An Episode With: Taylor Schilling
Michele Manelis talks with Taylor Schilling about the final season of Orange is the New Black and newfound freedom
Being on such a long-running show must’ve changed a lot of lives.
Yes, it was incredibly poignant. The show has changed all of our lives tremendously. It makes me emotional now just to think about it. We are just all very close and I just feel so privileged to have been a part of it. And on the other hand, I am also thrilled that we are getting a chance to move on. It’s important. But yeah, it was very ripe, it was very full, it was a really full experience moving into the last year.
This is your seventh and final season. Your character, Piper, is finally out of prison and living on the outside. How does it feel?
I feel like we’ve been waiting for this journey to land for almost seven years. It’s been very interesting to feel her explore prison life and now watching her in this new situation, it was very juicy and exciting to see what it would be like to experience the world again after being incarcerated.
It must be refreshing that Taylor Schilling is also experiencing a newfound freedom. What are you doing these days?
I am taking some acting classes right now. I started out in theatre and I went to graduate school at NYU and I really missed that experience. And I am so looking forward to having a bit more of a clear schedule and the ability to challenge myself in a few areas. So, basically, just following my own curiosity and wherever that sense of freedom leads, I’ll follow.
When you started going up for auditions you were working as a nanny. Was it a good experience?
Yeah, I actually had been working for a nanny before I got my first job, which was a show called Mercy and that was when I was in college and in graduate school. Being a nanny was an adventure. I was a really good nanny, actually. I had a good time. And at that time, spending time with kids . . . I learned a lot about myself and that stuck with me, for sure.
What’s been one of the standout perks that’s come your way as a result of being in the spotlight?
Oh without a doubt, this is the most magical thing that has happened ... there was a Netflix party, it was years ago and I had just read one of Jane Fonda’s autobiographies. I couldn’t believe it but there she was sitting right there at this party. A friend introduced me to her and she was familiar with my work, which I couldn’t believe. So, getting a chance to establish a relationship with her was mind-blowing.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I’m quite active. I like to spend time outside. But really, I’m quite boring. I like to arrange my time around resting and seeing people who I love. There’s not a lot in between.
When you go to red carpet events do you use a stylist?
Oh yeah. I couldn’t figure it out on my own. I like fashion a lot but I don’t like to shop a lot, so it’s fun to have somebody there to help. So, I get to go play dress-up for an hour or two and then we decide what works together. It’s always a lot of fun and it’s a collaboration.
Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self starting out?
I would tell her that she is enough and that she is enough in the midst of whatever is happening and whatever is life-changing for her at that moment. But most importantly, that she remains enough.
The final season of Orange Is The New Black will be available to stream on Netflix from July 26.