PROUDLY gender-fluid, with boyish short hair and more than 100 in-your-face body tattoos, she is not your regular Hollywood leading lady.

The looks do not lie, either. Aussie actress Ruby Rose has just been named as the first lesbian Batwoman — but her rise from humble roots riven with poverty, violence and incest has been a feat of superhero proportions.

Fame and fortune did not come easy to the Melbourne-born beauty. While other eager wannabes hot-housed their way through drama school, Ruby’s star was born in the school of hard knocks.

She spent her childhood on the run with a penniless artist mum, pillar to post and hand to mouth, to escape the menace of her abusive dad.

Now, at 32, gay icon Ruby has it good. Very good. She is making a splash in shark movie The Meg — and braced for Batwoman TV fame.

The announcement that she will play superhero alter ego Kate Kane — who has been openly gay in the comic books since 2006 — has stirred such hateful trolling on social media that she has been forced to delete her Twitter account.

She was not talented enough, or lesbian enough, or Jewish like her character, the hate mob shrieked.

But feisty Ruby has been open about her sexuality since coming out at age 12, and suffered the cruel taunts of schoolyard bullies who even landed her in hospital with a beating.

She has since dated many women, and in 2014 got engaged to kids’ author Roald Dahl’s fashion designer grandaughter Phoebe — only for the pair to call it off the next year after blaming too much time apart due to work schedules.

Now Ruby — who first found acting fame in Netflix lesbian jailhouse drama series Orange Is The New Black — sees playing the first openly gay superhero lead as a childhood dream come true.

She says: “The Bat is out of the bag and I am beyond thrilled and honoured.

“This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on TV and felt alone and different. Thank you, everyone. Thank you God.”

Ruby is proud of her gender fluidity — a term used by people who feel they are not a fixed gender.

But for a time she wanted to become male. Every day she would wake up wishing she was a boy and tried to save to undergo a Ł15,000 gender change. She said: “We were so poor growing up but every time I would find five cents or some spare money, I would put it in this fund to have a sex change.”

Now she is glad she did not undergo the life-changing surgery because she wants to have children “one day”.

Instead, she channels her gender fluidity through her androgynous cropped hair — a style she discovered when she got into the world of modelling in her teens.

She says: “I remember being at a restaurant with my dad and the owner coming up and saying, ‘Excuse me, we’re trying to work out if you’re a handsome boy or a beautiful girl?’

“It was a compliment and I was shocked, and when I thought about it I actually wanted to be a handsome boy.

“Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you’re at one end of the spectrum or the other. I’m somewhere in the middle, which in my perfect imagination is like having the best of both sexes.”

When it comes to relationships, Ruby tells how she is very confident and “in tune with her sexuality”.

Before her romance with Sophie Dahl she was engaged to Aussie model Catherine McNeil for a year. They split in 2010.

Ruby has also been linked to singer Jess Origliasso — one half of Aussie pop duo The Veronicas with her sister Jessica — and is rumoured to have had a fling with US singer Demi Lovato.

She adds: “I have a very healthy sex life. There’s something empowering, strong and feminist about being open and comfortable in that world.

“I’ve always wanted to write a book about my high-school experience so that kids going through similar things that I did would have something tangible to read and feel like they weren’t alone.”

On winning Favourite Female Personality at the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Awards in 2009, Ruby dedicated the honour to her mum Katia, and said: “To all those girls who bullied me in high school, where are you now?”

Life was tough for the young Ruby and her mum as they moved around Australia and Tasmania before settling in Melbourne.

She says: “We had no money and my dad was not really a good person. Mum got out of there for my safety.”

Desperate to survive, Ruby tells how her mother stole and pawned a television to pay for plane tickets to get to her sister’s house in Queensland.

She recalls: “When we rocked up to the front door we were malnourished. My mum had two black eyes and I was like one of those kids in scary movies who are dirty and bite people.

“It was just us against the world for a long time. My mother is the first one to say that she wasn’t perfect, but everything she did was to the best of her ability, in the hope that she would raise the best daughter she could.”

Ruby has also told how was she was sexually abused as a child by a family member and is still haunted by that trauma to this day.

She says: “I was getting suicidal thoughts when I shouldn’t have even known what suicide was. My past involved incestuous sexual abuse and a turbulent home life which was not always safe.”

Her luck began to change in 2002, when she came second in Aussie teen girls’ mag Girlfriend’s annual model search contest.

On the back of that she landed several lucrative modelling deals and appeared in Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Maxim magazines. She is currently the face of Urban Decay cosmetics and fronted jewellery giant Swarovski’s Urban Fantasy campaign in May last year.

She has also presented Australia’s Next Top Model and MTV Australia.

But her big acting break came in 2015, when she landed the role of inmate Stella Carlin in Orange Is The New Black.

Since then, her movie credits include Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, comedy Pitch Perfect 3, xXx: Return Of Xander Cage as well as The Meg.

She lines up alongside Jason Statham in sci-fi thriller The Meg, which sees a giant beast of the deep attack a submersible, leaving it disabled and the crew trapped at the bottom of the Pacific.

Ruby plays engineer Jaxx in the film, now out in the UK, and says: “She’s a cool character because she doesn’t necessarily look like how you’d expect an engineer to look.”

But her upcoming Batwoman outing will see her make even greater waves.

In the 1950s, Kate Kane was first introduced as a love interest for Batman. In 2006 she was then reinvented by DC Comics as a lesbian to make her more inclusive.

Now, gender-fluid Ruby seems the perfect fit for the character’s latest TV incarnation which will air on America’s CW Network and is expected to be broadcast late next year or in early 2020.

One of the show’s writers posted on Twitter that it had “struck gold” with Ruby.

She adds of her role: “It’s a game-changer. I found out an hour before I did the premiere for The Meg — and I was so nervous doing the red carpet so I basically skipped everybody because I kept spontaneously crying.”

Gay crusaders

BATWOMAN isn’t the only comic book hero to have come out as gay or at least had some same-sex romance.

Here we look at six others.

Green Lantern
FIRST character Alan Scott appeared in 1940 and came out in 2012.

Formerly a married dad, he kisses his boyfriend in 2012’s Earth 2 comic.

Writer James Robinson says: “If there’s some kid out there worried about the person he is, maybe it will give him a positive sense of who he is.”

Wonder Woman
COMIC writer Greg Rucka confirmed Wonder Woman’s bisexuality in 2016.

“Nobody at DC has ever said, ‘She’s gotta be straight’,” he says of the superhero.

Her alter ego is Princess Diana of Themyscira, whose home nation is a utopia where only women reside.

THE mutant kissed Hercules in a 2013 issue of Marvel’s X-Treme X-Men, where familiar characters live an alternate life in a parallel universe.

The pair say: “We were our world’s heroes . . .  and the day we slew the worst monster who ever threatened the Dominion of Canada . . .  we revealed our love.”

THE 39th issue of Catwoman, in 2015, revealed her as bisexual. Catwoman, real name Selina Kyle, has been involved with Batman before but kisses a woman named Eiko in this issue.

Writer Genevieve Valentine says: “It’s no surprise to Selina that she has an attraction to a woman.”

THIS raunchy fella does not limit his sexual preferences for men or women.

The “pansexual” superhero flirts with anyone and anything, making no distinction between genders or even species – an animated sequence sees him rub a unicorn’s horn until it fires rainbows.

Harley Quinn
DC heroes Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are the universe’s favourite same-sex couple.

They had their first “main universe” kiss last August, two years after writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner confirmed: “Yes, they are girlfriends without the jealousy of monogamy.”