Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) offers Orange is the New Black a very different personality from the rest of the girls in the Litchfield crew. She starts out the series as a girl who doesn’t seem to take much seriously; she jokes around with her friends and, for a woman in prison, she seems pretty carefree. However, by the end of the show’s second season, both Poussey as a character and Wiley as an actress really blossom.

Not only did Poussey have to face her fears and go after head honcho Vee (Lorraine Toussaint), but Wiley also had to break out of her comfort zone in Poussey’s flashback episode, “You Also Have A Pizza” (Season 2 Episode 6). In this episode, Wiley must speak German, a language she had never spoken before, and take part in her first sex scene.

In the episode, a young Poussey lives in Germany with her parents due to her father’s job in the military. She falls madly in love with a German girl and is extremely happy, telling her girlfriend how much she loves her over and over. One day, her girlfriend’s father, sees Poussey and his daughter naked in bed together. Angry, the girl’s father, a German officer, gets Poussey’s father sent back to the United States. In a heartbreaking moment, Poussey, very drunk, approaches her girlfriend’s father hysterically crying and telling him she loves his daughter. When she gets no reaction out of the man, Poussey reaches into her back pocket to pull out a gun. Thankfully, her father stops her before anyone sees the gun. We still don’t know how Poussey ended up in prison, though Taystee (Danielle Brooks) made a remark about her selling marijuana, which leaves Poussey with an element of mystery.

In the present, Poussey confronts Vee to defend Taystee, going up against a powerful bully to protect the woman she loves. Poussey’s love for Taystee is incredible and she shows character as they only girl to stand up to Vee.

Poussey gained great popularity when she described love on the show’s Valentine’s Day episode, saying, “It’s when you’re chillin’, kickin’ it with somebody, talkin’, making mad stupid jokes. And, like, not even wanting to go to sleep cause then you might be without them for a minute. You don’t want that.”

Poussey’s sweetness with the people she loves and her loyalty to her friends are what makes her one of the most interesting and well liked characters on the show.

Jennifer Hogan


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