AE: Healy tells her in the pilot for Piper to stay away from the lesbians. What did you think of that attitude in the prison and even in our world?
TS: Not every aspect of our culture is catching up, you know? There are people lagging behind and I see that in the world today and I think this show speaks to that. It speaks to the people and places I don’t think have really caught up to where we are.
AE: What was it like working with Laura Prepon? Does Piper still love Alex somewhere deep in her heart?
TS: Laura is amazing. I can’t imagine having done this with anyone else. She’s such a talented woman and just a wonderful human being. But definitely I think Piper was deeply in love with Alex and I don’t know if that ever really goes away when you fall for somebody.
AE: How was it for you as an actor being able to play out the flashbacks of the Piper/Alex relationship instead of just referring to it in dialogue?
TS: It was really cool to be able to go and experience those things. On more than one occasion we’d be shooting the flashback scenes and come to understand something about the character that would come out of nowhere. Something would pop up in the sense that I wasn’t really expecting to find and it would just appear that would inform where she was in prison.
AE: Your “Cut Me Some Slack” speech in episode 4 is so fun.
TS: [Gary Lennon, who penned the episode] is a fantastic writer and this show is just populated with people who write amazing words. Honestly, my part of the equation is to show up and be present for what I’m doing.
Taylor with Piper Kerman
AE: By the end of the first season, do we see that maybe the prison experience is a good thing for Piper? Is that even possible?
TS: As painful as it can be, I don’t think it can never be a bad thing getting closer to the truth.
AE: One of the things Laura told me is that a lot of the characters are not as they seem. Is what we’re seeing of Piper in the first episodes really who she is?
TS: That’s one of the fascinating things for me to play about her. As the episodes keep going you keep uncovering more and more and more of who she is. It gets deeper and more honest and, perhaps, more uncomfortable. What I love about Jenji’s writing is that nobody is who they appear to be. You kind of take everybody and, perhaps, the assumptions of who they are and that gets flipped on its head.
AE: And congrats on the renewal, which came before the episodes even were available!
TS: Isn’t that wild? I’m so excited! I feel so lucky to be able to do it. I really love playing Piper and excited to be able to do it some more.
Orange Is The New Black is available now on Netflix.