Orange Is The New Black

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Samira Wi­ley’s char­ac­ter Poussey Wash­ing­ton is a favourite in prison drama Orange Is The New Black (2013-cur­rent) be­cause of her smile and love­able, loyal per­son­al­ity. And while drug-traf­fick­ing in­mate Poussey was a mil­i­tary brat with no fo­cus, 29-year-old Samira had a very dif­fer­ent up­bring­ing…

Her par­ents Den­nis and Chris­tine 1

co-pa­s­tored the first black church in Wash­ing­ton DC since the ’80s – the Covenant Bap­tist United Church Of Christ. Their church was also per­form­ing civil unions in 2007, long be­fore the state recog­nised gay mar­riage.

Open-minded Samira says that her 2

par­ents and their ex­pe­ri­ences have taught her a lot. “I’ve seen them dragged through the mud, but I wouldn’t be who I am with­out them,” she says.

She stud­ied drama at the presti3

gious Jul­liard School in New York, where she met bestie Danielle Brooks, who plays Poussey’s prison pal Taystee in Orange Is The New Black. Samira grad­u­ated in 2010 and worked as a bar­tender to make ex­tra cash.

Samira also does voiceover work 4

and voiced char­ac­ter Mi­chonne in the 2016 videogame The Walk­ing Dead: Mi­chonne, based on the hit zom­bie show The Walk­ing Dead (2010-cur­rent).

Like her char­ac­ter, Samira is gay. 5

In 2014, she started dat­ing Orange Is The New Black writer Lau­ren Morelli who came out about her sex­u­al­ity that same year. Says Samira, “Our re­la­tion­ship started as a pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship and I ad­mire Lau­ren’s work as a writer. I was such a fan of hers from the be­gin­ning.”

Samira also loves Shake­speare and 6

“clichéd as it sounds, I want to play Juliet [in Romeo & Juliet],” she says.

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