, especially this early on because I’m only a newbie really and that wouldn’t make sense. After doing Orange, I want to do more drama but then I also want to do a comedy. I want to experience as many genres as I can, because I want to show that there’s more to me than guns and tattoos and stunts.”