Photos by Javier Romero
We’ve got some exciting changes coming in the next few months including a brand new dedicated film section. We’ll also have content on Latino television shows and webseries. In advance of our new site, here’s a look at our feature on the Latina cast of Orange is the New Black.
Rewind a few months back to when, on June 6, the hotly anticipated second season of Orange is the New Black drops on Netflix, in its entirety, during the wee hours of the night. I actually contemplate getting up at 3:00 a.m. (when it’ll be available on the East Coast) to watch a few episodes before heading to work Friday morning but, I begrudgingly decide against it, because that evening I’ll be at a premiere party for season two organized by the Women’s Prison Association, a more than 150 year-old non-profit that the real life Piper is closely affiliated with.
The WPA helps women who have recently left the prison system transition to regular life by finding housing, jobs, and healthcare. As an organization run by women for women, they know their audience. The evening’s festivities will include screening the first episode of season two, appearances by cast members of OITNB, a musical performance by one of its Latina stars, Jackie Cruz, and ziploc baggies full of snacks on every table, in case the audience gets hungry. The goodie bags are filled with Oreos, candy corn, and other stuff that is — of course — either orange or black.
Since I’ve spent the past week doing long phone interviews with the Latinas on the show — Diane Guerrero, Laura Gomez, Jessica Pimentel, and Jackie Cruz — about the new season, I feel like I already know them.
After lots of staring at the clock, the workday is finally over and I make my way to the West Village. I get there early but there’s already a long line of diehard fans, mostly women, snaking down the block outside of the Bitter End. By the time I settle into a seat, order a drink, and grab a bag of orange and black snacks, the show is about to begin.
As several actresses take to the stage, they begin to introduce themselves, one by one. First up is Laura Gomez.
With huge, frizzy hair and a painted on unibrow, Laura plays Blanca Flores, one of Litchfield’s most wacked-out inmates. She jokes about not wanting to be recognized: “If people do recognize me I think, “Oh shit. I look like shit.” The audience erupts into laughter and applause…