Sexy at Every Size: OITNB Stars in ‘Essence’

The ladies of Orange donned the July 2015 cover of Essence with the empowering message that all women are beautiful at any and every size. Samira Wiley (Poussey), Adrienne C. Moore (Black Cindy), Laverne Cox (Sophia), Danielle Brooks (Taystee), Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes), and Vicky Jeudy (Watson) spoke with staff writer Akiba Solomon about “what they love about their body, mind and spirit.”

Here are the highlights for each of the women interviewed:

Adrienne C. Moore makes it a point to look at herself in the mirror and say: “I love my breasts. I love my stomach. I love my legs, my thighs, my butt, my feet, my arms, my face just the way they are.” She says that “[i]t’s been a journey for me with my body, so I try to love it the way it is.”

Vicky Jeudy finds old-school stepping to be the most fun and invigorating workout. She says that her curiosity makes her sexy: “I’m always willing to learn, grow and evolve. I love that I’m willing to change, even though it hurts. It just means humbling myself.”

Samira Wiley discusses her supposed “contradictions”: “When some fans see me all done up in a dress, they’ll go online to say I’m not being who I am or they like me better the other way. But I grew up in church and wore dresses every Sunday; they make me feel amazing. I’m not dressing up because I have to but because it makes me feel good and is a part of me too.”

Uzo Aduba talks about her smile: “My mom would tell me that in Nigeria, it’s a sign of beauty. I was like, ‘We’re in Massachusetts.’ While taking pictures for my school portrait, the photographer asked me why I only smiled in between shots. I told him I didn’t like my gap, and he was like, ‘I think you have a beautiful smile.’ . . . Today there’s not a selfie or a personal photo I take where I’m not smiling wide. It sometimes feels as if I’m making up for lost smiles.”

Laverne Cox has learned to stay positive: “Ten years ago I would say tomyself, ‘I’m fat and ugly,’ but I look at pictures now and it’s like, ‘Girl…‘ Looking back, I spent so much time hating myself, and I was perfectly lovely. I mean, I am above average in looks! [Laughs] I should have always been living my life.”

Danielle Brooks talks about weight: “Being my size [in this industry] is so rare, but regular people look more like me than runway models. To show beauty in a different way really lights me up inside. . . I’m not saying I can’t improve and be better, and I’m not saying one day I might be a size 6, but right now I love who I am, and that should be accepted by the world as well.”

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