Entertainment

Here’s What The OINTB Cast Has Been Up To Since Last Season

In case you missed it, “Orange is the New Black” (OITNB)’s Season 6 will be premiering on Netflix on July 27, so clear your schedules. The show has been a major catalyst in raising Americans awareness about the injustices that are so embedded in the prison system–from the 1 in 6 versus 1 in 17 chance of a Latino going to prison versus a white male, to the social consequences of the wave of privatized prisons and how immigration policies today funnels into that system. OITNB also employs an incredible Latina cast, and since the last season release, they have been using their platform to get loud about the issues that matter most to them.

They’ve been hanging out with each other.

CREDIT: @dianeguerrero_ / Instagram

On-screen besties, Flaca and Maritza, are just as good of friends IRL. Diane Guerrero (left) and Jackie Cruz (right) are basically living their character’s out-of-jail dream as beauty icons and influencers. Here’s what else they’ve been up to.

Diane Guerrero has used her platform for immigration reform.

CREDIT: @dianeguerrero_ / Instagram

Guerrero has her own personal story of being separated from her family when she came home from school one day to an empty house. Her undocumented parents and older brother had been deported back to Colombia, while she stayed behind with her American citizenship, because she was born in New Jersey.

Caption: “SCHOOLS NOT PRISONS 🦋”

Guerrero also received an honorary doctorate.

CREDIT: @dianeguerrero_ / Instagram

Guerrero grew up in Boston after being taken in by other Colombian families. She attended Boston Arts Academy and went on to work in a law office before she decided to pursue a career in acting. She was invited back to her alma mater, Regis College, to give the commencement speech.

Meanwhile, Cruz has been taking selfies with her fans. ❣️

CREDIT: @jackiecruz / Instagram

Cruz was born in Queens and grew up between Los Angeles and Santiago, Dominican Republic. She was raised by a single mother until she moved out at 16 years old and became homeless. A year later, she was hit by a car and fell into a coma. She survived, but only after suffering from a collapsed lung and brain surgery.

Cruz also dropped a single, “La Hora Loca.”

CREDIT: @jackiecruz / Instagram

When Cruz was in high school, she was in a band called Krush Velvet and even came close to signing an album deal with with will.i.am producers. Last year, she released a music video called “Dog,” meant to fight back against the patriarchy and violence against women.

Just last month, she released a single in both English and Spanish that we’ll all want to play the moment our tios ask us to make him una cafe con leche. Response: “You gon’ have to work.”

We’ve been swooning at Cruz’ selfies from around the world.

CREDIT: @jackiecruz / Instagram

Fun fact: Cruz and Kourtney Kardashian were friends after meeting in an art class, and the two were filmed kissing on “Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami.” Cruz doesn’t like to be labeled but has been with women before, and is with a man currently.

📍Taken at the Hohenzollern Bridge.

Caption: “Infinity and Beyond kinda ❤️🔒🇩🇪 #loveislove”

Elizabeth Rodriguez has been cast in Hulu’s “Chance” series.

CREDIT: @theonlyelizabethrodriguez / Instagram

In the show, la boricua Queen plays una doctura named Kirsten Clayton, in one of her most chill roles ever. Fun fact: Rodriguez has been nominated for a Tony for her performance in a 2011 play called The Motherfucker with the Hat. Mami’s talented.

Caption: “#actorslife #waiting 4hours #iloveacting #hollywood #Chance#Hulu Esperando 4 horas en mi trailer para trabajar #lavidadeactriz”

Rodriguez has also been getting busy taking selfies with coquito.

CREDIT: @theonlyelizabethrodriguez / Instagram

Como una boricua real. 💃🏽 My mom definitely takes some ✨classy✨ pics with her frosted glass of coquito every Christmas.

If you live in NYC like Rodriguez, we hear all the good things about “Brooklyn Coquito”. Get coquito wasted and @ us.

And using her middle finger for good.

CREDIT: @theonlyelizabethrodriguez / Instagram

When Trump went to visit Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, he took the opportunity toss paper towels at the victims as if that is what they wanted from the President of the United States.

On International Women’s Day, the whole cast repped “Phenomenal Women”

CREDIT: @theonlyelizabethrodriguez / Instagram

Caption: “Today is #InternationalWomensDay, which celebrates the achievements of women across the globe. Over the last year, we’ve seen an unprecedented movement for women’s rights, and one thing is clear: our time is now. We are phenomenal, and we will make the world a better place for all women. Show your support with this Maya Angelou-inspired tee from @phenomenal.ly. 💃🏻💃🏼💃🏽💃🏾💃🏿”

They were all over the world, but together in spirit (and shirt).

CREDIT: @thecrusher007 / Instagram

Caption:

“I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
— Maya Angelou

Thank you @phenomenal.ly Cheers to all the women who didn’t just knock on the door of the boys club. They kicked that door down and continue do so. Special shout out to @girlswhocode and @williemaerockcamp you’re next.”

Their captions were everything.

CREDIT: @mslauragomez / Instagram

Caption: “Reflecting on the achievements of the women workers who started the fight for equal rights and better labor conditions and celebrating those across the globe making the world a better place for all women. How to be a #phenomenalwoman and not to die in the attempt?! You can show support with this Maya Angelou-inspired tee from @phenomenal.ly. #internationalwomensday ~ “¿cómo ser mujer y no morir en el intento?” #diainternacionaldelamujer”

Selenis Levya took the opportunity to speak to how Latinas specifically suffer worse.

CREDIT: @selenisleyvaofficial / Instagram

Caption: “Today is #LatinaEqualPayDay. It represents the fact that the gender pay gap is greatest for LATINAS , who must work 11 extra months in 2017 to catch up to what non Hispanic, white men made in 2016. It’s an injustice to all women that Latinas earn only .54 cents for every $1 that goes to white men. Soy Una Mujer FENOMENAL- and I deserve EQUAL PAY! Support seven women’s orgs with this Maya Angelou inspired tee from @phenomenal.ly”

Levya’s compassion extends even beyond humans.

CREDIT: @selenisleyvaofficial / Instagram

Of course, she’s hella active in human rights issues, and she still finds time to make it to Animal League. Here’s why:

“Thank you @animalleague for all you do !! Adopt!!! My furbabies have forever changed me! Help this baby and many other #dogs and #cats find forever homes💙🙏🏼 #getyourrescueon#adoption”

Oh, and she met Joe Biden.

CREDIT: @selenisleyvaofficial / Instagram

Caption: “When you see your #VicePresident @vp44 and you’re both excited about the moment !!! I said to him ” we miss you, please help us”…….. what he said was spectacular!! #hopeful this is us at the @antiviolence courage awards my face still hurts from my EXTRA cheesy smile #highlight #grace #elegance #intelligence #eloquentspeaker I needed this 🙌🏼💙👏🏼🇺🇸”

And casually became a cartoon duck.

CREDIT: @selenisleyvaofficial / Instagram

Of course she looks badass with an eyebrow arch that could kill.

Caption: “Meet M”ma !!! @disneychannel @disney @ducktalestv – I’ve always wanted to be a cartoon 🦄😜…carry on ✌🏽#shescute”

Dascha Polanco is stunning as always.

CREDIT: @sheisdash / Instagram

We know her as Dayanara “Daya” Diaz, but you should really get to know Dascha Polanco. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, she immigrated to the U.S. when she was young. She always wanted to be an actress but felt self-defeated because of her weight.

Polanco majored in Psychology at Hunter College and started working in hospital admin in the Bronx with the intention of becoming a nurse. Then she gave it one last shot and landed this gig.

Her hair game has been legendary this summer.

CREDIT: @sheisdash / Instagram

You can see it in the hashtags. 😂

Caption: “Anoche … dime ? How was your night ? #ismellgood #selflovery#changinghairstyleslikemyundergarments”

Not pictured: Polanco is sporty af.

CREDIT: @sheisdash / Instagram

In the last year, she’s participated as a celebrity guest on the basketball courts and now in the Major League Baseball’s All Star game. You win my heart, Dascha.

Jessica Pimentel is even more badass IRL than Maria Ruiz in OITNB.

CREDIT: @thecrusher007 / Instagram

Pimentel is the lead singer of heavy metal band Alekhine’s Gun and is also a vocalist in Brujeria. When she’s not filming for OITNB, she’s screaming heavy metal!

No matter who your favorite is, you can assume que está viviendo, aprendiendo y creciendo.

CREDIT: @mslauragomez / Instagram

At the end of the day, they’re all just Latinos, like us, who show the world what a Spanish Harlem is made of. You won’t find any stereotypes on OITNB, or in the cast mates.

Caption: “Living. Learning. Growing ~ Viviendo. Aprendiendo. Creciendo”

This ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actress Says She Broke Down Crying Just While Shooting An ICE Scene

Entertainment

This ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actress Says She Broke Down Crying Just While Shooting An ICE Scene

When it comes to her role as Natalie “Fig” Figueroa on Netflix’s hit series “Orange Is The New Black” actress and activist Alysia Reiner might come off just as cold bolded as Fig is. The break out star has become known for her role as the series secondary antagonist of OITNB’s first two seasons where we watched her callously deal with the show’s female inmates.

But in a recent interview Reiner, the name behind the series’ character who ultimately became an anti-hero in later seasons, is proving she’s got a much softer heart than her character might lead us to believe.

During the series’ final season Fig took on the role of warden at an ICE detainment facility.

The highly talked about story plot has received rave reviews from critics for its timeliness and heartfelt depiction of current events related to immigration in the U.S. Many of the series beloved characters battled issues such as deportation, and saw one of the series original cast members sent back to a country she hardly knew.

As warden of the facility, Fig was often caught up in the terror of ICE and the depicted border crisis. Speaking about the experience of shooting these scenes with Buzzfeed, Reiner said that she found herself often experiencing overwhelm.

At one point, Reiner said that “just the imaginary circumstance of it” was upsetting.

“My character doesn’t break down. She handles it. She keeps it in,” Reiner said in the interview. “But after two takes, it was the first time in my life where I stopped a set, where I could not breathe and I could not stop crying. Just the idea of what’s going on… It’s deeply heartbreaking.”

After only having a “light” version of the experience that so many women, men, and children are currently enduring on U.S. soil, Reiner is encouraging fans of the show to get involved.

In her interview, Reiner encouraged fans of the show to contact “representatives to say this is not okay.”

Reiner specifically encouraged fans to contact their local representatives to address a recent incident involving ICE that had directly been influenced by the show. Earlier this month, after the show featured a real and free hotline that offered detainees a chance to contact lawyers, ICE shut it down.


“This hotline is necessary for people in detention centers. It’s horrific that it’s been shut down, so deeply wrong,” Reiner said during her interview and encouraged users to contact representatives to complain.

ICE Targets Immigrant Helpline After It Appears In Episode Of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Proving The Cruelty Is The Point

Things That Matter

ICE Targets Immigrant Helpline After It Appears In Episode Of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Proving The Cruelty Is The Point

@cmargalaz / Twitter

In it’s seventh and final season, Orange Is The New Black aired a storyline to shed light on the dehumanizing features of immigration detention centers. However, there was a glimmer of hope presented in the fictional Netflix series: a hotline for immigrant detainees that provided free lawyers. Best of all, the hotline existed in real life. It’s not crazy to think that the level of exposure the show provided for the hotline could literally save lives. 

But even on the show, use of the hotline came with a warning: “You have to be careful, though. Apparently, if they figure out that you’re using the hotline, Big Brother shuts it down,” Gloria warns Maritza in the seventh season. 

In a chilling twist, consistent with the Trump administration’s war against immigrants, two weeks after the series aired, the hotline was shut down. It’s nothing short of gut-wrenching. 

Immigration advocates want answers. 

The California group Freedom for Immigrants, an organization that runs visitation programs in detention centers nationally and who provides the hotline, believes ICE’s decision to shut down the hotline was a direct response to Maritza’s immigration storyline. 

On Thursday, Freedom for Immigrants responded to the shutdown with a cease and desist letter. The letter claims that termination of the hotline is a violation of free speech and is retaliation by the government. Over 100 organizations and six actors from Orange is the New Black signed the letter addressed to ICE Director Matthew Albence. 

“Even a freely given benefit such as the pro bono hotline can’t be taken away simply because the government is now unhappy with how we are sharing with the public what we know from our communications with people inside,” said Christina Fialho, co-executive director of Freedom for Immigrants.

Maritza’s story is too familiar.

Diane Guerrero who portrays Martiza in the show has been an outspoken advocate of immigration reform. Born to undocumented immigrants from Colombia, Guerrero, who is a citizen, stayed in the U.S. after her family was deported when she was 14. She told her story in the memoir In the Country We Love. Just as it is for most Latinxs living in the U.S., immigration for Guerro is clearly personal. 

When Maritza’s character is essentially left for dead at an immigration detention center, she is told about the Freedom for Immigrants hotline by Gloria. The hotline was toll-free, a pivotal detail because immigrants don’t have the right to a free phone call after they are detained. Heroically, the duo passed the hotline number to other detainees. It was a small act of liberation, as was featuring it on the show. 

Abolish ICE.

ICE told the organization that that tollfree numbers for pro bono attorneys and organizations require approval by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Funny, it was never an issue before. Almost seems like this administration is actively seeking legal loopholes to be as cruel and callous toward immigrants as possible. Freedom for Immigrants has provided the hotline since 2013. The organization received as many as 14,000 calls a month from detainees and is run by volunteers who connect immigrants with free lawyers. Losing this service will have a cascading negative impact on immigrants and their loved ones.

The cruelty is the point.

Meanwhile, the ACLU is suing the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana for the unlawful jailing of Ramon Torres. Despite providing his passport, social security card, and driver’s license to police officers to prove his citizenship, he was jailed for four days. The Sherriff’s Office deputies told Torres that every Hispanic person was being automatically held for immigration review. Yes, they’re rounding us up. Because we know, because we been knew, this was never about immigration status. This has always been about race. 

“Ramon Torres was held in jail for four days simply because he has brown skin and a Latino name,” ACLU of Louisiana legal director Katie Schwartzmann said. “This is racial profiling, which is unconstitutional and deeply harmful to our communities. What happened to Mr. Torres is inexcusable. Locking people up based on race or ethnicity is antithetical to our most cherished American values.”

We won’t be silenced.

There’s no sugar-coating what is happening in the United States. While it has never been the American Dream we were promised, now it is increasingly dangerous to be Latinx in America. Our stories and visibility matter most of all during this time. Art has the power to enlighten and normalize experiences. Art has a way of bringing the unseen to the forefront. This usually activates its viewers for the better. However, we have an administration that lacks any and all humanity. “Now we see life mimic art in the most destructive way,” she said. “I wish this were more of a fictional situation and we were exaggerating reality, but it’s kind of the other way around,” said Laura Gomez who plays Blanca, another character who falls victim to ICE on the show.