June 4, 2015
I know you are very interactive with fans. Have you found it difficult to keep boundaries? How do you deal with overenthusiastic fans?
Its very clear to me that without fans there is no show. I am grateful for the great well of enthusiasm for OITNB. It’s not often you are presented with compete, open armed love for a creative en-devour.
I’ve been part of a good deal of creative ventures where the missing ingredient is the audience! So I’m thrilled to be a small part of something that has the engine of popularity behind it. I try to treat everyone I meet with respect and so far I have only been treated with respect by fans of the show.
I was a writer on the HBO show Deadwood, and at meal times the actresses playing prostitutes wore loose-fitting garments and could eat, so they were pretty happy, but the female principals, the more respectable townswomen, were laced into corsets and were very limited, which meant eating was not really possible. What is it like to work on a set where your body is NOT constantly being displayed or you have to wear fitted clothing? Do you feel pressure to stay in shape for possible sex scenes, even though the spirit of Orange Is the New Black seems to be very natural?
No, I try not to indulge negative thinking about my body. What a complete waste of time! I am lucky enough to have access to healthy food and water, and the time to exercise in a way that makes me feel powerful and balanced. I am not interested in torturing myself by wishing I was someone else. The different shapes and sizes and colors and ages on our show give me so much joy, because they reflect real life. If I start wanting to be something I’m not, I disrespect the very thing that makes our show so great!
You tweet about issues concerning incarcerated women. In what ways has being on Orange affected your awareness of our prison system? Do you hear from prisoners?
Working on OITNB made me so much more aware of this huge societal issue that the prison complex presents. As times goes on I have more contact with women who’s lives have been affected by incarceration.
In some cases I have met their children too. I am so inspired by the strength and courage it takes to rebuild a life after an experience like that. In many cases trauma has informed their journey into prison and in most cases their prison experience is further traumatizing. I am moved beyond words by this struggle. I am so grateful to people like Piper Kerman, advocates, who have been brave enough to share their story and in doing so popularized this issue and paved the way for change.
You support Liberation Prison Yoga, which looks like an incredible program. What other programs do you support or consider to be moving and inspiring?
Yoga to the People, because I love donation based classes. Giving everyone access to something that makes mind/body feel good is how it should be.
And of course, The WPA, who have been supporting women’s re-entry to society for 170 years, a long time before prisoner rehabilitation and support was a fashionable.
Some of the pronunciations in your Australian accent are not so very different from Lorna’s. Do you ever catch people meeting you for the first time and are really keyed into HOW you speak — more so than when we usually meet someone?
YES, there is a good deal of surprise about my Australian accent.
Lorna is a sweet person, compassionate in jail for the most part. Would you like to play someone flat-out evil in another project? What projects do you have planned in the future?
YEAHHHHHH, evil sounds fun. I’ve always wanted Cruella Deville hair.
You seem to be having fun when you do red-carpet events and can play with fashion. From Steampunk to classic haute couture, you have a variety of looks you can rock. How do you decide what look to go with?
I’ve surprised myself by how fun the dressing up can be. I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself so I suppose fashion is an extension of that. There is no grand scheme to all of it, I’m just playing, often there’s some cinematic or cultural reference I’m trying to pay homage to. All in the name of fun.
Do you take a bit of Lorna out with you when you walk it?
I’m not 100% sure what ‘when you walk it’ means?’ But there’s certainly a little Lorna with me everywhere I go. My interest in shoes has definitely increased since I met Lorna.
I grew up around theatre: my mom was a playwright and New York City has a rich cultural history for Jews in the theatre. You grew up around theatre as well — are you more interested in pursuing theatre or film projects?
I love working. I love being surrounded by a gang of people with one creative goal. Whatever the medium I want to be part of it. I have never had an acting job where I didn’t learn something, that’s the most important thing for me.
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