Like the rest of the Netflix binge-watching world, I too was stoked for Season 4 to come out this month. And like everyone else, after my 13 episodes were over the same day I started them, the yearlong wait resumed once more. But alas, at least we can discuss everything about season 4 now, right?
I choose to start with the looks of all the girls. Many people have noticed the awesome transformations the actresses undergo to portray inmates from all walks of life and in all states of mind. There are the obvious ones that come to mind right away like Crazy Eyes, but then there are those who have a bigger part in season 4 than they ever have before, like Blanca. We finally get to learn her story, and see her in a state other than utter physical disarray (which is fun to watch, don’t get me wrong, but it is also cool to see her as a “normal” person, as she usually looks like a feral animal- and smells like one, too!).
Some of the following 16 characters of Orange is the New Black may not truly surprise you to be on this list, but read on, fellow fans, and check out some of the girls whose ugliness is not only external, and not only due to makeup jobs. Many things can make a person ugly- personality, their acting, and of course their physical looks. All of the above are incorporated into this list of crazy transformations from hot actress to lowly, scuzzy inmate. Will your favorite hottie/nottie be on the list?
16. Uzo Aduba/Suzanne Warren
Ya love her, ya hate her. But I think over the last few seasons we all have developed a soft spot in our hearts for good ol’ Crazy Eyes, a.k.a. Suzanne Warren, a.k.a. the talented (and lovely in real life) Uzo Aduba. Let me tell you, this woman is one seriously amazing actress! Of course we know hair and makeup play a role in the transformation from, well, insane inmate, to glamorous actress who is (presumably) sane, but still. It is mostly her talent that brings our lovable friend Suzanne to life on the show. She has some seriously crazy antics, which we know is from her schizophrenia-like mental breakdowns, and this season we learn more about her past in her second-ever flashback episode, in which she becomes employee of the month at the store she works at. We learn that she lives with her Barbie-doll perfect sister and the reason she was arrested (stop reading if you don’t want a spoiler!): she innocently brought a little boy she knew from the store to her apartment for a Popsicle, since she was lonely. The little boy called 911 not knowing where he was, and the rest was history.
15. Julie Lake/Angie Rice
This is an insanely great makeup job, is it not? It is mostly the ghastly yellow, gooky teeth that give the otherwise normal-looking actress Julie Lake the nasty look she is known for on the show. She plays the relatively minor character of Angie Rice, best buddy/partner-in-crime to the slightly bigger character (also on this list), Leanne Taylor. We don’t know why Angie is in prison yet, but in one episode she escaped for a few hours when she was thought to be an inmate whose release date it was. Oops! She only made it to the bus station, though, before being brought back in. Sigh. She is a rock star at being gross though, and I suppose she should be, since she went to Yale for theater. Hopefully she is just as good at being not gross, but we really wouldn’t know since Orange is the New Black is one of the only productions on her repertoire (even with her Yale tutelage) thus far.
14. Emma Myles/Leanne Taylor
Next we have Emma Myles, who plays Angie Rice’s best friend in Litchfield, Leanne Taylor. Leanne is pretty grungy too, but not to the level that Angie is. We know a little bit more about her since she has had a flashback episode. During it, we learned that Leanne was/is actually Amish, but she had a rebellious streak that led her to become a party girl. She landed herself a spot in prison even after helping the police catch her druggie friends by wearing a wire (the police first caught her when she stupidly left her backpack full of drugs and identifying material in the cornfield after a night of hard partying). The reason for her incarceration remains unclear, but some say she may have been under house arrest or probation following the whole drug thing, and that she broke that when she ran away from home after the community (and her own family) shunned her. Hopefully we’ll find out someday. For now, we are content with her greasy-haired, slimy-toothed character roaming the halls of Litchfield and dredging up trouble every now and then.
13. Taryn Manning/Tiffany Doggett
The actress Taryn Manning had possibly the most dramatic transformation for her character- twice. By this I mean she went from her normal looks to the toothless hick Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett (one of the many inmates we loved to hate, but now just love), then from that look to relatively normal again when she had her teeth fixed in prison. She was all high-and-mighty about it, but it was after the dental correction that she (slowly) became less of an erratic religious zealot who hated pretty much everyone, and more of a level-headed person. She grew up having random sex and doing a lot of meth, and even though she had several abortions (naming them all “B” names), she called herself a “defender of the unborn”. She is in prison for shooting someone outside of an abortion clinic where she was having her 5th procedure done, though we learn it was not in protest of the clinic, but because her victim (an orderly) made a snide comment about her high number of abortions and hurt her feelings. At least that (kind of) makes more sense.
12. Natasha Lyonne/Nicky Nichols
Nicky Nichols, played by Natasha Lyonne of American Pie fame, is a heroin addict who, at times, can look very out of it- I’m talking eyes rolling around in their sockets, frizzed-out hair, smeared makeup, the works. When going through withdrawal, she is, naturally, the ugliest. When she is sober she looks quite normal, and not so far off from Natasha in real life. But it takes a talent to be able to act so doped up, and then in such deep levels of withdrawal, and thus able to look so drastically different. With this character- who not shockingly, was arrested for drug charges, as well as stealing a taxi to acquire said drugs- it is not so much the makeup as it is the acting that transforms her looks from pretty in real life, to normal in prison, to freaky while withdrawing or when high.
11. Dascha Polanco/Dayanara Diaz
I think Dascha Polanco is another inmate whose acting makes her more ugly than her makeup job. She does not wear a lot of makeup in the prison it seems, but her mopey, depressed attitude definitely brings her appearance down. Plus her horrible skunk-streak dye job, and the fact (in the first seasons) that she is pregnant and huge. After giving up her baby and losing her lover/fiance/baby daddy (a prison guard who ran away to avoid going to jail, himself, for impregnating an inmate), I’d be depressed, too. She does have a certain spunk to her that comes out every now and then, but it is always a pissy kind of spunk, if that makes sense. She is not featured much in this latest season, but basically she just looks worlds better as Dascha Polanco, and not Dayanara “Daya” Diaz, who is in prison with her bitchy slacker of a mother (who is only 4 years older than her in real life!). Like her mother, she is in Litchfield for drug-related charges.
10. Madeline Brewer/Tricia Miller
We only knew her the first season, as the trashy but sweet white girl who was in love with a little-known character named Mercy. 19-year-old Tricia Miller was incarcerated for theft and drug charges, and fell in love with “her girl” (as she frequently referred to her), Mercy, while in prison. Though kind-hearted, she was conflicted and used drugs a lot while incarcerated. Red was a mother-figure to her, and Nicky a sister-figure. But despite all her positive relationships, she died in prison, indirectly murdered by the evil Pornstache. But with her tight dreadlocks and prison tats, and her sweet nature jaded by living in the inner walls of Litchfield, Tricia Miller is clearly not as beautiful as Madeline Brewer who portrays her. In fact, Madeline Brewer is downright hot! She looks worlds different than her character, and at least in this case, I think that is due to a lack of makeup, the hairstyle, the baggy, shapeless prison clothes, and not much else.
9. Danielle Brooks/Tasha Jefferson
We all love ourselves some Taystee! She is one of my favorites, for sure. Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson is always looking out for her friends with genuine concern for their well-being. She is loyal, and hard-working, and works her way up in the prison to be the warden’s secretary. She is very happy and proud of herself, which is fun to watch. But while her positive outlook on life and general “can-do” attitude are great, it is not enough to make even the pretty actress Danielle Brooks look so hot in her prison get-up. Without the nicely-done hair she sports in the real world, and with her done-down makeup, Tasha can sometimes be a hot mess. Physically, that is. It is rare throughout all 4 seasons that she has broken down or been evil to anyone. She is a peacekeeper. She does not look bad, but as we can see through Danielle, Tasha is definitely not a looker inside the prison walls, but she also doesn’t seem to have the need to be (unlike all the ladies who frequent the inmate-run salon).
8. Lorraine Toussaint/Vee Parker
One of the bigger villains of the whole series (and who was squashed like a bug when a terminally-ill former bank robber ran her down with a van – best scene ever!) is none other than Vee Parker. It is interesting because even before prison, she was like a mother figure to one of the sweeter characters, Tasha Jefferson, of the show. But in prison together, Tasha sees Vee’s true colors, and those true colors add to Vee’s ugliness. There is also the smug, murderous look in her eye, hot mess of a hairdo, and general meanness to consider. Luckily for actress Lorraine Toussaint, in real life she is actually attractive. With a little makeup, a smile that is not inherently evil, and a nice dress, she cleans up pretty decently. She could even be called glamorous! It is a far cry from her drug-dealing, self-serving, manipulative, and ugly self in Litchfield Prison. I mean, she was so horrible- inside and out- that one of her former inmates murdered her- at the expense of her own life, too! And everyone other than Crazy Eyes was happy about it! Now that is an ugly person.
7. Jessica Pimentel/Maria Ruiz
The sad mother of a little girl has turned bad ass in season 4, when she brands Piper with a Nazi symbol on her arm and then becomes leader of the Latinas. She is not necessarily ugly, but at least in this most recent season, she has a tough exterior and an anger unmatched by anything other than a pissed off Mama Bear. It takes away from any beauty she did have, and again, this speaks mostly to Jessica’s acting and less to any makeup artistry (or lack thereof). Often sweaty, threatening, and even pock-marked at times, Maria is a force to be reckoned with in season 4. Now let’s talk about Jessica in real life. She is a gorgeous Latina from the Dominican Republic, with added Taino Indian and African heritages. The reason her character is in Litchfield is unknown, but she was pregnant in season 1, and got time added to her sentence because of Piper, hence the whole branding fiasco. Let’s just say that the real-life Jessica is much prettier than the hate-filled Maria. Even the mopey, gloomy-gus mommy Maria is better looking than her new, bad ass persona is.
6. Abigail Savage/Gina Murphy
The mousey Gina Murphy has short, greasy hair that’s color does nothing for her pigmentation, and she has burns all over her neck and shoulder from extra grease in an oven that caught fire while she and Red were trying to sabotage the kitchen crew in season one. Her nickname is “Squirrel”, and it is not hard to see why, after watching her in a few episodes. She just resembles a rodent in ways, though she is a kind person and a loyal friend, in prison for embezzlement. Abigail Savage, on the other hand, looks much better than her character in the way she carries herself, and without the burns and greasy hair. They look similar of course, but the similarities end when persona is taken into account, and naturally, without the scars and lack of things like makeup in a prison. The way she dresses and wears makeup also plays a big role, of course.
5. Laura Gomez/Blanca Flores
I just love Blanca’s look in Orange is the New Black. It seems to get increasingly insane as the seasons go by, and in season 4, she has a full-on uni-brow, frizzy hair that looks like she is being electrocuted, an animalistic expression, black circles under her eyes, and she even rubs tuna on herself to stink on purpose, and pisses herself. Yeah, she is about as gross as you can get. But this season, we finally got a glimpse into Blanca’s past in her first-ever flashback episode, where she was working as an in-home nurse for a racist, stuffy old woman. She looked normal then, much closer to her real-life image of a dark-haired Latina with normal eyebrows and makeup, and who does presumably not stink on purpose (or otherwise). It is presumed that her offense was elder abuse, though that is not confirmed. But I just love Blanca’s character- this girl does what the hell she wants, and I am rooting for her!
4. Lori Tan Chinn/Mei Chang
More commonly known as just “Chang”, inmate Mei Chang is portrayed by Lori Tan Chinn. Chang is much older than most of the inmates, with very short hair and a skin condition on her face. Coupled with the traditional prison garb and no makeup or prison salon visits, Chang is very bland and not much of a looker in Litchfield (or anywhere, really). It doesn’t seem that she was attractive as a younger girl either, as during her flashback, we saw her as a teenager with an even worse facial condition, and she was so “ugly” that her brother was unable to sell her off to any suitors. She is in prison for becoming an organized crime leader (and quite a violent one), which was surprising given her soft-spoken nature in the flashback episode. In her real life, Lori Tan Chinn has no such skin condition, and seems spunky and lively (contrary to her often quiet, though sporadically snarky, character in Litchfield) with crazy hair colors and big smiles for the cameras. She seems like she would be a lot of fun, actually.
3. Lori Petty/Lolly Whitehill
We first met the kooky Lolly Whitehill on a plane to Chicago in season 2, when she was seated next to Piper. Then later on she was thought to be stalking Alex back at Litchfield, and by season 4 she is quite obviously psychotic. It is revealed in her flashback episode that she is in prison for assaulting a police officer while having a schizophrenic episode. She was homeless after having lost a career in journalism that went downhill due to her psychosis. Anyway, as far as looks go, in Orange is the New Black, she has white cropped hair in much the same style as Chang, and thick black glasses. She wears no makeup, and frequently makes goofy, confused facial expressions not on purpose, but because she is hearing voices, questioning her sanity or the things around her, or being silly. Oh, and she built a time machine in the prison. She is also known to make very big gestures with her arms and body, emphatic about whatever it is she is saying. I think it is safe to say that in real life, Lori is much more attractive than Lolly.
2. Kimiko Glenn/Brook Soso
While she is cute even in the drab prison garb, hippie chick Brook Soso (who in the show is half Scottish and half Japanese), played by Kimiko Glenn, is plain and blah… This is especially true when we are introduced to her in season 2 and she refuses to shower because she believes people should live with their “natural odors”. She looks sweaty and, well, just plain gross. Obviously that is not the case in her real, everyday life, as Kimiko Glenn is quite the looker. Her character, arrested for living in a tree so it would not be cut down, therefore preventing logging, was never into physical appearance anyway, but Kimiko could or could not be- we don’t know, as she is a natural beauty who looks great all dolled up or in a more natural state, like in the photo above. She seems to be one of those girls I hate who can throw on a white tee and jeans (again, I reference the above photo) and look smoking hot.
1. Emily Althaus/Maureen Kukudio
This girl just looks crazy, kind of like her love interest (Suzanne Warren/Crazy Eyes) does. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, but on the show, actress Emily Althaus’ character, Maureen Kukudio, is a little… wacko-looking. We don’t know a lot about her yet, as she was only introduced in season 3, but perhaps the fact that she and Suzanne communicate through secret “looks” and awkward giggles adds to her seeming lack of sanity, and thus lack of physical attractiveness. In real life, Emily is perfectly normal-looking in every way, pretty even. Her reddish hair and fair complexion are stunning when done right and paired with normal clothing. But in prison (where Maureen is for the time being, though her offense is thus far unknown) her hair is a few shades lighter, and that and the beige inmate uniform make her look washed out, doing nothing for her skin tone. Her hair is also shorter and frizzier, and like Suzanne, she has this crazy but serene look in her eyes. This does not seem to bother Suzanne of course, as the two engage in their irrational behavior and weird flirting, showing their mutual sexual attraction and that they exist in their own little world. Creepy.