Orange Is the New Black: Before They Were Stars


The cast of Orange Is The New Black has risen to super stardom thanks to great writing and even better acting, but where were the actors before they became award-winning stars? Some were on lesser-known shows, and others on completely different career tracks! Here’s what 12 cast members were up to before they became OITNB famous.

Netflix / NBC

Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman
Before she became the Type A, obsessive, self-absorbed Piper Chapman, Taylor Schilling already had a primetime series under her belt. Her big break came when she was cast as Nurse Veronica Flanagan Callahan opposite James Van Der Beek in the 2009-2010 hospital drama, Mercy. She also starred in the Nicholas Sparks’ film The Lucky One (2012) as Zac Efron’s love interest. Of course, it all dates back to when she got her bachelor’s degree in acting from Fordham University (New York City) in 2006.

Netflix / Fox

Laura Prepon as Alex Vause
Laura Prepon had the good fortune of hitting a home run with the first television role she landed. From 1998 until 2006, Prepon was best known for playing Eric Forman’s main squeeze Donna Pinciotti on That ‘70s Show. Earlier on, the 5′ 10″ Prepon moved to Paris at 15 to give modeling a try.

Netflix / KRVS

Kate Mulgrew as Galina “Red” Reznikov
Before she was a strict Russian prison chef doing time for organized crime, Kate Mulgrew got her big break in 1975 when she played the role of Mary Ryan Fenelli for 409 episodes over three seasons on Ryan’s Hope. She scored dozens and dozens of small, but significant roles throughout the ’80s, until she got her second major television role in 1995’s Star Trek: Voyager as Captain Kathryn Janeway.