It’s hard to imagine anyone but Alysia Reiner as Fig, but the “tough, smart, bad-assie” character was not the role she originally read for. “I auditioned for so many roles on [“Orange is the New Black,”]” she told us. “I will never forget first reading it, and I first auditioned for Alex and then they had me audition for like three other roles.” Even though she didn’t nab the role of Piper’s lover, Reiner knew she had to be a part of telling this story, especially because of its focus on women and minority communities not typically shown in the media. “I always wanted to tell stories that make the world a better place,” she told us, and even though those opportunities are rarer in her work as an actor than they are when she’s producing, “OITNB” was the perfect chance.
Although Fig only had “like two lines” in the first episode, Reiner said it was an immediate yes, and it paid off for her, too. Her character’s mishaps in leadership and relationships became a fixture on the show, and in 2015, she won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series. “It became this beautiful seven-year journey,” she gushed.