When Piper Kerman entered a low-security Connecticut prison in 2009, she had no idea that millions of people would volunteer to share her sentence with her—from couches and bedsides across the globe. Alongside Netflix, this New York memoirist is redefining the viewer experience (and girl power) with an estrogen-fueled collective armed with guts, color and unmatched talent.
Few things are certain as we reflect on a year that will soon pass. Kanye continues to rant, Beyonce is still invincible, Olivia Pope gets it “handled,” and the term “watching television” will never be the same. For products of a post-Millennium generation, this seemingly normal activity looks archaic, even to the biggest boob tube addict. For those of us born before the birth of Internet TV, childhood memories are punctuated by the images we grew up with—our proverbial social slideshows. Furthermore, those memories are partially, if not completely, inspired by the characters we watched week to week. Whether it be Saturday nights on Nickelodeon, Friday nights with the WB or Saturday morning cartoons, 90’s babies are the last to know what it means to run home after school, eat dinner and do our homework—all for the sake of not missing our weekly dose of entertainment. Back then, we catered to television; today, it caters to us.
While shows like Breaking Bad, Modern Family and anything spawned by Shonda Rhimes, continue to thrive in traditional form (ads included), others are born, revived or syndicated in cyberspace. Needless to say, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings were light-years ahead of the curve when they created Netflix in 1997. Inspired by a Blockbuster late fee, the DVD subscription service would take the idea of a video rental and up the ante by going to the World Wide Web and offering more than a physical store. Just a few short years later, they would adopt its current model of charging a static monthly fee in exchange for hundreds of titles available for your repeated viewing pleasure. Today, it demolishes similar video streaming sites with over 40 million subscribers, a quarterly net income of over $30 million and an Emmy nominated series (House of Cards). Next year, armed with a new interface that will spread content across multiple platforms with supplemental information typically offered by standard television, Netflix will take shape as a network similar, if not better, than giants like HBO and Showtime.
The thin line between “old school” TV and online streaming is blurred as both compete on an even playing field with both A-list talent and game-changing programming. Enter our November cover girls: the charismatic cast of Orange is the New Black. When showrunner Jenji Kohan brought the show to several networks, it was Netflix that ordered 13 episodes before its pilot even aired. Led by blonde bombshell Taylor Schilling, Orange tells the true story of Piper Kerman (Chapman), a writer whose life is forever changed by a prison stint stemming from a money-laundering scheme with ex-girlfriend Alex Vause. Somewhat naïve, straight-laced and engaged to a fellow WASP, Piper’s interactions with her fellow inmates not only awaken a part of her that she didn’t know existed, but make for binge-worthy indulgence.
Alongside Schilling is an overwhelming pool of talent, from newcomers to seasoned vets. They all wear orange, but their complexities are wide ranged. From a drug-addicted Jesus freak to an undercover lover and wide-eyed “Crazy Eyes,” the women of Orange is the New Black are some of the most progressive female characters to hit the small screen and a flawed prison system where women are separated by race and hierarchies. Somehow, OITNB writers have created a “so wrong it’s right” formula that makes the series worthy of its dramedy label.
Photo Credit: Nicholas Nichols
Those who have marathoned alongside us have grown attached to the actresses who make up this collective—our sassy sorority of misfits. We get a taste of what it feels like to be part of this close-knit clique as we come together on a crisp October morning. Armed with coffee, couture and conversation, four of the ten castmates—Dascha Polanco, Laverne Cox, Vicky Jeudy, and Jessica Pimentel—seem unphased by our early Saturday morning call time as we pile into the Brooklyn-bound SUV. Sandwiched between Laverne, who sits shotgun (“My legs are too long, honey,” she quips before climbing in) and the rest in the rear, a dizzying series of pow wows pop off as our caravan dissects the latest Hollywood gossip. From Miley Cyrus’ VMA twerk heard ‘round the world to Rihanna’s GIF-worthy “Pour It Up” visuals, no stone is left unturned as the OITNB crew continue their witty water cooler convo (which somehow turns into a hilarious exchange about blood types and who could donate to who within their crew.)
By the time we hit the set, we’re joined by Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Yael Stone, Selenis Leyva, Taryn Manning and Elizabeth Rodriguez. It feels like a family reunion as the team embraces as if more than just an evening had passed and everyone darts to the racks of designer duds and accessories. A far cry from their usual jumpsuits and minimal set make-up, these women emerge from captivity a set of stunners, primped to perfection and coiffed for close-ups. Photographed together for the first time since their meteoric rise to television elite, Vixen is poised to not only honor this groundbreaking series, but the incomparable women who help shape its staggering success.
Stay tuned as we profile each and every cover gal to give you an insider’s look at life for TV’s most wanted (and beloved) convicts.
Watch what happened behind-the-scenes after the jump!
Behind-The-Scenes of VIBE Vixen’s November cover shoot with the cast of Orange Is The New Black.
On Yael Stone (Lorna Morello):
Navy Gown with Lace Shoulders and Embellishments
On Elizabeth Rodriguez (Aleida Diaz):
Black Chiffon Gown with Geometric Detailing
Gold Mirrored Hoop Earrings
WOUTERS & HENDRIX
On Vicky Jeudy (Janae Watson):
Borgundy Lace Sequin Strapless Evening Gown
Rolex Link Ultra Stud & Swarovski Necklace
On Jessica Pimentel (Maria Ruiz):
Navy Ruched Jersey Evening Gown with Gold Metal Collar
On Danielle Brooks (Tasha ‘Taystee’ Jefferson):
Black Jersey Long Sleeve Evening Gown
Black and Gold Tetric Necklace
DELPHINE CHARLOTTE PARMENTIER
Tooth and Emerald Swarovski Slim Cuff
Skull and Stud Gold Delicate Cuff
On Uzo Aduba (Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren):
Black Evening Gown with Silver Beading
Gunmetal and Vintage Swarovski Earrings
On Selenis Leyva (Gloria Mendoza):
Black Cap Sleeve Lace Cut Out Gown
Gunmetal Large Hoop Earrings
On Laverne Cox (Sophia Burset):
Red Marilyn Long Convertible Dress
Brass Fringe Necklace with Red Fused Stones
On Dascha Polanco (Dayanara Diaz):
Black Marilyn Long Convertible Dress
Gold Plated Zig Zag Bib Necklace
WOUTERS & HENDRIX
Gold & Silver Bracelet with a Mix of Chains
WOUTERS & HENDRIX
Gold & Silver Necklace with a Mix of Chains
WOUTERS & HENDRIX
On Taryn Manning (Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett):
Black Maxi Dress with Leather & Lace Detailing
Black Leather Fingerless Driving Gloves