Orange Is the New Black fans are shaking with anticipation for Season 4 to drop on Netflix. Until then, we need something to hold us down. While the character's stories are filled with drama, turns out there's a lot we don't know about OITNB, and it just might rival the Netflix Original.
1. Piper Kerman And Larry Smith Are Married With A Son
Piper Kerman’s memoirs are the basis of the entire series. Her name was changed to Piper Chapman in the show, played by Taylor Schilling, and her husband Larry Smith was changed to Larry Bloom, played by Jason Biggs. Biggs stopped appearing in the show after Season 2, suggesting his character may be entirely out of the picture. However in real life, the original Piper and Larry are married with a 5-year old son and living in Ohio.
2. Vicky Jeudy (Janae Watson) Was Homeless
A decision Jeudy still regrets led to her being stranded and homeless in California. After calling many friends, she eventually found one who would loan her $500 for a flight back home to Atlanta. Embracing her second chance, she immediately got a job, paid her debt, and eventually landed her role as Janae Watson, a high school track star who ends up at Litchfield Penitentiary.
3. Jessica Pimental (Maria Ruiz) Planned To Be A Concert Violinist
Pimental attended orchestra lessons and rehearsals every day until the age of 14 when she got nerve damage and lost the feeling in her fingertips. She could no longer play successfully and was told her only chance to get better was to stop. She was already enrolled in Performing Arts, so she auditioned for the drama program in order to stay in school. Her talent was recognized and she got in.
4. Ryan Murphy Originally Owned The Rights To Piper Kerman’s Memoir
That’s right. The writer and producer best known for Glee, American Horror Story and Nip/Tuck owned the rights before Jenji Kohan, the writer of Weeds. (Fun fact: Danbury Prison was used as the set for both OITNB and Weeds, when Nancy Botwin was sentenced to prison.) Murphy simply had no idea what to do with the story and passed it along once the option lapsed. Can you just imagine a Scream Queens version of Orange Is the New Black?
5. Jackie Cruz (Marisol ‘Flaca’ Gonzales) Was In A Near-fatal Car Accident
At the age of 17, Cruz was in a car accident without a seatbelt. Her injuries were so grave, she underwent brain surgery and had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and smile all over again. Since, it has been her constant motivator to always follow her dreams.
6. Uzo Aduba (Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren) Was Meant To Be A Guest Star
Uzo Aduba originally auditioned for the role of Janae Watson, but was instead cast as the legendary Crazy Eyes. She was only expected to air in the first three episodes, but was so brilliant it was out of the question. She is the first actress to have won two Emmy Awards consecutively for the same role under both comedy (2014) and drama (2015).
7. Diane Guerrero (Maritza Ramos) Came Home To Find Her Parents Had Been Deported
At age 14, Guerrero came home from school one day to find that her parents and brother were gone. Their cars were home, the lights were on, and food was in the middle of being cooked. She instantly knew what had happened and spent the following years relying on the generosity of others to survive. Her family is currently living in Columbia, where she visits them every year.
8. Tamara Torres (‘Weeping Woman’) Is A Mystery
Have you ever noticed that when Piper makes a phone call, there is always another woman hysterically crying in the background? What’s even weirder is she is the only one dressed in a different uniform. She wears blue instead of khaki and not even the actress knows why. All of a sudden in Season 3, her outfit conforms to those of her fellow inmates. Could it be her pajamas she is simply too depressed to change out of? Or perhaps some anecdotal connection to the blue prison uniforms in Weeds? What could they possibly be hiding?!
9. Samira Wiley (Poussey Washington) Was The Co-writer’s Mistress
In September 2014, Lauren Morelli, who helped write and produce the series, divorced her husband of two years, Stephen Basilone. Writing about LGBT topics helped the writer better understand her own sexuality (particularly the love scene between Piper Chapman and Alex Vause). This led to her affair with Wiley, who plays a globetrotter-turned-inmate and Taystee’s partner in crime.
10. Joel Marsh Garland (Scott O’Neill) Should Have Been A Firefighter
A prison guard on screen and a hero in real life, Garland potentially saved the lives of many, including my own, by putting out a fire in Webster Hall. No one would ever find out until now.
On December 8, 2015, a candle set fire to my raffle tickets at a fundraiser for the Women’s Prison Association. With no liquids but alcohol in the vicinity, Garland was the only one to act—pun intended. He heroically smothered the flames and modestly retreated back to his conversation. Luckily, no one was hurt and no damage was done to the music venue and landmark, Webster Hall. More importantly, the raffle tickets were replaced.
11. We’re About To Get The Alex Vause Side Of The Story
Larry Smith published his own account of the story and we all know Piper Kerman released hers. Now, it’s time for Cleary Wolters to share her take on what really happened. Wolters is the inspiration to Vause’s character, played by actress Laura Prepon (who, interestingly enough, auditioned for the role of Piper). In her own memoir, Out of Orange, Wolters disputes claims made in Kerman’s memoir and in the Netflix interpretation. What dirty little secrets will she unveil?
As for dirty little secrets, there was one more little fact that would be a crime to leave out… And if we’ve learned anything from binge-watching Orange Is the New Black, it’s that crimes are something to avoid. We knew Uzo Aduba can move, but we found out from an insider source that someone else can kill it on the dance floor: (drum roll please): It's Lori Tan Chinn (Chang)! Dance battle in Season 4 anyone?
What dirty little OITNB secrets do you know?
Sources: Women's Prison Association