Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee Jefferson, is definitely aware that this season brought the pain and she welcomed the challenge. "The backstory was a lot of fun to get, because that just opened the door to so much more of who she was for me. But her life in prison was what shocked the heck out of me," she told us, in regards to the increasingly bad decisions Taystee made over the course of the season, aligning herself with Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) over her longtime best friend, Poussey (Samira Wiley). "I was so — Danielle, me — I wanted to lead Taystee on a different path, but that was the challenge. I had to stay true to what was on the page."
Representation also matters to Brooks and she was excited to shine a spotlight on diverse images of woman at the Young Hollywood Awards. "I'm just happy to be here and I feel like it's so important to be here and represent young Hollywood in a different light, someone who doesn't always look like normal Hollywood. So that's important to me, that people feel represented. I'm glad to be here for that reason."
When we caught up with Alysia Reiner, who plays assistant warden, Natalie Figueroa, she was similarly excited about the challenges that Season 2 brought. Her favorite moments? "It would have to be two things, it would have to be 'M. Night Shalamalama', that speech was like an aria written for Fig, and when I read that, I just wanted to send my writers a present," she said. "And then, of course, the BJ scene."
That particular scene, where Fig attempts to trade sexual favors to get some mercy from Caputo, was painful to watch, but Reiner still enjoyed the tension. "[The scene] has a lot of layers and it's really quite beautiful and amazing to see her underbelly."
And as for Season 3? Brooks has no predictions, but she's excited to see where Taystee's headed since the climactic finale. "I feel like her maturity level is growing, but I have no clue where it's gonna go. And the fun part about Season 2 was that it was a challenge, because it wasn't just the old Taystee that we know. So, for Season 3, I hope that it's just the same way, a challenge for an actor. It's good when you get gifts like that," she told us.
Reiner, on the other hand, just wants to see Fig get her comeuppance. "Oh man, whatever imagination that they create for her, I know will be spectacular. I believe in karma, so I would love to see Fig get some karma thrown back at her at some point," she laughed.
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