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Samira Wiley Reflects on Being Outed by Costar, Pursuing Gay Roles

Samira Wiley Reflects on Being Outed by Costar, Pursuing Gay Roles

Samira Wiley Reflects on Being Outed by Costar, Pursuing Gay Roles

“I felt like they took something from me,” Wiley said.


Samira Wiley is opening up about accidentally being outed by a cast mate back in the early days of Orange is the New Black.

The actress has spoken about the incident before, having expressed tearful frustration over not being able to come out on her own terms during a 2018 podcast interview.

“Someone from my cast, actually [they] were doing an interview [and they] were talking about out gay actors in the cast and they mentioned my name,” she said at the time. Wiley has still never called out the actor in question by name, but a 2013 interview with Lea DeLaria was said to have previously mentioned Wiley as being out prior to her name being removed.

In recent conversation with The Guardian, Wiley admitted that she had originally been hesitant to take her current ongoing role in The Handmaid’s Tale because that character, like OitNB fave Poussey, is gay. The actress was worried about being typecast, and new that everyone had been assuming she was gay even prior to her accidental outing.

“I read it in an interview they did, and I just burst into tears. My publicist got it off the internet in 30 minutes, but what’s 30 minutes on the internet? A lifetime. Obviously, no one cared. Everyone already assumed it,” she said, admitting how upsetting the whole situation was.

Wiley acknowledged that her gender presentation and Instagram presence played into people making assumptions about her sexuality (“They weren’t wrong,” she laughed), but still wished her actual public coming out would have been on her own terms.

“Because it was mine. It was mine,” she said. “It’s not yours to give someone. I felt like they took something from me.”

As frustrating and irreversible as being outed to the world may be, Wiley did eventually come around to playing more gay characters, including her role in The Handmaid’s Tale — and seems to feel much more strongly about that decision now.

“When I think about it now, it’s a little naive to say, I don’t want to play gay, because that’s the heteronormative idea that we’re all the same,” she explained. “Moira is a completely different, fully realised person to Poussey. For me, how powerful is it, to have a Black gay woman portray an actual Black gay woman on TV? I wouldn’t have been able to see that ever, when I was a kid.”

Season five of The Handmaid’s Tale premieres on Hulu this Wednesday, September 14.

RELATED | Luke Macfarlane Reflects on 'Gay Masculinity' Standards Shown in Bros

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