EXCLUSIVE: Alysia Reiner on her 'OITNB' return and Natalie Figeroa's new stint at Litchfield
Alysia says that 'one of the most interesting things about being on the show was talking about the industrialization and privatization of the prison system.'
Litchfield can now have its sense of peace, for the former warden Natalie Figeroa, a.k.a. Fig is back in the game! She returns as a temporary warden at the maximum security prison facility for women prisoners. And this time around, she's here to stay.
Fig, played by Alysia Reiner, has always been the badass woman on the show, and has proved time and again that she is not someone to be messed with, even in the least. As she struts about the corridors of the prison with her "I-don't-care" attitude, she commands the spite and respect of all the inmates of the max.
A powerhouse actress and consummate pollyanna who uses her superpowers for good, even though she's known for playing some amazing bitches, Alysia just finished filming season 6 of the hit Netflix show, 'Orange Is The New Black.' She is soon joining the cast of 'The Deuce' which returns to HBO on September 9th, and is currently shooting for the third season of FX’s 'Better Things.'
Meaww landed the opportunity to chat with this talented actress, and we couldn't help but ask her all about the character - Natalie Figeroa. Take a look at the conversation we had.
What was the best thing about playing Fig? What was the information you had about your character while auditioning for the role? What attracted you to it?
There are actually two parts to what's the best thing about playing the character of Fig on the show. The first is I get to unleash my inner badass b*tch, and the second part is the spectacular journey that the writers of the show have brought for the character, and showing so many layers of complexity that exist within this woman (Fig).
I had no clue that I would be auditioning for the role of Fig, so no, I had no prior information about the role coming into the auditions. When I started the scene (with Fig as a character), it was just two lines, but what really attracted me towards the role was reading the whole script and thinking that 'This is the best thing I have ever read.'
Of the cast, who did you like hanging around with on set? Did you make any lasting friendships on the show?
I've worked with almost everybody on the show and loved it, but mostly its Red. This season (season 6) I got to work with Beth Dover, and it was just so much fun! She is such a joy to work with, and she was the one member on set that I used to love doing karaoke with.
Personally, which of the characters from 'OITNB' you love watching?
Every single one, but personally, as a mother, I would say that I deeply love Gloria and her desire to get out of prison and be with her kids. I could immediately relate to Gloria's struggle because I work for a non-profit organization that is all about supporting mothers who are in prison, away from their kids.
What does Fig have in store for us in the 7th season?
Well, I can't tell you that. I haven't even read the first script, and I am never, ever allowed to tell anyone anything, so I really have no idea.
Could you share with our readers any interesting anecdote from the shooting days of 'OITNB'?
There are so many interesting incidents that happened behind the scenes that I am having a hard time choosing one! As you would know, we shot the scenes in a children's psychiatric hospital for a long time, which was, in fact, believed to be haunted.
I think one of the most interesting things about being on the show was talking about the industrialization and privatization of the prison system, and how prison is a business that's about money, the haves, and the have-nots. Most people don't think of it that way, but that's really what it is about, and through this show, people can see what it's really like out there in the world so that they can have some compassion for all the women who ar living their lives in actual prisons across the country.
So, what is your career bucket list like?
I don't really have a bucket list, but I for sure have a vision board. You have to see it sometime, or maybe I'll share a picture of it! I think my biggest goal is to tell incredible stories that make people more loving and more compassionate, as well as more forgiving as opposed to being hateful. I hope that I can someday change the world, and make the world a better place. I think my big goal is to create amazing stories and work constantly till the day I take my last breath, to have lots of choices as an artist, and to give lots of opportunities to other artists, particularly women so that they can make it too in this world.
Did you always want to be an actor? If you were not in showbiz, what would be the plan of action for you?
Acting was something that was always my plan. I produced two movies, and I have also done some writing in the past. I even recently directed a PSA for Time's Up. So I would definitely like to explore more of directing, for sure, if the opportunity presents itself.
If not for showbiz, I think I would have loved being a private detective! Being a private detective helps you explore human beings and studying people, knowing why they do what they do, so it is greatly inspiring for me.
What are the usual hardships you face as an actor or artist? Do you think to be in the public eye because you're a celebrity takes a toll on your personal life?
Being an artist is a tough task because we are out of a job quite often. And even if you get one acting job, once that ends, you have got to find yourself another job, so there's a level of job insecurity no matter how famous you are. Being out of a job is true to the nature of the business.
The other problem with being a celebrity is the lack of privacy. I am really grateful for all my fans, beyond grateful even. When people ask my daughter 'Do you wanna be an actress?', she usually says no, because she wants privacy.
If there was something that you could have done differently in your personal and/or professional career, what would it be and why?
I think it all depends on the day. At this moment, I feel like I am in the best place to be and I have no regrets whatsoever. On different days though, I know I feel differently, but today I have no regrets!