The celebrity DJ experiment has gone wrong too many times, but always for the same reasons: lack of actual concern and respect for the rich history of dance music, ostentatious marketing ploys designed to increase self-branding, and, most disconcerting, a lack of genuine talent.
Enter the Melbourne, Australia native Ruby Rose. She’s swept audiences off their feet as the new shining star of Orange Is The New Black, she’s modeled, she’s VJ’d, she’s advocated for social justice issues affecting the LGBT community, and she’s been producing and DJing Dance Music longer than some of our younger and esteemed EDM artists. To say she is multifaceted would be an understatement, and I’m left wondering how a human person can pull off so many talents so successfully and so flawlessly. Perhaps it has to do with a fearlessness derived from defying roles–be they gender, career, or otherwise–that allows her to be whatever the hell she wants to be. Ruby Rose discovered this power early on in life, and, with it, the freedom and unmitigated access to opportunity and success.
In an interview with Access Hollywood, Ruby Rose spoke about this and how she began planning to undergo gender confirmation surgery as early as 5 years old.
“I had this jar that I would collect dollars. In fact, we were so poor it would’ve been cents. So we had, like, 19 cents to go towards this surgery that I really didn’t know a lot about. … I was like, ‘That’s what I’m going to do,’ and so I started saving from probably the age of 5. When I got to 15 is when I kind of started to get more into my body and I shaved my head. … I started to change the way that I dressed and walked, and realized that I didn’t want to transition. I just wanted to be more comfortable in my own skin.”
But let’s make it clear. None of the characteristics shared amongst Celebrity DJs is common to Ruby Rose. Her knowledge of dance runs deep. Her mixes and remixes belie a diverse knowledge of dance music, and she’s empathetic enough to a crowd’s vibe that she’ll adjust her set accordingly (not something you’ll see emanating from celebrity egos dead-set on playing out the iTunes top ten dance list). As a result, Ruby Rose has joined Ash Pournouri’s prestigious PRMD Label and the powerful Connected Artists booking agency. She’s already logged deck time at top tier clubs like PACHA New York, and she has designs to grace stages all over the world.
Good DJ’s share with artists the special ability to remove themselves from the temporal and physical constraints binding them to their earthly dwelling in order to produce whatever art it is they produce. But it seems like Ruby Rose discovered early a secret that has propelled her towards her myriad list of successes. Her early experiences tell us she understood that we are never fully formed, and our concepts of self are always changing. Artists must always push the boundaries and incessantly evaluate their relationship to their art. It is this mysterious fact–that we must constantly take trips beyond our selves–that makes us, ultimately so comfortable with who we are. Perhaps that’s why Ruby Rose likes DJing so much. For a few hours, she gets to help us lose ourselves on the dance floor so that we can return later and know ourselves just a little bit better than we did before. So that we, like her, can be more comfortable in our own skin.
Ruby Rose will be gracing the decks at Exchange LA this Friday Night, 7/17.