Over the past four seasons of the critically acclaimed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, we’ve witnessed Litchfield’s female inmates tackle illicit panty-smuggling rings, addiction, and affairs galore. Last year, the dramedy delivered the biggest cliff-hanger to date when Dayanara (Dascha Polanco) grabbed a gun and aimed it at an abusive prison guard. When the show officially returns, expect to be plunged into a full-on riot.
“The whole season takes place over three days, and you get to see everyone at their rawest,” says Taylor Schilling, who along with seven of her co-stars got a temporary reprieve from Litchfield to model—what else?—jumpsuits and delve into what goes on behind the scenes.
When was the last time you wore a jumpsuit before today?
Laura Prepon: I wore one to an event recently honoring Ted Sarandos, the CCO of Netflix. It was so cute, but now I could never fit into it. Someday after she’s born [points to pregnant belly], I’ll get back into it.
Laverne Cox: I love jumpsuits, but they’re not practical because of the peeing thing. I have to pee now. I’m holding it.
Natasha Lyonne: I remember one time I was on a date—this was a while ago—in a Topshop jumpsuit, and I looked pretty cute, but I didn’t come back from the bathroom for, like, 15 minutes because I was trying to zip it up. A jumpsuit is a two-man operation most of the time, which was great for later in the night. Just kidding. I didn’t sleep with him. I’m trying to remember who it was, to be honest.
Selenis Leyva: Jumpsuits are very cool. They can be casual, they can be sexy, use ’em in prison, use ’em outside of prison. I like them a lot.
What would you miss most if you were in prison?
Uzo Aduba: My phone because I wouldn’t get to FaceTime with my nephews. I would not miss social media at all. That’d probably be a gift. In terms of apps, maybe Postmates, but that’s it.
Taylor Schilling: I would miss being able to listen to music. And books! And my friends. I’m so used to having immediate contact with anybody I’m thinking about on the phone. So it would really be phones that I would miss.
Danielle Brooks: Men. I’d miss having men around.
Prepon: Probably my homemade cold brew that I make every morning. We call it my coffee moonshine.
Cox: Fake hair. For me, that’s my number one everything. I have many days without makeup, but if I leave the house, there’s a piece of some kind of fake hair on my head. It’s a ponytail, it’s a full wig, it’s a clip-in, it’s a something. So some level of fake hair I have to have.
Lyonne: Root Beer, my dog. She’s a Saint Laurent. Just kidding—she’s a Maltipoo. I often lie to strangers and say she’s a Rottweiler.
If you had to pick one cast member to drive a getaway car, who would it be?
Lyonne: If I had a crime to commit later today stealing some jumpsuits from downstairs, my accomplice would definitely be Prepon. I think she would be a great criminal IRL, which is a term I learned online. She’s probably a great driver. Actually, I’ve been in a car with her. She’s OK. Now that I think about it, she’s not the best driver, but she’s not terrible, and she’ll do in this case.
Aduba: Dascha is that chick if you’re like, “I am in Colombia. Don’t ask me how I got here. I need you to come and get me,” she’d be like, “I got you.” Yes, that is the person you want to spend that dime on.
Leyva: Danielle Brooks. We were in Miami recently, and she’s kind of a little Tasmanian devil behind the wheel. Plus, she plays great music while getting away. I mean, come on.
Have you picked up any surprising survival tips on set?
Aduba: You can tie a shoestring to a maxi pad to make a sleep mask. That was like, “Oh, OK, that’s good to know.”
Leyva: You can also use them to clean or as slippers. And Kool-Aid works as a lip tint.
Schilling: Turns out you can do a lot with a microwave, like make pies out of candy bars and graham crackers.
How has being on this show affected your awareness of the prison system?
Cox: It still surprises me how the prison system enforces very strict gender-binary rules. That the state literally enforces rigid ideas of gender in the prison system is f—ed up and the truth.
Polanco: There’s so much more to prison than people realize, so it makes you think. Every sentence is a story.
Aduba: I’ve met people who’ve come out of prison who say how much the show reflects the actual prison experience. We’ve heard that repeatedly. Natasha met a judge who said, “I’ve seen all those characters come into my courtroom.”
Lyonne: Yeah, this woman came up to me and said, “Oh my god, I love your show. I’m a judge, and I never really thought about it. I never realized that the people I was sentencing are real people.” I was livid, obviously. It was just such a shocking thing to hear, that this woman was looking at people as paperwork. I did have that interaction, and I guess that’s a good thing, but it was really hard not to stay stuck on how horrifying what she had to say was.
Brooks: Our thing is that everyone’s story is valid and should be told and heard so that we can understand each other a little better.
Orange Is the New Black premieres June 9 on Netflix.
For more stories like this, pick up the July issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download June 9.