One of the most fascinating aspects of Orange Is The New Black is how makeup-free most of the characters look (with notable exceptions of Flaca, Sophia, and Lorna, who somehow manage to wear full-blown makeup all the time.) As seems fitting for a prison setting, the women of Litchfield Penitentiary wear very little makeup generally — or at least, so we believe.
Among the more natural looking characters is Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, who since her imprisonment has kept it pretty low-key on the makeup front. But according to a new interview with Schilling, Piper’s natural look is pretty, well, unnatural. In an interview with People, the 31-year-old actress says, popular to contrary belief, a lot of makeup goes into making her look like she’s wearing nothing.
“It does take time to get Piper [ready] — it takes far more makeup than you would imagine for me to look like I’m wearing absolutely no makeup,” says Schilling. “And Piper doesn’t have as much access to makeup, so she’s sort of the default setting — she doesn’t really have a choice — but for me, I prefer to be bare as much as possible.”
Not that she minds. Schilling says Piper’s natural look is actually “liberating.”
“It knocks away one level of artifice, and I think that is what I appreciate most about acting,” says Schilling. “It’s trying to drill down to the truth of a character, or situation or a circumstance and in some cases, lots of makeup helps with that.”
The revelation that Taylor Schilling’s no-makeup look actually involves makeup is pretty standard for film and TV. Lighting, filters, and post-production coloring can all affect how skin tone and texture look on the screen, so makeup is almost always required just to achieve a natural look that survives processing.
When we last left Piper (spoiler alert ahead) she’d launched a dirty pantie empire and taken down ex-lover/betrayer Stella Carlin (played by Ruby Rose). Alex Vause, Piper’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, was a major driver in all this drama. In the end, it leaves her very little time to be worried about her beauty routine.
“In this situation, in the story of Piper Chapman, it really illuminates interesting parts of her that she doesn’t wear any makeup,” says Taylor Schilling.