"Orangecon" Fan Event "Orangecon" Fan Event
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Jessica Pimentel attends the "Orangecon" Fan Event at Skylight Clarkson SQ. on June 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

Vixen Chat: OITNB's Jessica Pimentel Dishes On Season 3, Set Life And What Keeps Her Grounded

Being a part of one of Netflix's biggest hits is no easy feat, but Orange is the New Black's Jessica Pimentel handles her success like a pro.

Pimentel, the gorgeous Latina who first appeared behind bars as Dayanara Diaz's pregnant bunkmate, Maria Ruiz, delivers flawless acting with an endearing vulnerability alongside her co-stars. The Brooklyn-bred quadruple threat (in addition to acting, she is also a rock musician, actress and violinist) is already filming season four, sure to be chock full of breakout performances.

Vixen recently caught up with the Litchfield bae as she dished on the secret of the show's success, set life and what she likes to do when no one is watching.—Angela Wilson

VIBE Vixen: How would you describe the third season of Orange is the New Black for those who haven't binge-watched it yet?
Jessica Pimentel: People are done [with the season] already, can you believe that? I'm not going to lie I woke up on my living room floor watching it myself, like, 'Oh, I'll just watch one more. Just one more!' But season three is really brutal and raw. It crosses all the lines. Nobody is safe and the things that happen are really devastating.

What makes this show such a huge hit?
I think the stories come from an honest, loving place and they're from the heart so they touch people at the heart. There's so many characters you can identify with that even if this isn't particularly your life or lifestyle you can find something in one or several characters you can connect with and learn from.

I'm not a mom but I play one on TV...... @oitnb #bingewatching #MariaRuiz

A photo posted by Jessica Pimentel ? (@thecrusher007) on

How do you relate to your character, Maria Ruiz?
I'm not a mother but I do care very much about my family. They're my priority at the end of the day. That's all you have sometimes and that is most important for Maria and not just because of her situation, I think that's just who she is. She cares about her family. I feel the same way about my own family.

SEE ALSO: ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Season 4 Is Already Underway

What's it like working on set with your co-stars?
Oh, it's awesome. I'm like the luckiest girl in the world. We have the greatest group of ladies and gentlemen—we have one of the top crews in New York and L.A. Every day is a pleasure to come to work. Everyone is super professional. Everyone comes to the table with their plate full sharing their talents and gifts. Everyday, we learn and laugh while getting through the hard times on the show together because it can get emotional at times so it's important to have a good group of people to lean on for those days that get rough but we all have a lot of fun together.

What's up with season four?
We go back to work on Monday (June 15). We had to binge watch last weekend because we're picking up where we left off like every year-the story ends and a year later, we pick back up. We have to binge to refresh ourselves of what happened. No days off.

Signed, sealed, delivered. I'm yours. Here I am Baby!!!! #OITNB #mariaruiz #Happiness

A photo posted by Jessica Pimentel ? (@thecrusher007) on

What keeps you grounded?
My family always keeps me grounded as well as having a strong spiritual life. I am a Buddhist and that's a very big part of my life—daily meditation and daily prayers. The [prayers] are not just for myself. A lot of people pray for themselves or getting more things but part of my practice is to pray for those who are suffering a lot and dedicate everything I do to help those who suffer. Dedicating everything you do to making someone else happy, whether you're a shoe shiner, a gardener or a multi-millionare tech mogul, always keeps you grounded because no matter how hard your day is, someone else is worse off than you.

What is something you like to do when no one is watching?
I'm the queen of living room dance parties. That's one of my favorite things to do. Since we've been little girls when the [music] videos would come on and you'd dance along, I love it. Club Living Room!

SEE ALSO: Orange Is the New Black: On The Run

You also have a recurring role on Person of Interest, what's going on with the show?
We just finished season four and it was probably the most epic finale of a show I've ever seen. There's a lot of death and destruction and the machine that runs the city, so to speak, to help eliminate the bad guys is in a tough situation. I'm not sure how we'll start the season so it'll be interesting.

What was the first big ticket item you purchased when you made it big?
I haven't! [Laughs] I'm saving up to buy my own home soon so that's more important than shoes, bags or cars. I have everything I want and need at this point in my life. I enjoy buying gifts for other people, although they may not be big ticket items, but I like to help out. Oh and paying those student loans off forever.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Meet Peppermint, The Boss Using Her Gifts For Good

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk podcast amplifies the voices of women and she/her-identifying individuals in their respective industries as they discuss their journeys toward becoming the bosses we know today. From their demeanor and confidence and persevering through life’s pitfalls to make a name for themselves in their own way, being a boss is much more than 'just running sh*t.'

Miss Peppermint started as a staple in the New York nightlife scene, and after appearing as a contestant on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, she’s continued to make a name for herself.

Outside of the show, she's traveled the world and is hoping to release her third album, which she hints will be influenced by the '90s, R&B, and neo-soul. She's also planning on re-releasing her debut album, Hardcore Glamour, for its 10-year anniversary.

"I'll be doing a lot in New York this year for World Pride," she explains to Boss Talk's host, J'na Jefferson. Pride takes place throughout June. "The last album I dropped was 2017... I'm excited about that, I'm writing it now. It's just poems, but I'm excited."

Peppermint, who was the first openly transgender contestant on the Emmy Award-winning show, was also the first transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway for her role as Pythio in Head Over Heels. 

 

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"On paper, it shouldn't make sense... it's hard to explain what it is," she says of the musical, which combined a loose adaptation of 16th-century piece The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of the new wave group, The Go-Go's. It closed in late-2018.

"The better way to explain it now that it's over and closed is 'a revolutionary show about dismantling the patriarchy...'" she says about Head Over Heels. "I knew that they wanted to cast a trans actor... I wanted to put as much as I could into it, and try to do our non-binary siblings well and proud... [the show] became something I really believed in."

Peppermint continues to share her love of performing all over the world and is also an activist, who aims to promote the importance of LGBTQIA representation and advancement. She has worked and supported organizations such as The Point Foundation, which aims to help LGBTQIA students attend college. 

"People are just starting to catch on that having queer voices is essential and inevitable," she says of further representation of LGBTQIA individuals in media and entertainment. She praises Pose creator Ryan Murphy for showcasing trans people of color both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes.

"Giving [trans people] the power to speak for themselves, rather than slapping the community with stereotypes or archetypes... we're past that," she continues. "We're not in the phase where they're feeling comfortable to be who they are, but I think we're getting close."

Listen to the full episode below.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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