'Orange is the New Black': Catherine Cleary Wolters fact checks plot
By now, we all know Netflix series Orange is the New Black is a fictionalized version of Piper Kerman’s life as a drug mule-turned-inmate. But how fictionalized is it?
Vanity Fair spoke with Catherine Cleary Wolters, the woman Alex Vause (played by Laura Prepon) is based on, and found out just how close she and Kerman were. And, sorry to break it to you, Alex-Piper shippers, but what really happened isn’t as romantic as the show makes it out to be: Wolters told Vanity Fair that the actual story is “so wretched and stinky, it would quite possibly result in a collapsed universe.” Harsh.
So we took a look at what Wolters had to say about her relationship — or lack of one, according to her — with Kerman and how it matches up with the show. See Wolters’ take on the events, and then thank Black creator Jenji Kohan for taking her liberties with the material. No one wants a collapsed universe, now do we?
SHOW SAYS: Alex seduces an innocent — Alex calls her Laura Ingalls Wilder — Piper when they meet in a bar.
WOLTERS SAYS: “I was not the older sexy, glamorous, lesbian who snatched her from her pristine Smith College Cradle … I was not Piper’s first, and I certainly did not seduce her.”
SHOW SAYS: Alex and Piper reunite in a steamy (prison) church scene.
WOLTERS SAYS: “We did not have sex in prison.” And, to clarify, “Not even a little bit.”
SHOW SAYS: Alex and Piper landed in the same prison facility for their sentences.
WOLTERS SAYS: The two were in the same facility — but only for five weeks — and Kerman wouldn’t even talk to Cleary on the flight to that facility, a Chicago detention center.
SHOW SAYS: Alex and Piper were in a relationship.
WOLTERS SAYS: “We weren’t girlfriends. We were friends with benefits.”
SHOW SAYS: Piper didn’t get involved in Alex’s crimes until after they became romantically involved.
WOLTERS SAYS: “When we were traveling together, I started developing a crush on her. And eventually. that turned into a crazy mad love affair. But that was after she had already done the deed that made her complicit.”
SHOW SAYS: Alex was the one person who named Piper, therefore resulting in her arrest.
WOLTERS SAYS: Everyone, not just Cleary, talked: “So, yes, I named her, she named me, and we all named each other. Fact was, we all thought we were doing the right thing, confessing, getting protection, and saving ourselves from certain death at the hands of a Nigerian drug lord who we knew would soon find we had all been arrested.”
Orange Is the New Black
Jenji Kohan’s absorbing ensemble dramedy, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, takes viewers inside the walls of Litchfield, a minimum security women’s prison where nothing’s as simple as it seems—especially the inmates.