Praise be Poussey

Samira Wiley opens up to Simon Button about freedom, role models and the future


After just a few seconds in the presence of Samira Wiley, she proves to be every bit as cool and captivating as she comes across on screen. A few minutes later, I have her tearing up – not because I’ve set out to upset her, but because I’ve asked her about the feedback she’s received from the LGBTQ community about Orange Is The New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale. Just thinking about it, Samira says, makes her emotional.


“It always touches me, especially the coming out conversations,” says the 31-year-old actor. “There are so many young gay people who have been turned away from their families or, in the worst cases, have committed suicide. Hearing those stories face-to-face, when people come up to me in the street or they’re somewhere far away like Africa and putting some-thing on social media, I’m starting to realise my reach is very far and I don’t think even I sometimes understand just how far it is.” She pauses, as if trying to take it all in. “It’s overwhelming to think about. I can’t think about it too much, otherwise I’d just sit in a room, crying.”


Read the rest of this article in the August issue of DIVA, available to buy in print or digitally here.



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