Are you fully adjusted to life in New York?
It’s a big change. It’s definitely a positive change. I get to do what I love here. There are no limitations—that’s what’s so exciting to me. I went to a high school in South Carolina called the Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities and that was basically a mini Julliard. I’ve never been as passionate about anything as acting.
How hard did you have to fight for this role?
I had an audition and I got it. [laughs] What shocked me the most is that one, two-minute moment could change your life. I auditioned with the first shower scene and I brought a prop. [laughs] I came with my ideas; she gave me one adjustment—that Taystee has more light to her. I got it and liked it because we weren’t going the stereotypical route of the angry black woman. There is a lot of room for creative flow, which is a lot of fun. I think that’s what also adds to the show. That’s that collaboration that you need to have and to trust your actors.
How much do you and Taystee have in common?
My mouth is not as foul, but as far as bubbly personality, being happy and smiling; really channeling the good moments when times are tough; I do relate to Taystee in that way. Have I been in prison and foster home after foster home? No, that hasn’t been my experience, but I do feel very close to her. Even when she becomes president of WAC—I was also my high school president.