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Taylor Schilling: 'I've always felt different'

Published 17/06/2016

Taylor Schilling
Taylor Schilling

Taylor Schilling finds herself fascinated by her Orange Is the New Black character Piper Chapman, and her need to put up a front.

Actress Taylor Schilling knows what it's like to feel "different" from others.

The blonde beauty landed her biggest role to date as prison inmate Piper Chapman in Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, the fourth series of which goes online on Friday (17Jun16). Over the past three seasons fans have witnessed Piper explore her sexuality by having relationships with women, struggle as her engagement to a man crumbled and experience a huge array of crime behind bars, and Taylor has empathised with her alter ego through all the ups and downs.

"I've never been in jail so I can't directly relate to that kind of an experience," she told DIVA magazine. "But I understand the perspective of someone who was meant to follow the rules of getting married, having children, and being successful...

"I grew up feeling very different and that is something I understood about Piper and how she has to abandon the facade while she's in prison and stop trying to keep up appearances. As soon as I started playing the character I was fascinated by all the dilemmas she's facing in terms of who she really is and who she has been pretending she is to others in her life."

Taylor, 31, is proud to be a part of the programme and praises it for giving women their own narrative while presenting them in a "compelling, complex, raw and vulnerable way." And as her character and on screen love interest Alex Vause, played by Laura Prepon, are based on real people, the actress feels the show also has authenticity.

Despite her growing fan base, Taylor hasn't let stardom go to her head, even when she's been approached in the most bizarre places.

"In Spain recently, I was out at dinner and went to the loo and this woman knocked on the door," she recently recalled to U.K. Cosmopolitan magazine. "I was like, 'I'll be straight out.' And she said, 'No, no, I just want a photograph.' She just wanted me to know she was there waiting!"

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