Season one saw your character, Piper, leave her fiancé and business to face life in jail. What happens in season 2? She’s in a vulnerable situation. She has been through a lot and she’s going to go through a lot more. She is trying to find her place – I can’t say more.
Did you have any reservations about the show? It required a lot of nudity… It was the opposite, I was so thrilled by the script, I was raring to go. I did talk about the nudity with show creator Jenji Kohan but had faith in her vision of taking these risks to express the truth of the storyline clearly. It was not gratuitous.
How does Orange… differ from other ‘women in prison’ shows and movies? We have a really homogenised view in the Western world, certainly in the US, of what it means to be female and what that looks like and what humour that dictates: what is appropriate, what is inappropriate. I think our show cracks that open and says: ‘There are so many different ways to be a woman,’ rather than this idea of femininity Hollywood has places upon us.
Do you feel a responsibility as a bisexual icon?Oh God, I don’t think so at all. I’ve never heard myself being called that. I think Piper is just trying to figure out how to live her life and who she needs and who she loves and, you know, trying to get her footing.
The show is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir. Did you meet her? I met her often. What stuck with her was how the prisoners were mistreated by the guards, the really horrific, unjust stuff that goes on and that no one talks about. That’s why she wrote a book and that is why she agreed to the series so more people can have a peek into what’s going on.
Do you get lots of weird fan mail? I do get some fan mail. I haven’t read a large chunk of it. I should. It seems quite positive: ‘What’s it like basically wearing the same unflattering beige jumpsuit for an entire series?’ Oh, I love it. I love it so much. I feel there is so much freedom in it. It’s not about make-up or clothes, it’s about the work we are doing: where the characters are from and what they are going through.
I hear you are a bit of a Downton Abbey fan. I love Downton Abbey. It just feels like this cosy world where nothing really bad can happen to anybody and everyone has manners.
Do you often get confused for Taylor swift? Ha, no I don’t.
You starred in The Lucky One, a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, opposite Zac Efron. Was Zac as good a kisser as his fans would hope? Yes. I love Zac, he’s such a great guy. We got along from the very first moment.
You’ve hit big success with Orange… but did you ever think you might jack the acting in and do something else? I think about that all the time. I mean, not really, because there is not really anything else I can do to pay my rent. I really love acting – that way of expressing myself and sharing myself creatively seems to work for me but it’s certainly not easy.
If you enjoy it so much, why do you think of not doing it? I keep thinking: ‘What will I do next?’ and ‘Will I be good?’ Being an actor is all so uncertain. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like out in the real world, to have more consistency in my life, but I also know that part of me wouldn’t enjoy that very much. I can do it for a couple of weeks but I don’t know for how much longer.
Has Orange… opened up a sideline for you with things such as fashion and beauty endorsements? I’m just interested in acting. The other things are just confusing for me. It’s not really a world I feel super comfortable in. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh
Orange Is The New Black, season one, is now out on DVD and Blu-ray. Season 2 premieres on Netflix on June 6.
TAYLOR Schilling, 29, stars in TV hit Orange Is The New Black, about a New Yorker jailed for carrying drug cash for the ex-girlfriend she then meets inside