Photo Credit: Jasmine L. Gonzalez
How do you play funny without making it look like an act?
Training really helps. [laughs] I feel like it’s also not playing for laughs, staying truthful to the character and always being reminded that there’s a real Taystee out there. It’s never about Taystee—it’s always about the scene partner and what they need from you.
We know you and Samira Wiley are good friends. Is she your favorite person to work with?
I do enjoy working with Samira because we were friends before the show and went to school together. We kind of can’t believe this happened. My favorite person to work with would have to be her and Uzo [Aduba]. As an actor, she’s so smart and always in “Crazy Eyes” mode. She’s so in her zone. Sometimes I get taken out of my world because she’s so funny! She challenges me.
What, if anything, do you like about the aesthetic of the show, like not wearing a lot of make-up or wardrobe?
I like the fact that it’s honest. I don’t want to play an inmate and have lipstick on. That’s wack to me. I’m cool with it on set. But, as soon as it’s over, put on the foundation and fix my eyebrows! Offset, my style is pretty funky. I like big earrings and comfortable clothes. I’m starting to do this whole New York street vibe.