Piper Chapman, the real "gangsta" of Orange is the New Black and the blushing rose to Alex Vause's bespectacled thorn, has spent the past four OITNB Seasons flying the flag for white privilege everywhere because, to quote the great woman herself, "bitches gots to learn."
Making the remarkable transformation from a soap-selling WASP to a real try-hard "gangsta" and finally to a repentant good-girl with a swastika singed into her forearm, Season after Season, Piper has made for nothing if not cringetastic #Netflix viewing.
But did you know Piper is actually based on a real life person with a different name to her own and just how much do you know about Taylor Schilling, the actress who plays Piper? Do you know why Piper's brother Cal is so important to the Show? And while we're at it, what is Piper & Alex's official 'ship name, and what are Piper's best quotes from Season 4?
All of these questions in all of their standardized orange-jumpsuit glory will be answered below, so keep reading to make sure you absorb every last sudsy drop from the Piper Chapman super-fan sponge.
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Meet Taylor Schilling, The Actress Who Plays Piper Chapman
Born in July 1984 in Massachusetts, Taylor Schilling became obsessed with the '90s hospital drama ER as a child and decided to pursue a career acting, eventually entering the prestigious graduate program at NYU's Tisch School before dropping out in her second year to start auditioning.
Balancing the draining auditioning process with being a Manhattan-based nanny, Taylor landed roles in the 2007 movie Dark Matter and the NBC medical drama Mercy as well as a slew of stage credits to her name.
However, Taylor achieved her breakout by securing the role of Piper Chapman in Netflix's #OrangeIsTheNewBlack in 2013, going on to garner both Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominations for her portrayal of the good girl-turned-wannabe bad girl in the Show.
Taylor Schilling Fun Facts & Trivia
- Fact No.1 - Taylor's Hair Keeps Falling Out: As she has to dye her hair so often for different projects, she ofter wakes up to discover large clumps of her hair have fallen out onto her pillow overnight.
- Fact No.2 - Taylor Is Not A Millennial: She's not a big fan of social media, telling Rolling Stone it makes her feel "uncomfortable" and "exposed."
- Fact No.3 - Taylor's Isn't Into Polygamy: She's not a huge fan of dating and told People Magazine that "by default, I'm a monogamist."
- Fact No.4 - Taylor Worries About Her Mental Health: In an interview with Glamour Magazine, Taylor stated that she "struggles with anxiety and fear." While her huge career successes have helped somewhat, she went on to say "these things are internal - the external doesn't fix everything."
Piper Chapman Is Based On A Real Life Person
Orange is the New Black is actually based on a memoir written titled 'Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison,' written by Piper Kerman. Kerman is transformed into Piper Chapman in the Netflix adaptation of the book and while the first Season sticks somewhat closely to the narrative of the memoir, the proceeding Seasons begin to diverge quite dramatically.
Piper Kerman began a romantic relationship with Catherine Wolters (portrayed as 'Alex Vause' in the Show), a heroin dealer, back in 1993. As the Show depicts, Piper laundered money for a drug operation Catherine (Alex) was involved in, and got caught. She was consequently sentenced to prison for money laundering and drug trafficking where she served 13 of her 15 months behind bars.
Currently, Piper Kerman serves on the board of the Women's Prison Association, works as a communications strategist for nonprofit organizations, frequently gives speeches to students studying criminology, law, sociology and gender studies and teaches creative writing at the Marion Correctional Institution and the Ohio Reformatory for Women. She also married the real life Larry (played by Jason Biggs in the Show) in 2006 and the couple now live in Columbus, Ohio.
Piper Chapman + Alex Vause = 'Vauseman'
It's pretty much impossible to mention Piper in the same sentence without also mentioning her on-again-off-again girlfriend, the perennially paranoid bad girl, Alex Vause. Giving us some of the best sex scenes on Television, as well as being one of the best representations of a lesbian relationship this side of the hyper-drama that was the L-Word, Alex and Piper are one of the hardest "shipped" couples in the Orange is the New Black fandom.
With an electric sexual chemistry which apparently knows no bounds, managing to overcome the erotic glamour of Alex wearing a bin bag, the fact that both Piper and Alex are locked up in Litchfield because of each other and the giant headf*ck that is both loving and hating each other simultaneously, Vauseman is nothing if not a rollercoaster of orgasmic explosions and crack-smoking-in-a-miniature-cornfield lows.
The Best Piper Chapman Quotes From Season 4
Piper's best quotes from Orange is the New Black Season 4, also paint a pretty good picture of her character arch over the Season. From wannabe bad girl, to accidental leader of a far right white supremacist group, to repentant try-hard criminal, Piper goes on quite the journey in the fourth Season but in doing so, makes a dangerous enemy in Maria.
- Season 4 Episode 1: 'Work That Body For Me:'
"I'm gangsta. Like with an "A" at the end."
- Season 4 Episode 2 - 'Power Suit:'
"Last few days, I'm a Gambino up in here."
- Season 4 Episode 6 - 'Piece Of Sh*t:'
"When you say that everybody hates me, you're being a little hyperbolic, right?"
- Season 4 Episode 7 - 'It Sounded Nicer In My Head:'
"I'm scared, but I'm pretending that this Kool-Aid has alcohol in it, and that kinda helps."
- Season 4 Episode 8 - 'Friends in Low Places:'
"My parents didn't teach me to be like this. What I did to Maria... I didn't feel bad. I didn't think twice. I just... went too far. I always go too far. I always go too fucking far, and I can't fucking stop it."
- Season 4 Episode 13 - 'Toast Can Never Be Bread Again:'
"I saw my grandparents, but they were in caskets. They looked like that puppet from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood."
Piper Chapman's Brother, Cal, Is Her Closest Ally
In the aftermath of destroying her relationship to fiancé Larry by falling back in love with Alex and Larry falling in love with her best friend Polly, Piper's biggest ally in the outside world becomes one of the most unlikely — her underachieving slacker of a brother, Cal Chapman.
Beginning the Series predominantly as her tormentor, teasing her about her predicament, especially seeing as the family had singled him out as being the monumental failure before her incarceration, Piper and Cal did not always see eye-to-eye. But by Season 3 we see a marked shift in their relationship. On Piper's designated day of furlough to attend her grandmother's funeral, Cal and his fiancée Neri decide to throw a surprise wedding on the day, so that Piper can be in attendance.
Not only this, Cal further cements himself as Piper's loyal brother by going in to the illicit panty business with her, helping her sell all the panties worn by the Litchfield inmates to their desirous buyers by being her external connection. By Season 4, even though the panty business has ground to a halt, Cal discovers he and Neri have somewhat of an entrepreneurial flair and they begin shipping vintage clothing to Korea, while expecting a new baby!