Ruby Rose has two boxing-related tattoos on the right side of her upper back. The first part of the tattoo is a tribute to her godfather Lionel Rose, an accomplished professional boxer who was the first indigenous Australian to win a world boxing title. Lionel passed away in May 2011 at the age of 62. That same month, Ruby visited Adelaide Australia tattoo artist Rhys Paku to get a tribute piece. She got a tattoo on her right shoulder blade of a pair of boxing gloves and a laurel wreath with Lionel’s name at the bottom.
Ruby, whose birth name is Ruby Rose Lagenheim, was named after Lionel Rose but is not biologically related to him. He and her father were close friends. Back in 2012 Lionel’s family stirred up controversy by saying that they hadn’t had any relationship with Ruby since her parents’ divorce and alleging that she was using the name “Rose” to further her own career by association to Lionel. Though it’s true that Ruby didn’t have any contact with Lionel later in her life, she says that seeing him as a young girl had a major impact on her.
“I met Lionel five or six times as a young tacker and he was a huge inspiration to me,” she told the Herald Sun. “I didn’t have a dad. Those trips to Lionel’s, while very few and far between, were everything. We had a crummy life, we didn’t have any money, dad was like `how’s it going?, but Lionel had a real impact on me…He passed away as my godfather. They can’t take that away from me…I love him – and if he’s looking down on me from heaven, I know he would be proud of the things I do.”
One of the thing that Ruby did honor Lionel’s legacy was to train as an amateur boxer herself. In November 2012 she added onto the tattoo with two yellow lightning bolts and “The Thorn” which is her own boxing nickname. She entered a few amateur fights around the time that she got the tattoo, but it seems that since then she’s put her own boxing gloves to rest.