Samira Wiley reveals she was outed by Orange Is the New Black cast mate
Samira Wiley has revealed she was left in tears when she was outed in the media by an Orange is the New Black cast mate.
Wiley played lesbian fan favourite Poussey Washington on the Netflix series, and recently got married to OITNB writer Lauren Morelli in real life.
But in an interview this week, Wiley revealed she was in the closet when she first started the role in 2013, and was actually outed by another member of the cast.
The actress spoke to WNYC’s Nancy podcast about what went down.
She said: “From the beginning I was playing a gay character, I always thought of her in that way… [but] first season, I wasn’t out at all.
“But someone from the cast actually, was doing an interview and talking about out gay actors in the cast. They mentioned my name and I saw it in print, and I cried. I cried a lot.
“I tried to get it taken down. Look, I had a journey, I was not always a super open-hearted gay gay-mo!”
She added: “That’s something that somebody took from me, you know? You should be able to come out on your own terms, so that was probably a little deeper.”
The actor did not name the cast member or the publication that outed her.
Despite the invasion of her privacy, playing the role also helped Wiley come to terms with herself, aside from introducing her to her future wife.
She said: “I wasn’t out in the beginning, but I think falling in love with [the character of] Poussey helped me fall in love with myself as well.”
The actress quipped: “By fourth season, I was like, ‘Hey, come give me yo’ puss!'”
Despite her all-too-abrupt exit from Orange is the New Black, the star has found more success as gay character Moira on hit series The Handmaid’s Tale.
In addition to her two major roles as gay characters, Wiley recently took part in a staged reading of The Laramie Project, based on the homophobic murder of Matthew Shepard.
Speaking about playing a number of LGBT+ characters, Wiley said: “I am a strong believer in whatever’s supposed to happen will happen.
“I think if I wasn’t portraying these characters, I wonder about my journey with my own sexual orientation, how I would embrace that and walk through the world if I wasn’t able to inhabit the characters I have been.
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“It’s not a choice [to play major gay roles] but I’m very happy it’s worked out this way.”
She added: “In the beginning of my career I had some ideas about what I could do and what I couldn’t do because of who I am, and one of the things I couldn’t do was, I can do this once but if I play gay twice, then I’m that and I’m typecast… whatever, whatever!
“I have been able to play two complex characters who are both black gay women, but are completely different from each other.
“I think that’s important, to be able to show how multi-faceted we are, and I think those things helped me embrace all the facets of myself.”