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THE GANG'S ALL HERE
Orange Is The New Black, Netflix's slam dunk drama about women of Litchfield Federal Prison, returns for season 2 on June 6, with the cast that everyone's talking about. During PEOPLE's exclusive photo shoot, the stars dish on everything from fans and friendships to how they might hold up behind bars in real life.
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"It's amazing that people love the show and want to see it so much," says Schilling, who plays main character Piper Chapman. "There’s this bar across the street from my house, and if it’s past 11 p.m. and people are getting tipsy and I walk by and one person says, 'Piper!' then it’s like a wave: 'Piper, Piper, Piper!' So then I try to exit."
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"What prison [would I] go into?" ponders Cox when asked how'd she fare behind bars in real life. "Most trans women do their time in men’s prison, so that’s scary. But the reality is I’m a black trans woman from a working class background. I’d probably figure out something."
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For fans expecting real-life friction from the mostly female cast, Prepon is here to set you straight. "I’ve worked in bigger casts, but it’s always mostly men like on That '70s show. So actually, working around all of these women, I was a little nervous. But seriously, they’re all so wonderful. There’s not one girl who’s like a diva."
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But those stories about prison food – all true, confirms Manning. "It's terrible. It's like fruit cups, chunks of meat, cold macaroni and cheese, bologna sandwiches," says the actress who plays Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett. "And we actually eat it. But yeah, it's pretty bad."
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"I can’t always absorb it fully that I’m a part of it," says Aduba, aka Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, of OITNB's success. "Here we are, we’re doing this shoot and everyone is in their gorgeous white getting primped, glamorized and made even more beautiful than they already are. It’s like I’m living my dream."
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"I’ll tell you this, Taylor has the most nicknames of any of the other cast members. I've given her the most. She’s 'Tay-Lo,'" says Lyonne. "I also like to call her SG-Lo. For Uzo, I’ve made a song that goes along with her name. And Samira Wiley gets "Why-Lee." Or for Laura it’s like, "Yo Prepon!" Everybody gets one. It’s very important and only I have this information."
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"I got a phone call saying I got the part while sitting on the stoop of a friend’s apartment with a few of my Juilliard classmates," recalls Brooks, who braided her hair, went makeup-free and put on a muumuu to audition for the part of Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson. "Before this I had multiple jobs baby sitting, working at a bakery, I was a typist for an elderly woman – anything to make money. So when it happened it was just like, 'Yes, thank you, God!'"
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"I remember one time I was approached by someone I knew and he goes, 'Why don’t you let me use your ID to deposit some checks?' Now that I look back it’s like, 'Oh my God, it was probably fraud,'" says Polanco of her near-brush with crime. "Thank God I didn’t trust him. We all have had situations like, 'wait a minute I could have gotten into some deep s---.'"
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"I would put money down that our set is the most fun, most ridiculous set ever," boasts Wiley. "You've really got a cast of characters. Laverne Cox will break out in dance or song at the drop of a hat. It really feels like family, like a bunch of sisters hanging out, poking fun at each other."
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"I think in a lot of ways the women here have really stepped into their best self," says Stone of her cast mates. "The confidence that the show has given them has unleashed… a beautiful part of these people. I feel so lucky to work with such beautiful women."
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