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Five questions with...Uzo Aduba of ‘Orange Is the new Black’

Posted 12:00am on Saturday, Aug. 02, 2014

Uzo Aduba of ‘Orange Is the New Black’

Orange Is the New Black actress Uzo Aduba is flooded with marriage proposals these days.

“People on the street, people on Twitter ask, ‘Can I be your prison wife?’ I’m like you know, ‘Name the day and the time,’ ” Aduba joked.

Aduba plays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix original series about a women’s prison.

She’s nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series along with her Orange co-stars Laverne Cox and Natasha Lyonne.

Fan reaction also includes questions about her character’s unique hairstyle and her most memorable quotes. “ ‘Chocolate and vanilla swirl,’ always. Throwing pie, dandelions, that they’re not crazy, they’re unique,” she said. “For it to be received the way it has been, it’s humbling.”

For Aduba, the role is much more than Suzanne’s quirky hairdo and scene-stealing one-liners. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, the Nigerian-American actress said she’s thrilled to be involved in a show that is pushing boundaries and shattering stereotypes.

1 Is the discussion about the lack of diversity in Hollywood overblown?

I don’t think it’s overblown if I’m speaking candidly. I think the attraction is the freshness of it, the uniqueness of it. I think that’s what the thirst is for, something else and different and new with regards to diversity, with regards to gender, with regards to orientation representation, with regards to the number of each of those things on a singular show.

2. The series has a number of celebrity fans, including your friend Lupita Nyong’o. How did you meet?

We met some years ago in this play Eclipsed [written by] another friend of ours Danai Gurira, who’s on The Walking Dead. … We did [the play] together and she’s just so phenomenally talented and just so beautiful from her heart to her work as well. Just like phenomenal.

3. There’s a stereotype about women in Hollywood not getting along. Has that been your experience?

There is a myth out in the world that women can’t work together. And I don’t know if it’s a chicken or an egg thing or what, but … it’s not true. … I think it’s an idea that is put out there maybe to divide and conquer. … It’s something that I just have to write off as being a lie. If you bring good people together, regardless of their gender … they’re going to collaborate and support each other and that’s going to happen. And that’s what I feel like I’m a part of on Orange.

4. What was it like to receive an Emmy nomination?

The word is bananas or crazy (pause) eyes. … I just love to act. I like to make good work. And I like to tell good stories, and I’m just thankful, humbled and grateful that people are enjoying it as much as we enjoyed making it, you know?

5. Do you have an Emmy dress picked out?

Aduba: I have no idea yet. I dream in color, and I have visions of feelings and energies that I would love to feel.

— Nicole Evatt, The Associated Press

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