Laura Prepon is famous for playing a woman in prison. But there is a real woman behind Prepon's character on Orange Is the New Black. For the longest time, Prepon did not get to talk with her, but now she has. Prepon is thrilled that her inspiration is pleased with her work.
Laura Prepon's character on OITNB is Alex Vause. She is paramour to the show's central character, Piper Chapman. While Piper is based on real-life Piper Kernan, who write the book Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, the character of Alex is based on Cleary Wolters.
Prepon did not get to meet Wolters when she took on the role, but she wanted to.
"When we first started the show I wanted to meet with her and pick her brain and talk to her, you know, and I wasn't allowed to. She was kind of MIA," Prepon explains.
While Orange Is the New Black is described as a "dramedy," they do take liberties with how things really are in prison. Prepon was not sure how Wolters would feel about that.
But Wolters recently published a memoir of her own, capitalizing on the OITNB popularity. Her book is called Out of Orange: A Memoir, and she sets the record straight about a few things.
Wolters sent Laura Prepon a signed copy of her memoir, along with a letter.
"She basically was like, 'Thank you so much for your portrayal,'" Laura Prepon says.
I'm still not over Laura Prepon's acting in season 3. UNREAL. All the awards.
— ALL THINGS OITNB (@AllThingsOITNB) June 13, 2015
Wolters is grateful to Prepon, but she has spoken about some things in which the show varies from real life. For example, Wolters insists that she and Piper never had sex.
"We did not have sex in prison," Wolters says, "Not even a little bit."
“Praying is about the most intimate thing two people can do in some places, not sex,” Wolters says. “We made some mean dinners together, though, out of cans of cheese, corn chips, and chili, and Piper learned how to communicate effectively through a toilet.”
— Alex (@itsmeAlex28) June 13, 2015
But Wolters understands the need to stretch the reality of life in prison a bit for a show, including some parts of Laura Prepon's portrayal of her. She says the true story would be “so wretched and stinky, it would quite possibly result in a collapsed universe. So I guess it’s a good thing Piper and Jenji stick with the fun little tidbits.”
Wolters' book, Out of Orange is described as "an intimate look at international drug crime—a seemingly glamorous lifestyle that dazzles unsuspecting young women and eventually leads them to the seedy world of prison."
The scene Wolters paints is not quite the same as Laura Prepon and her fellow cast mates on OITNB put on screen.
“We were ghosts of the humans we had once been, milling about amongst hundreds of other human ghosts, shackled and chained, prodded through transport centers at gunpoint, moved through holding facilities,” says Wolters
— ë (@hippievidaa) June 13, 2015