R celebrity life
ecognized by her fans for the multitude of roles she’s portrayed over a career that spans almost 20 years, actress Alysia Reiner is widely known for her role on the hit Netflix show “Orange is the New Black.” And while she may portray a tough-as-nails, nononsense prison warden with multiple layers to her personality, Reiner couldn’t be more different than the character she portrays. Along with acting, something she always knew was in the cards, Reiner is a producer, designer (she is the co-founder of the eco-friendly ethical label, Livari), humanitarian, and environmentalist. Her driving mission: To find ways she can incite change and create opportunities for those in need. “It is so important that we leave the world better than [when] we came here,” she explains. As an artist, the actress says she has been fortunate to be able to explore her creativity in a variety of different ways. “When I was 6 years old, I told my aunt I wanted to be an actress, a painter, and a writer… I wanted to dabble,” she recalls. “I notice now I actually do sort of dabble.”
BELLA sat down with Reiner to talk about everything from the projects she’s working on, including her new film “Egg” (in theatres January 2019), to the different ways in which she is doing her part to bring change to our world while setting an example for her daughter Livia.
You’ve been a part of “Orange is the New Black” since it began in 2013, and the series is ending next year with season seven. What has the experience been like for you? I have tried to really appreciate it as one of those magical life experiences. It is my deepest hope and desire that I get to have another experience like this one. When we started, Netflix wasn’t Netflix, and people would say, “You’re really doing a web series?” Nobody had made a TV show with so many women and such a diverse cast. There have been so many firsts—we had never seen a transgender woman in the way we see it on the show. The writing and the acting are both incredible. The show is entertaining and educational, and it is my dream as an artist to tell stories that help make the world a better place, and a bit ‘more woke,’ as they say. I hope I get to do much more of this, but I also have to be careful of my expectations that every situation will be as wonderful as this one has been. What do you enjoy most about the character you play? To create this woman who has had this journey—that is the spectacular gift of being on a show for many seasons. Viewers have gotten to see so many layers without it being rushed or seeming false because it was rushed; that is the magic of Netflix. If you could write Fig’s, ending what would it look like? I would love to see her wake up to her own humanity, develop that softer side a bit more and really make a change in that system or leave it and go work in a field where she can make a difference. In season three she really wanted to have a baby; if she could have that, that would make me happy. But who knows what she wants now!