As an aside to open, I stopped watching Orange is The New Black a couple of episodes into the third season, which was back in 2015. Why is it that so many shows lose the thread and start to go downhill in the third season? My theory is that they cram too much into the episodes that they start to change the character’s personalities in ways that don’t seem realistic. The best shows, the rare ones that stay consistent, are slow burning ones like Breaking Bad and The Americans. They can seem “boring” at first but once you get into them you see the artistry and are hooked. Anyway I digress and OITNB probably picked up after that, I just needed to give it a chance.
Bustle interviewed Dominican-American actress Jackie Cruz of Orange is The New Black (Marisol/Flaca). You may not recognize her as she recently went very curly with her hair and on the show she has straight black hair. (At first I thought it was a wig for the photoshoot, but she’s had this hair at several recent events.) She gave a lot of impressive quotes about the new political climate in the US and about racism in 45’s America. Jackie hasn’t been on my radar before but she definitely is now. Before landing the job on OITNB she had a few small parts on television, she had an album out and was working as model and waitress in New York City.
On President Trump and the importance of our voices
“Our president — or number 45 — was a reality star, why’s his opinion more important than mine? And I was scared to tell you who I voted for, or what I believed in [before the election], and not anymore because I learned how important my voice is and we need to share it. And each one of our voices are important. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have, you can make a difference.”
On the prison system and racism
“I’ve learned so much about what’s going on in prison and how messed up it is, and it’s so real and we’re bringing awareness to that… Even the racism in prison, our groups — it’s crazy how it’s happening in real life, as well. Racism is kind of, not OK, but kind of awake in our environment right now. Maybe it was hidden, but now people think its OK to be racist and it’s not, and in prison everyone’s racist and it’s normal in there. And it’s starting to feel normal in our real world. I don’t know if I’m saying this right. I’ve never even talked about this, but I’m realizing it right now and it’s kind of scary. It’s really scary.”
On starting her own production company, Unspoken Film.
“I’m telling stories that we’re afraid to talk about. And I want diverse women on screen, and writers, producers, directors.”
I like how she was both outspoken about witnessing increased racism and how she admitted that she’s scared and doesn’t know how to talk about it yet. I think a lot of us feel that way. As a white woman I’ve become more aware of sexism, as it’s similarly become more blatant, while gradually realizing that I’ve benefited from living in a bubble of privilege all my life. Yes it’s harder to be a woman in this climate, but not as hard as being a woman of color. Our voices are important and I appreciate her speaking about this and being vulnerable about it too.
photos credit: Ashley Batz/Bustle and WENN