Orange is the New Black: When Friendship and Business Mix

By Evil Jenji

The friendships we make in life always arise from some coincidence, and even chance. The only rules after that are, if you were lucky to find it, never stop cultivating. Some beautiful friendships started from OITNB, others already existed before the series. The important thing is that these friendships exchanged so many kindnesses filled with talent, which made the message even stronger. Here I have separated some relationships that have undoubtedly made orange is the New Black even more powerful. Some you know, some you may not. The bigger issue is that most of them overtook the film set, and oddly enough, they somehow got recorded on the screen.

Before starting, it is important that you know, in the OITNB class there are no enemies, everyone is everyone’s friend. So much so that what everyone misses the most is backstage companionship. Orange is still a big family, but I chose my favorites.

Taylor Schilling and Kate Mulgrew’s Friendship

They played the role of mother and daughter long before Orange is the New Black on the Mercy series. They’ve also traveled together on vacation and have enormous respect for each other’s talents. Kate never tires of talking about Taylor’s talent. It’s cute to see this, mainly because sometimes people see Taylor just for the look, not realizing what a huge talent she has. Kate always remembers this. They did some of the most impactful scenes on Orange, like when Red gave Piper an award-winning sandwich at the beginning of the series or when they shared the same bedroom. The one I like the most is when Red tattoos a window on Piper’s arm, to change what had been tattooed before.

Natascha Lyonne and Laura Prepon’s friendship

They did hilarious scenes in Orange is the New Black, and they shared a history with drugs, one as a drug dealer, the other as a drug addict. My favorite scene is without a doubt this one. Nicky was Alex’s best friend shot! from start to finish. In real life they were long neighbors in New York City. When Natasha started directing, it was common for them to exchange ideas like two great friends because Laura already had a solid career in directing.

Danielle Brooks and Samira Wiley’s Friendship

Samira Wiley and Danielle Brooks play onscreen best friends Poussey Washington and Taystee Jefferson, respectively, on Orange Is the New Black, but their relationship goes far beyond the Netflix show. In fact, their friendship can be traced back to college. Samira moved to New York from Washington DC after high school to study theater at Juilliard, and on the first day of Danielle’s freshman year, she met Samira, who just so happened to be the orientation leader helping her move in. “I was met with her screaming ‘WOOOOOOOOO! WELCOME TO JUILLIARD!'” Danielle recalled in an April interview with The Cut. Samira and Danielle instantly hit it off, playing beer pong with friends and watching Planet Earth at Samira’s apartment. In 2013, Danielle got cast in Orange Is the New Black and she encouraged Samira to audition for the role of Taystee’s best friend. Fast forward to a few months later and Samira was behind bars dressed in her khaki jumpsuit with Litchfield’s finest (by Pop Sugar Site).

The Friendship of the Old Ladies of Litchfield

like pictures you can find in several instagram profiles, but if you follow @tamaratorresnyc, who is a character who is always crying on the phone in prison, you will certainly find a whole gang there. This one was posted in August, and shows Dale Soules, Lin Tucci, Lori Chinn, Tamara Torres, Barbara Rosenblat, and Abigail Savage when they went to see a friend and colleague from Orange Annie Golden on Broadway. They are a lot of fun, and more people tend to join this group!

Uzo, Taylor e Laura Prepon

What I like to see is how observant Uzo Aduba is. In many images of Taylor and Laura in public, she is always around. I always say that Uzo knows all Lichtfield’s secrets, but that’s just my sixth sense speaking. It’s very discreet, she managed to hide her marriage from the media for a year. What I was wondering is, why hide? After all, everybody loves Uzo Aduba.


Laura Prepon e Taylor Schilling’s Friendship

Yes, they are friends. I just think that instead of the fans liking it they confuse the characters with the actresses, which really messes up the personal relationship between Laura and Taylor. If there is something else? Our imagination can be much more creative than reality. I don’t like people stalking even if “only” on social media. We will just treat others as we would like to be treated. Laura is a notable figure behind the scenes as well, as she has directed several episodes. I would like it to return as a spin-off propulsion engine in front of and behind the camera. Do I want to see them together on the screen again? Oh yeah, I want them all again. I think the two are tremendous partners, they grow up as actresses when they work together. I miss seeing them.

Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann

This is the friendship that made me write this post. Not only because I believe it to be deep and true, but because it was this friendship that gave us Orange is the New Black. I’m going to reprint part of a Time magazine article written by Tara Herrmann about how this partnership started. Look it!

“I didn’t graduate,” or, “I went to KU,” leaving out the fact that I was only there for a year. The truth was, I was asked to leave college. Kicked out, to be blunt. When my parents saw my report card, they figured there was a typo in my GPA. Shouldn’t there be a number in front of the decimal point? That’s what happens when you stop going to class after midterms—you end up with a .9 GPA.

I realized my behavior was irresponsible and an insult to my parents, who both worked very hard to give me an experience they didn’t get. But I couldn’t get past the feeling that college wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a sorority girl, I was overwhelmed in a lecture hall and I was definitely not destined for med school. I did like performing arts and theater. Ah, who am I kidding? I liked Melrose Place.

Lured by the glamour of Hollywood and the possibility of meeting actor Andrew Shue, I decided at 20 to move from Kansas to Los Angeles to, well, I didn’t know what exactly. To “work in the entertainment industry” was as close as I could come to defining my goal.

A decade later, I was working as a Waitress, hostess, receptionist, event planner, makeup artist, production assistant, executive assistant, writer’s assistant, assistant’s assistant. Yes, I was “working in entertainment,” but it certainly didn’t feel like I was inching closer to success. My friends and coworkers held fancy titles and had parties to celebrate their promotions, while I felt destined to remain on the bottom rung of that insurmountable career ladder.

In 2005, I interviewed to be the assistant to Jenji Kohan. At the time, Jenji was running the show Weeds, which was heading into its second season. The job required tasks anyone who’s worked in an office can do: Make coffee, order office supplies, reset the Wi-Fi. But during my interview, one of the show’s other producers asked if I would also be cool with “scoring 8 balls for the writers.” He was kidding (I think), but I took the question in stride and joked back, “Sure. I’ve got a guy.” I think what Jenji liked about me was my sense of humor and that I watched Weeds and many of the other shows she had written for. I was an unabashed fan of TV, which was still thought of as film’s ugly stepsister. (To say you loved TV back then was like admitting today that you eat GMO foods.) I got the job.

I worked in various capacities with Jenji from then on and felt personally and creatively fulfilled. Ten years later, I am a writer and producer on Orange Is the New Black, as well as Jenji’s producing partner.

Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock (8875354ae) Jenji Kohan, Tara Herrmann – 21 Jun 2017

The Greatest Proof of Love

The photo I like the most from the Orange gang is the one that appeared after a fatality, the death of Jenji’s son at the end of 2019. They got together again to pass on a very important message to Jenji Kohan. This photo symbolizes for me the strength and unity of this team. Orange is not just a job, it’s a family, as the hashtag #Orangefamily has always told us.

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