American comedy-drama Orange is the New Black (OITNB) was created by Jenji Kohan and based on the memoir of ex-con-turned-author Piper Kerman. Kerman served 13 months (of a possible 15) after she was found guilty, in 1998, of drug trafficking and money laundering. Her book recounts experiences during her time in FCI Danbury, Connecticut, and she wrote the screen version for Netflix. OITNB premiered on July 11, 2013 and was renewed for seven seasons.
According to magazine LsGs in 2014, Kerman said, “I’m bisexual, so I’m a part of the gay community,” although she also said OITNB “is not a biopic by any stretch of the imagination.” When asked further about her sexuality, Herman said, “You know personally, I identified as a lesbian for most of my youth, you know, sort of came out the closet when I was either 18 or 19. How can I not remember that? It was a long time ago, and, you know, Larry is the only guy I’ve ever dated, and I did ended [sic] up marrying him.”
From the outset, OITNB garnered praise from critics and audiences for the subject matter and the acting. It won 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, winning three in its first season. It received nominations for its second season, too, including Outstanding — no, not Comedy — Drama Series! Uzo Aduba collected the prize for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Here are 15 Facts The Girls From ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Don’t Want You To Know
15. Taylor Schilling Makes The Worst-Dressed List
A fan of the NBC medical drama ER, she began acting at a young age and started to take part in her school’s theater program. It was there that she took a part in Fiddler on the Roof. Following her graduation from Wayland High School, she attended Fordham University’s campus at Lincoln Center, continuing to take roles in various stage productions and subsequently earning her Bachelor of Arts in 2006.
She continued to study performing arts and began auditioning for various TV and film roles. Schilling won the Emerson College Playwright’s Festival Outstanding Performance Award and then made her film debut with a supporting role in the independent film Dark Matter. In 2009, she starred in the NBC medical drama Mercy, where Liz Heldens, the show’s executive producer and creator, was said to have been impressed by what she saw.
14. Dascha Polanco Appears In Court
Dascha Polanco plays inmate Dayanara “Daya” Diaz in OITNB. Arriving in the show’s second season as a bit part, she was given a recurring role for season three due to her popularity and ratings. She was initially training to be a nurse but considered acting a far more attractive prospect. Auditioning while working as a nurse, Polanco attended BIH Studios in New York. She was then signed by the talent agency Shirley Grant Management.
She had various minor acting credits in shows such as Unforgettable and NYC 22 and a small acting part in Gimme Shelter before making the cut for Orange Is the New Black. Since then, she’s also appeared in comedy films The Cobbler, Joy, and The Perfect Match. In 2016, The Mail Online reported that “the 33-year-old faced four counts of assault and harassment following her arrest last July for allegedly attacking 17-year-old Michelle Cardona.”
13. Taylor Schilling And The Shower Scene
For her acting in OITNB, Schilling was praised by critics and audiences for the realism and sensitivity with which she played the role. Her relationship with the other cast members brings into question her own sexuality and whether it’s reflective of her role in OITNB.
When asked about her sexuality, Schilling told the London Evening Standard, “I’ve had very serious relationships with lots of people, and I’m a very expansive human. There’s no part of me that can be put under a label. I really don’t fit into a box — that’s too reductive … I’ve had a lot of love, and I don’t have any qualms about where it comes from” (The London Evening Standard, 2017).
12. Laura Prepon
Born in 1980, actress Laura Prepon plays Alex Vause. She’s appeared in countless television productions including King of the Hill, How I Met Your Mother, Celebrity Ghost Stories, and Are You There, Chelsea? She is, by comparison, a relatively early arrival to film with her 2001 debut in independent film Southlander. Other movies in her back-catalog include dramas The Girl on the Train and The Hero, the comedy Lay the Favorite, and romantic-drama Come Early Morning.
She’s been nominated for three Teen Choice Awards and won five other awards, four of which – such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series – was for her role in OITNB. She’s of Russian Jewish and Irish Catholic descent and her maternal great-great-great-grandfather was Union Army General Joseph Bradford Carr – a decorated general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
11. Ruby Rose’s “Ugly” Tattoo
In addition to acting in such action films as Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Return of Xander Cage, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Pitch Perfect 3, Rose is an Australian model, DJ and, television presenter. In fact, her career was boosted by appearing as MTV Australia’s presenter. This led to modeling gigs with fashion houses such as Maybelline New York in Australia. She’s recently appeared on other fashion shows such as Australia’s Next Top Model.
She debuted in the Australian film Suite for Fleur in 2008 and quickly became a popular face of film and TV. She’s appeared in over ten television shows and three music videos. The award-winning actress has earned herself five entertainment awards, including the Stephen F. Kolzak and Favourite Female Personality Awards and has been nominated for six others, including International TV Actress (Glamour) and Celebrity Rising Star (British LGBT Awards).
10. Taylor Schilling in the Rain
Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper Chapman in OITNB, is seen here caught in a downpour having enjoyed the sunshine on a beach in Hawaii. She’s been involved with OITNB since 2013 and continues to be a popular actress on the show for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Television Series Drama.
Born in 1984, Schilling also starred in various other television shows, including medical dramas. Her other films include The Lucky One, Take Me, and Atlas Shrugged: Part I. She split her time growing up between West Roxbury and Wayland, spending time with her parents who soon became divorced.
9. Ruby Rose Bad Hair Day
Ruby Rose’s fashion career has been steadily strengthening, even during the filming of OITNB. She recently collaborated with a top Australian fashion house to create a design of clothing that suited her own personality, the thought being that her fans would equally want to buy the clothes. The collection, called “Milk and Honey Designed by Ruby Rose,” proved to be a great success and includes unique designer leather jackets, washed jeans, and T-shirts with.
She’s appeared largely in mainstream fashion titles, including Marie Claire Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Maxim, and Vogue Australia. Recently, she collaborated with model Sophie Dahl on a line of ethical streetwear for their clothing range Faircloth Lane. In March 2017, Rose starred in Nike’s latest campaign “Kiss My Airs,” celebrating its Air Max Day.
8. Ruby Rose Kiss
Before getting her role as MTV’s presenter, Rose had to audition against hundreds of other hopefuls. According to Herald Sun in 2008, Rose “downed 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes against Jackass’s Bam Margera and kissed strangers on a busy Sydney street,” after which she was awarded the part. Of the presenter role, she said she was looking forward to it. “Being a model, there is always something they want to change. Whether they want someone a little bit skinnier, a little bit taller, a little bit prettier, but MTV wants you to be yourself … not censoring anything and not conforming to anything” (Herald Sun, 2008).
In October 2009, Rose presented Ultimate School Musical, which FOX8 was producing. The Australian production aired in 2010, and following this, Rose presented the Foxtel Mardi Gras before becoming an official reporter for Foxtel for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.
7. Natasha Lyonne
Natasha Lyonne’s interest in acting came about after her family moved to Israel. She got involved in the production of a children’s film, and this spurred her interest to try to audition for other productions. After her parents divorced, Lyonne and her brother Adam returned to America with their mother. Lyonne then made a beeline for acting agencies while also attending Ramaz School, also known as The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Upper School of Rama.
Rumor has it that she was expelled from the school for selling drugs to other students, and the family soon moved to Miami to begin a new life. She was estranged from her father, who was a 2013 Republican candidate for City Council for the Sixth District of Manhattan, ever since leaving Israel and also had a very sparse relationship with her mother.
6. Uzo Aduba Audition
Graduating from Medfield High School in 1999, Aduba always had a reputation for zany behavior. Here she is auditioning for OITNB. She was trained in classical singing, and although she describes her family as sporty, it was only her younger brother Obi who took up hockey professionally. She recalled how her teacher thought she had a “distinctive dynamic and a strong personality.” Aduba added, “She was one of my favorite teachers – we still keep in touch now and have since the second grade. She saw that precociousness and didn’t really try to change me or make me conform” (The Guardian, 2017).
As part of her work for LGBT communities, Aduba performed at a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit concert in 2014, where she showed the world the strength of her voice. At the concert, she teamed with Rachel Bay Jones for a rendition of the song “Lily’s Eyes” from the musical The Secret Garden.
5. Dascha Polanco Vomits
Dascha Polanco is Dominican American by birth. Born in the Republic, she moved to the United States when she was a young girl and was raised in Sunset Park Brooklyn, New York and Miami by her father. Polanco wanted to be an actress from a young age, and although she doubted her own abilities, she began auditioning.
Attending New York fashion week in 2016, Polanco was nervous of how she would be viewed by the press, having always been conscious of her figure. She told a reporter from Today, “To tell you the truth, when I first arrived at New York Fashion Week wearing a tight bodysuit that completely revealed my thighs, I was a little nervous. I kept on covering myself up with my jacket, and I just didn’t feel ready. There was no pool there, no beach … so shouldn’t I cover up” (Today, 2016)?
4. Yael Stone Manic Face
After winning Best Supporting Actress and Best Newcomer for her performance in The Kid, Yael Stone worked in television, including supporting roles in All Saints and Spirited. From 2010 to 2011, she appeared in a production of The Diary of a Madman and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Sydney Theatre Awards. She arrived in New York City in early 2011 to take up the role in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s production of the same show.
Stone decided she would make NYC her home in December 2011 and, shortly afterward, co-founded a theater company for experimental performing arts. Four months after living in New York, she was cast in OITNB. She plays a prisoner from New Jersey called Lorna Morello, and a journalist for The New Republic magazine called her accent “the most amazing accent on television.”
3. Uzo Aduba Tearful
Uzo Aduba, otherwise known as “Uzoamaka Nwaneka ‘Uzo’ Aduba,” was born in Boston and is the daughter of Nigerian parents. She’s best known for playing the role of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in OITNB. In 2015, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014 and 2015, according to CNN.
She’s only one of two actresses in history to have won Emmy awards for both comedy and drama roles. She’s also an accomplished film actress, having appeared in Pearly Gates, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Tallulah, and My Little Pony: The Movie. She heavily supports the LGBT community. Here, she’s seen tearful after receiving one of her Emmys.
2. Yael Stone’s Throwback
Australian actress Yael Stone was born in 1985. She grew up starring in theater and television before landing the role of Lorna Morello in OITNB. Prior to this, she won two Sydney Theatre Awards for her acting. Stone grew up in Sydney, Australia, the daughter of Judy and Harry Stone. Her father, who is from a Jewish family, was born in Czechoslovakia, the son of Nazi Holocaust survivors.
After leaving school, Stone went to Newtown High School of the Performing Arts and the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Since 1999, she’s appeared in four films: Me Myself I, West, Jailbirds, and The Wilde Wedding. She’s also been involved with eight television productions, one of which was OITNB. According to The Guardian, Stone was 10 and performing in a school competition “when she recited Robert Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s Lover,’ a poem about a man strangling a woman” (The Guardian, 2015).
1. Natasha Lyonne’s Wardrobe Malfunction
Natasha Bianca Lyonne Braunstein, better known as “Natasha Lyonne,” is probably most well known for her role as Jessica in American Pie, but she’s appeared in many other productions, including Everyone Says I Love You, Slums of Beverly Hills, and But I’m a Cheerleader. Since the start of OITNB, she’s played inmate Nicky Nichols, for which she received a nomination for the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
Born in NYC to boxing promoter Aaron Braunstein, she was raised as an Orthodox Jew. Like Yael Stone’s heritage, her mother was born in Paris to Hungarian Jewish parents, who survived the Holocaust. Although her mother came from a large family, only she and two brothers and sisters survived. Here, we see her with a slight wardrobe malfunction at an awards ceremony – a picture we’re sure she would rather not be on the internet.
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