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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.

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