Introducing Ashley Jordyn To OITNB

Orange Is The New Black’s newest faces, Ashley Jordyn

OITNB does a great job at telling women’s stories

We chat to one of Orange Is The New Black’s newest faces, Ashley Jordyn, aka “Young Carol.”

Tell us a little more about your character in OITNB, Carol Denning, the psychopathic manipulator of C-block?

I play young Carol in the flashback episodes of season six. I think my version of Carol is childish, ruthless, and impulsive but, despite being one of the “bad” bosses, she has a heart that is definitely longing for love. I think she loves Barb, before they let hate take over their lives, and Freida, whose betrayal breaks her heart.

What’s been you biggest challenge in this role? 

I was only given script pages for Carol’s scenes, so I had no idea what the writers had planned for Carol’s present-day storyline! Without a point of reference for the current character, you just have to trust your team. Since it was out of my hands, I just did the best job I could do with the information I had which was a great challenge. OITNB has a specific comedic-dramatic tone, and then the Carol flashbacks had their own tone within that. So, hitting the appropriate tones was key.

What did you know about prison life in the US before you began shooting? 

Not much! I only had a few days from being cast to shooting and most of my time was spent on breaking down my scenes, learning lines, and making decisions about what I wanted to do.

What themes came to the forefront for young Carol this season? 

This is just my take, Henny Russell would probably have different answers, but for young Carol, I think the best theme would be a “cycle of violence”. There are a bunch of examples from the storyline where she is both a victim of, and a perpetrator of, violence. In the gym scene in episode 10 she tells Barb, “It’s not my fault, so don’t take it out on me”, and then immediately spits a jawbreaker out and hits an innocent bystander.

The home environment we see is really telling though, there’s a threatening violence there, a history, and a denial of its existence. Carol immediately follows this up with lashing out at Debbie and her tadpoles. It’s a defining characteristic for Carol, and unfortunately she’s not emotionally mature enough and doesn’t have any personal insight into her actions to understand why she does the things she does or to make an effort to stop it.

I’d like to think if Barb and Carol had made it to adulthood before making The Bad Decision, they might have matured and grown into functioning adults. I don’t think of her as a sociopath or a psychopath, I actually think that Carol feels everything and hasn’t been given the proper tools to deal with it.

Why do you think OINTB continues to be so popular?

It does a great job at telling women’s stories. If you’re in prison, something has gone wrong in your life and you’re isolated from society, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a person with a meaningful story to share. OITNB lets those tales be told with humour, grace, and empathy.

What do the deaths of rival sisters Carol and Barbara mean for the future of the show?

I have no idea and I’m looking forward to finding out just like everyone else!

What are your feelings more generally about LGBTQ+ representation on platforms like Netflix? 

I think it’s amazing! Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in the stories we tell and have the right to be the creators of those stories. I think Netflix and OITNB deserve credit for their representation and portrayal of LGBTQ+ stories, but I think there definitely needs to be more LGBTQ+ representation on other platforms…