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'Orange Is the New Black' Stars Tell Us What Makes Them Proud

Zimbio chats with Taryn, Lea, Samira, Laverne, and Matt about their defining moments.

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What makes you proud? A simple question, though heightened in its significance by the presence of Pride month.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of DOMA being ruled as unconstitutional, and on Monday evening, Logo TV's Trailblazers kicked off the most historic week of gay rights with a televised tribute to those who have broken down barriers for LGBT equality. Among the honorees was the cast of Netflix's groundbreaking series Orange Is the New Black. The show, which just debuted its second season, showcases the diverse lives and stories of characters who are consistently underrepresented in mainstream media. Breakout star Laverne Cox, the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of TIME magazine, accepted the award on the cast's behalf.

Zimbio attended the Trailblazers event and chatted exclusively with the OITNB cast, who were joined on the red carpet by influential figures and fellow honorees like civil rights activist Edie Windsor and the first male publicly gay professional athlete, Jason Collins.

Keeping in line with the evening's theme and its atmosphere of celebration and gratitude, we asked each cast member one question: "What makes you proud?"

Laverne Cox, Sophia Burset

'Orange Is the New Black' Pride
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Personally:

"The cover of TIME magazine. That would be the one."

In General:

"This past year, CeCe McDonald being out of prison and getting to know her. I'm making a documentary called Free CeCe. Watching her become a beacon of life for so many people and being an inspiration for having the courage to come forward and tell her story, which is really harrowing in a lot of ways."

Lea DeLaria, Carrie "Big Boo" Black

'Orange Is the New Black' Pride
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Personally:

"It would be being the first openly gay comic to perform on television in America tied with stopping the show at Carnegie Hall for 'I Can Cook Too' when I sang that at the Broadway Leading Ladies. Those were pretty amazing moments in my life."

In General:

"It was the election in 1992, when Bill Clinton won, and the first time on our television screen they were doing the votes. 'Women went this way, men went this way, African Americans went this way' and they did the gay and lesbian vote. That was the first time they had ever done that. I went: 'we have arrived.'"

Taryn Manning, Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett

'Orange Is the New Black' Pride
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Personally:

"The first time that I wrote a song from beginning to end. I had been trying and trying and that very song ended up on the 8 Mile soundtrack."

In General:

"I am so proud and elated that the [gay] community is finally being treated like humans. Love is finally being embraced, no matter what form it comes in. I can't believe that it had so many restrictions. I am very proud that people are opening their minds and things are changing."

Matt McGorry, John Bennett

'Orange Is the New Black' Pride
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Personally and In General:

"This is probably the corniest answer in the book. My parents are wonderful, extremely empathetic, just nice people. They have always been so supportive, going out of their way -- almost to a fault -- to help other people. It puts a lot of stress on their own lives because they are so willing to take on other peoples' issues. That's what makes them so wonderful. I got their initials tattooed on my back." 

Samira Wiley, Poussey Washington

'Orange Is the New Black' Pride
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Personally:

"All of the hard work that me and the ladies did in season two. Specifically Lorraine Toussaint, who plays the character of Vee. I think that she's amazing. I think that she inspires me. I am proud of her." 

In General:

"My parents. They are black Baptist pastors in DC that made the LGBT movement one of their causes and one of the things that they stand for. Whenever I think about them or hear them on NPR or read about them in magazines, I am constantly inspired and proud of them."

Logo TV's Trailblazers airs tonight at 9/8c.


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