While she loves to turn it up on the red carpet, the actress' fashion edge disappears in roles like her braided prostitute in "Hustle & Flow," pregnant teen in "Crossroads," and her meth-mouthed inmate Pennsatucky on "Orange Is the New Black."
In an interview with TooFab ahead of "OITNB's" Season 5 drop, the actress opened up about her "less than glamorous" work on the Netflix series, being "typecast" as a "troubled" character throughout her career and her favorite memories from the set of "Crossroads" -- which just celebrated its 15th anniversary.
We can't wait for this show to come back.
It's a really fun role. The outfits are less than glamorous. Especially my character, she wears no makeup. It's the greatest job, you just roll right out of bed. You're like, 'I look terrible,' oh great. I have a lot of fun on that show, it's been life changing.
And you get more people coming up to you these days ...
They want a hug. Lots of hugs I give out these days. It's very sweet.
What can you tease about the new season, we know it all takes place over three days. Does that make it different for you when you're filming?
It was hard, because we'd film, it takes 10 days to do an episode. Sometimes they'll condense your schedule so it's all in one day so then you have a bunch of time off. But this one lended towards more of that. It's all in three days and it's really hectic.
Can you tease anything?
No. But, you know, there's a reason why it takes place in three days.
What's it like, this phenomenon, being on a show like this? Netflix is such a big thing now and your show was one of the first ones that made it happen.
It's pretty cool. When I was given the offer for Pennsatucky, I heard Jenji Kohan was the show runner and everyone's like from 'Weeds,' and that was quality, on this platform called Netflix, which I was aware of because you'd rent movies from it. When they said they were making original content, like, I was down. I was like, alright cool. And then I got it and I was off to New York in two days.
Is it crazy now how big streaming original programming has gotten?
They have so many shows each year, they're doing so well. It's everywhere.
A lot of the Netflix stuff. I do love House of Cards. [Kevin Spacey] is amazing, I met him at a Netflix party and he was so cool to me. Loved him. Just so cool and down to earth, I was really pleased to say the least.
You've played a lot of different characters throughout your career, but there seems to be a common thread through a lot of them. Do you feel almost pigeonholed?
I think there is a little bit of typecasting, stereotyping that happens. I tried to go against that in my mid-20s and it didn't work. So it was like, alright, 'Noted.' There's a common thread of a troubled character, like a flawed character that gets pregnant, gets herself in trouble, is on drugs. But each character I play is a different human being too. I think I've done a good job at making them all different.
We are big 'Crossroads' fans at TooFab. We got a quote from Britney Spears about her favorite memory and it involved you. She said her favorite memory was 'when everyone realized you had an amazing singing voice' and the three of you were singing in a car.
Really? Aww, so sweet. She sang one day, the national anthem. I think me and Zoe were like sing for us please. And she's like 'OK y'all' and then she started singing and her voice is like angelic and perfect. Some people maybe try to say she couldn't sing, but she sings amazingly.
What was your favorite memory?
Every morning we'd all share what we did the night before. Her and I went and got tattoos together after work one day and that was fun. We got the same thing, it was cute. A little Chinese symbol that means something.Her and I's secret.
Did you do anything for the anniversary?
There were tons of tweets. I was like, 15 years, wow. We've all been through a lot, so much different things have happened to all of us good or bad. Zoe's been killing it out there, Britney's doing great, I feel like I'm doing alright, Anson's good. That was really fun, I remember when I got that part, I think I cried.
"Orange Is the New Black" Season 5 hits Netflix on Friday, June 9.