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Ruby Frost chills out

The Kiwi star and X Factor judge is cooler than ever

She’s known for herguitar. Some of them were so bubblegum-pin hair, out-there outfit and New Zealand pop.

But while Ruby Frost appears loud and full of confidence, The X Factor NZ judge came close to never having the career she always dreamed of, due to a profound lack of self-belief.

“I was painfully shy,” the 25-year-old says softly. “I never told anyone at school that I wanted to sing. I didn’t think it was cool to be into music, I guess, so I struggled with that.”

Since her days at Epsom Girls Grammar, where she was known by her birth name Jane de Jong, Ruby has released her debut album Volition, opened for artists such as Kimbra and Garbage, and got the call from Simon Cowell’s people asking her to be a judge on the hit TV3 show with Daniel Bedingfield, Stan Walker and Melanie Blatt.

Not entirely comfortable in the spotlight, the singer says her new-found confidence has been a long journey.

“After I finished university, I just thought, ‘I want to give this a go,’” she says. “I started playing gigs with my acoustic guitar. Some of them were so awkward, but the way I learn is by making mistakes and doing things 100 times, so I started finding myself bit by bit.”

Rub says her personal struggles give her a “unique perspective” as a judge.

“The contestants are bearing their heart and soul and I know what it’s like to choke. During my early days I would get so nervous my voice would sound strangled. That’s why I never say they can’t sing. I try to champion the acts who are a bit left-leaning and different.”

Born in Wellington to a musical family, Ruby has been immersed in the industry since childhood. “Mum [Chris] played in bands for years and Dad [Mark] runs Parachute, the Christian music festival. Music is their life. I grew up watching talent shows on TV with Mum yelling at the screen ‘You’re out of tune!’, or ‘That was terrible!’ She’d really

get into it.”

Although Ruby has been making waves since 2009, she’s not yet a household name. But by the time the show is over, she’s determined that will have changed. Not the “nice” judge that some people expect, Ruby says she’s more than capable of holding her own.

“I’m starting to get more comfortable. Stan thinks one of his acts is going to win, but he’d better watch out.”

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