Samira Wiley has become a lesbian icon with roles in The Handmaid's Tale and Orange is the New Black. Last year, she got married to Lauren Morelli, a writer for the Netflix show.
Although the actress has become one of the LGBTQ community's most recognizable names, she was not out when she started playing Poussey Washington, the beloved lesbian character on OITNB. In a recent interview for Nancy, a WNYC podcast, she revealed that she was originally outed by a costar. Although she didn't say who, she recalls crying after seeing the words in print.
“From the beginning, I was playing a gay character, I always thought of her in that way," Wiley says. "First season, I wasn’t out at all. But someone from the cast 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.”
“That’s something that somebody took from me, you know?" she added. "You should be able to come out on your own terms, so that was probably a little deeper.”
Although she didn't get the coming out moment she deserved, she said that playing Poussey helped her come to terms with her identity.
“I wasn’t out in the beginning," she says. "But I think falling in love with Poussey helped me fall in love with myself as well.”