INTERVIEW: Orange is the New Black's Alysia Reiner Talks to Andrea

Alysia Reiner, who plays Fig on the iconic Netflix show talks season 7, activism, and the souvenir she took home from the set

July 25, 2019
Alysia Reiner of Orange is the New Black at B101

B101 staff

Who remembers when Orange is the New Black premiered all those years ago? The Eagles hadn't won a Super Bowl. No one had ever heard Baby Shark. And it was weird to have all the episodes of a tv show out all at once. And OITNB did so much to change the world, with its focus on women, particularly women of color, particularly women of color in the corrections system. There hasn't really been anything like it since.

And it's all over! The final season, Season 7, premieres on Netflix on July 26th.

If you're an OITNB fan, you know who Fig is and you probably love to haaaaaate her (or hate to love her, a little bit, like me, and we'll get to that in the interview!). She's Natalie "Fig" Figueroa, the tough-as-nails former Warden's Assistant then Warden of Litchfield Prison. She's a character that's infuriatingly callous as an antagonist to the rest of the cast, but also a product of trying to work within a system that's rigged against pretty much everyone in it. I read a recap where the writer called her "the cobra-eyed Cersei of my heart" which sums her up perfectly. But Alysia Reiner, who plays her, is pretty much the complete opposite. Warm, friendly, incredibly invested in helping to continue the legacy of the show and broadening the change it inspires. She came to B101's studio and we got to sit down for an interview that covered a wide range of things, and, like OITNB itself, got into some weighty topics but also had fun.

I did get to see the season earlier in the week to prep for this (when you watch and wanna talk but your friends aren't caught up, @ me!) and I asked Alysia for she felt about How It Ends:

 

Watch the full interview below as we talk about the emotional journey of the show in the current political climate, what it's like playing a woman like Natalie Figueroa, the one thing of Fig's that she kept from the set, and--in an amazing random combination of two of my favorite things--we imagined what it would be like if Fig had lunch with Brene Brown. The vulnerability! The cobra-eyed death stares! Netflix please get to work on that spinoff.