Because Orange is the New Black can't really change scenery, the show relies on buzzy guest stars to spice things up at Litchfield. Last year, Lorraine Toussaint's manipulative, vengeful Vee terrorized the inmates with a riveting story line. And now we've got Ruby Rose, who has a lesser role but is still getting lots of attention.
"Orange Is The New Black's newest inmate sends Twitter into meltdown after her steamy naked shower scenes," the Daily Mail raved about Rose, who portrays Stella, the mysterious Aussie criminal who hooks up with Piper. Though Rose was trending on Twitter over the weekend, that headline is pretty misleading (Rose appears briefly nude in the prison bathroom). Still, the Australian model has indeed emerged as the breakout new star of the season.
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How did her star rise so quickly? We'll venture one very simple reason: She made life difficult for Piper. And you should never underestimate how much people dislike Piper (Taylor Schilling), who started out as the series protagonist but turned into the least interesting of all the many characters.
Anyway, Stella endeared herself to viewers right away when she called out the ever-entitled Piper for being ridiculous, as per usual. The pair met in the "Whispers" factory, where the prisoners sew lingerie for 45 cents an hour. When Piper started going on about how lingerie gives her much-needed self-confidence, Stella let out a burst of laughter. Piper looked annoyed.
"You should hear yourself," Stella scoffed. "It's like, 'Help! I'm a skinny hot girl but I need a little something extra to make me feel sexy.'"
"If you knew me, you would definitely know I am not the hot girl," Piper shot back.
Stella continued to mock her: "Help! The burden of my genetic perfection, it's so heavy and so unfair!" When Piper protested that she was a communications and comparative literature major in college, Stella wouldn't back down: "Why do Bettys always go on about how nerdy they really are? It's like, just f***ing own it."
That banter led to the two of them becoming friends and business partners when Piper decided to secretly start a disgusting side gig selling used underwear to fetishists - and then they eventually made out. Sure, Piper was technically cheating on girlfriend Alex, but Piper didn't care: Alex was turning into a real paranoid mess, constantly obsessing over someone in prison trying to kill her. Bor-ing!
In addition to her on-screen role, actress Ruby Rose also has quite a following in real life as a model and VJ from Australia. She has made headlines as being part of the "world's coolest lesbian couple" with her fiancee, Phoebe Dahl (granddaughter of Roald Dahl). Plus, she's frequently mistaken for Justin Bieber. Seriously - it was even referenced in Orange is the New Black when a jealous Alex tells Piper that she's "hanging out with our new friend Justin Bieber" as she chats with Stella.
And if Stella complicated Piper's life in the beginning, she really destroyed things at the end of the season when she stole all of Piper's money from the side business. On the verge of leaving prison, she begged Piper to forgive her - she had only $20 to her name and no family and friends. Not a great thing to do, but something that Piper kind of deserved, especially since she was on an evil power trip all season with the illegal underwear business.
Piper, not having it, wound up framing Stella for having contraband items in her bunk (cigarettes, a screwdriver, a shiv made of Jolly Ranchers), ensuring Stella's in maximum security for a good long time. No word on whether Stella will make a return for the inevitable Season 4, but if she does, there's no doubt that quite a few fans will be rooting her on to bring Piper down. Again: Never underestimate the power of bringing on a new character to do battle with your greatly disliked old one.
Watch the trailer for season 3 of Orange is the New Black: