‘Orange Is the New Black’ team backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK”

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

The cast of "Orange Is the New Black" at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
The cast of “Orange Is the New Black” at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How do you all stay connected without getting into feuds?

Samira Wiley: You’re asking us that most of us are women. I think a lot of us in the very first year of this show, most of us were did not have any fame or anything like that. And we really went through this journey together, figuring out how to navigate press, how to navigate being in this industry. And I think that that really fostered a camaraderie.

Kimiko Glenn: I feel like there’s a lot of respect between all of us. I know every time the show comes out, I’m like blown away. I’m texting everyone, like, “Wow that’s amazing.” I feel like it and everyone are so wonderful and sweet, and everyone is just doing their thing so well.

Emily Althaus: It’s also work. We’re going to work, and so we have the benefit of becoming great friends after working maybe such long hours or whatever but it still works, so we’re professional adults.

Glenn: It’s pretty chill.

Annie Golden: We’re professional adults who have been totally blessed. So there it is. It’s gratitude and you’re happy to be there with each other.

James McMenamin: The cast is wonderful and talented. The women are talented and strong and impassioned. And I’m just proud to be part of it.

Samira, can you tell a little about when you found out the arc of your character in this season that was so emotional? How was the process well until the end?

Wiley: Sure. Absolutely. I knew about what was going to happen to my character over a year before it got released. The real story is I knew about six to nine months before the rest of my cast knew, so the entire time we were shooting Season 4, I had a dirty little secret. I remember when that when that script first came out and everyone else you know found out just by reading it and getting to the end, I got a lot of texts a lot of calls that day. But you know, we all got through it together, just like we’ve all gotten through everything together this entire journey.

You had a case of the giggles during your acceptance speech. Was it just because you’re still a winner or was there a particular mood or a particular meaning to tonight?

Abigail Savage: We were surprised. I didn’t expect it.

Wiley: Okay, the way they work these seats, the last time we were sort of upfront, and another time we were sort of upfront, but this time, we were in the back, so we didn’t think we were going to win.

Golden: We’ve never had Taylor Schilling with us. She’s always been working when we have this award. So the fact that Taylor had to step up. And then the mood on the red carpet was so politically heavy we were like, “How’s our girl going to going to pull it out?” And she pulled it out. It’s like we were giddy.

What does it mean to all of you to be on a show as diverse as inclusive as “Orange Is the New Black” during these times that are quite divisive right now?

Lori Petty: I think we reflect reality and that all of the separations are man-made. We live on Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot, and we’ve always been one, will always be one, and they just want to cut us up. And love will conquer all this. So if they’re going to lock up a Muslim, they’re going to lock up us.

“Orange Is the New Black” is on a winning streak. What does that reflect in your personal life the success of the show?

Selenis Leyva: I think that we’re also honored to just be working with each other, to be telling real stories, diverse stories, stories that reflect our world. We’re just really blessed. And I think that it just the audience really accepts it because they can relate to it, you know what I mean? And that’s really important especially during these times. Art is going to be very important during the next four years. We’re just so blessed. Thank you.

You all bring a good vibe to this event. What is it about your show that brings such goodness here?

Jessica Pimentel: We’re all drunk!

Danielle Brooks: No, we’re not.

Dale Soules: We’re all family, and it all starts with [“Orange Is the New Black” executive producer/creator] Jenji Kohan setting the bar for all of us to be ego-free. We work together as a family, and we really love each other.

Elizabeth Rodriguez: We love and respect each other and are really thrilled to be here.

Dascha Polanco: It’s also the true representation of what the world is. I know diversity is a trend now, but this is what it really is and the stories that are being told that we’ve been working on have connected not only in America but throughout the world so this is what is. This is what the world is, and we’re very proud to be here to represent all of us.

Brooks: And I also want to say we’re very grateful for this moment.