Exclusive Interview: Emma Myles AKA Leanne Taylor from OITNB
Orange is The New Black has been available to stream on Netflix for over 2 months now. It’s very hard to pick out a favorite character because it depends on which episode you are watching. All of the characters have depth and they sneak up on you. The next thing you know, you are in love with another character.
Today I want to introduce you to an amazing actress, Emma Myles, who plays Leanne Taylor AKA Pennsatucky’s loyal confidant. There was a scene that Leanne made a dolphin sound on stage in episode 13 and I thought that was pretty great. Who knows, we may get her to do it for us today. You’ll have to wait to find out!
KR: Hi Emma! Thank you for meeting me today.
EM: Hi! No problems! These macaroons are delicious!
KR: I know! So, let’s start with the first question, did you audition for Leanne Taylor?
EM: YES, I did!
KR: Did you know anyone before OITNB?
EM: Yes! Dash [Dascha Polanco] and I actually met before either of us got Orange. We were in the same waiting room for an SVU audition and then we ran into each other on the subway about 15 minutes later, realized we were both going the same direction, and ended up having a hilarious conversation about how there’s no work for actors like us and how the business was just not doing us any favors at that point. Flash forward like 6 months, my second day on set, she walks onto set and we’re both like ‘Holy shit! Didn’t we meet on a subway platform and complain about never getting any work?’ It was awesome. One of those things where you were like, yeah this is meant to be for all of us.
KR: Why don’t you tell us about your first day on set?
EM: My first day on set was spectacular. I didn’t have a lot to do so it was kind of nice because there wasn’t a lot of pressure. It’s one of those things where you go into a project and you are new. It’s like going to a new school. When you get there and think…who am I going to sit with at lunch?
EM: Yea…and like who’s going to be my friend? Then you get to set and everyone is so awesome and friendly and then you sit with everyone.
KR: That’s nice that you didn’t have to eat alone in the bathroom! [Mean Girls reference]
EM: [Laughs] No! No mean Girls; Lohan situation!
KR: Who was the first person you met on set?
EM: Literally, the first person I met was Lea [DeLaria AKA Big Boo]. I’ve always been a fan of hers and I love her dearly. When one of my best friends found out that Lea was on the show, she was like OMG! Become friends with her! I was like, yeah!
KR: Sounds exciting… So what happened next?
EM: I knew I wanted to meet her but I didn’t know if we were going to have any scenes together. I’d gotten to set early. They called me in, but they actually weren’t going to use me until after lunch. I was waiting to get my hair and makeup done, then they broke for lunch and I was just sitting by myself….and then I saw her.
KR: Cool! Was she welcoming you?
EM: YES! She was walking to lunch, and asked “Do we get beers at lunch, because we should!” And I was like “Yeah, we should!” Like a lame dummy!
KR: Did she hit on you? [Laughs]
Emma: She hits on everyone! [Laughs]
KR: I read an interview and got the feeling that she had a crush on Laura [Prepon]
Emma: We all hit on each other. Everyone grabs each other. Everyone loves each other and laughs with each other! It’s a nice environment.
KR: How are you dealing with the popularity of the show? Does anyone recognize you?
EM: I mostly get recognized on the subway platform by my house when I’m wearing no makeup.[Laughs] One time, someone walked up, tapped me on the shoulder and said ” I really love you on Orange”.
KR: Really? How did that make you feel?
EM: It was kind of this awkward situation because then we got on the same subway car and I just sat in a corner. [Laughs]
KR: Have you heard that people on the Internet ship couples on the show?
EM: Yes, I have! They really do ship couples! I don’t know I haven’t read any of the fan fictions, but I was told it did exist! One of our writers was very excited!
KR: Yes, someone tweeted me about that, but I haven’t really looked into it.
EM: Oh ok.
KR: So who are your favorite couples?
EM: You’ve got to love Piper and Alex! Come on! But, Alex and Nicky…also in a good situation! Maybe Taystee and Pouseey!? You know? You can ship any of them, except for me because no one wants to make out with me.
KR: Maybe one day it could be you and Tiffany. [Laughs]
EM: [Laughs] Well, to be continued…
KR: Do you want to try to describe Leanne in 140 characters? Basically, make one tweet for her!
EM: See, I don’t know because I don’t tweet![The interview was about a month ago and Emma Myles created a Twitter account the day after this intrview] What could I say? She’s a very loyal misguided friend.
KR: So, is that your tag line?
EM: [laughs] we are making up tag lines now? Sure. Here, she’s a very loyal misguided friend who makes dolphins noises and wants to be a marine biologist!
KR: You know? I was kind of curious of what Leanne actually did to land herself in the prison!
EM: Here’s my thing with Leanne, she’s clearly not the mastermind! So, I think she probably got in with the wrong crowd, you know, because of drugs and then she got in trouble trying to help someone do something. I mean, I don’t know!
KR: Ooh, you had a scene with Pablo?
EM: I did! I gave him a BJ for drugs! [Laughs]
KR: [Laughs] Oh yeah! I forgot! How did I forget that part!? We saw you coming out of the utility closet!
EM: That episode was directed by Jodie Foster.
KR: That’s right!
EM: She was like no get down on your knees… there. [Laughs]
KR: Were you like “I volunteer?” [Laughs]
EM: [Laughs] I love Pablo. He’s great! And goddamn hilarious!
KR: He was born to play that role.
EM: No one makes people laugh on set like Pablo!
KR: So who are the hilarious people on set? I know you are one of them.
EM: Everyone is hilarious! Pablo makes us laugh even if we are not interacting. He would be on the other side of the room doing something crazy hilarious and you can’t just keep it together, but I do have to say that Taryn [Manning] takes the cake for me!
KR: OMG. She is wonderful!
EM: She’s incredible! She’s the most free actor I’ve ever worked with.
KR: I’ve seen her in so many movies and TV shows. She gave us all HOPE that one day we can get there, reaching our goals. A lot of the cast have been in this business for sometimes now like Uzo! Everyone loves her!
EM: UZO! She’s insanely good. Taryn and I were having this conversation on set saying “Isn’t it funny where you just get on set and everywhere you turn is genius. Geniuses rule! Let’s go get lunch, geniuses!”
KR: That’s true. Everyone IS amazing!
EM: Thank you!
KR: So what’s your next project?
EM: Season 2! We are shooting season 2!
KR: if you could play any OITNB character, who would you play?
EM: Pornstache, obviously.
KR: Why do you think Leanne is so loyal to Tucky?
EM: I think she feels protected. I think that for all of Tucky’s over the top antics she takes care of her own, and I think that Tucky’s friendship makes Leanne feel safe. And I also think that she thinks she’s really funny…because she is.
KR: What’s like to work with Taryn Manning?
EM: I love Taryn. I love watching her. I love working with her. I love learning from her…She’s an incredible talent. She’s also one of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met and I consider her a sister for life.
KR: Well we know that you can’t talk about season 2 yet but what would you like to tell your fans?
EM: I have fans?
KR: Yes, you do! You should go on Tumblr!
EM: I want them to know that I smell better than I look and I promise my teeth are white in reality.
EM: No, seriously, I smell good. [Laughs]
KR: You do smell good! [Laughs]
EM: Thank you! Thanks for watching Leanne. Thanks for loving Leanne and her crazy meth ass.
KR: Thank you for such a fun interview today!
[After the interview we did get Emma to do the dolphin laugh for us, here is
To learn more about Emma Myles, IMDB her!
Follow Emma on Twitter
Follow Emma on Instagram