From 'Orange is the New Black' to 'The Handmaid's Tale', Samira Wiley manages to make her mark even in non-lead roles

From 'Orange is the New Black' to 'The Handmaid's Tale', Samira Wiley manages to make her mark even in non-lead roles

Samira Wiley, popular for portraying Moira, who becomes a Jezebel called Ruby in 'The Handmaid's Tale's Gilead, is the same actor who portrayed one of the most popular characters on Netflix hit 'Orange is the New Black' - Poussey Washington.

From then to now, one thing that hasn't changed for the actor is her knack for picking impressive characters who might not lead the show, but remain forever etched in the audience's minds. 

Especially when it came to Poussey, the character was built over a period of time. She started out as one of the young girls who unfortunately gets caught after a robbery.

Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington in 'Orange is the New Black' (Netflix)
Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington in 'Orange is the New Black' (Netflix)


Poussey loves brewing her own cheap liquor in jail with Red's help, is best friends with Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, to whom she is also attracted to.

In the second season, Taystee's association with her foster mother Vee, who too ends up in prison, brings about a chasm in Poussey and Tasytee's relationship, and then on it was an uphill journey for her in prison until she died in Season 4.

Samira appeared in a total of 50 episodes as Poussey and won over not only the audience but the critics as well. Samira was a recurring character initially and became a show regular especially after fans' warm reception to her character.

In between 'Orange is the New Black' and 'The Handmaid's Tale', Samira played other roles, but it was the role of Moira-Ruby that brought her back under the spotlight.

Samira as Moira-Ruby in 'The Haindmaid's Tale' (Hulu)
Samira as Moira-Ruby in 'The Haindmaid's Tale' (Hulu)


It was 'The Handmaid's Tale' which gave her as much to work with, if not more, in comparison to 'Orange is the New Black'. 

The Hulu show sees Samira play a Jezebel in Gilead. While she used to be Moira in the free world and was engaged to an obstetrician called Odette, in Gilead she was categorized as one of the women in the brothel that catered to the elite of the dystopian world.

She is also June Osborne-Offred's friend from college and the two befriend each other at the Red Center. She is also one of the first ones to try and escape Gilead through Boston where there were safe houses. Initially, she gets on the train without Offred but is caught. She is given the choice of going to the colonies to dig harmful waste or return to Jezebel. She, of course, chooses the latter. 

While she is left despondent by the failed attempt, it doesn't take her too long to hope again for an escape and this time she doesn't make a mistake. She kills one of the clients, takes his clothes and drives away to Canada.

She even reunites with June's husband Luke and gets asylum. She also helps the handmaids in Gilead by bringing the attention of the world to the letters from many handmaids which were handed over by Fred and Serena Waterford's driver. This happens during the Waterfords official visit to Canada and results in the couple receiving a lot of negative attention.

If Emily and commander Lawrence, who escaped at the end of season 2 in a van with June's newborn baby succeed, they will be joining Luke and Moira in Canada. From what we have seen of the teaser, it looks like Moira could have a role in the upcoming revolution that Offred plans against Gilead and Fred Waterford. 

Other than 'The Handmaid's Tale', Samira was also a part of 'Will and Grace' as a guest character and was seen in 'Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television' as recurring character Jessica Mathers.  

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