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Third Degree With Uzo Aduba

The past two years have been, well, crazy, for the stage vet turned TV actress. Besides her two-time Emmy-winning role as the lovable but highly unstable Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Orange Is the New Black, on Dec. 3, Aduba will star as Glinda the Good Witch in NBC’s The Wiz Live! Here, the New York resident discusses everything from Daniel Day Lewis’ acting chops to what really goes on inside Litchfield Penitentiary’s cafeteria.

According to Uzo (aka Uzoamaka, which means “the road is good” in Nigerian Igbo) Aduba, the cast of Orange Is the New Black is so close that they vacation together regulary. “I know, it’s too much, but we really can’t help ourselves,” she told us.

Which five iconic figures would be at your dream dinner party?
Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Barbra Streisand, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Meryl Streep. I can only imagine the stories that would be tossed around...

Favorite role to date?  
Playing Toby—an 8-year-old boy in 1700s London—in my Broadway debut, Coram Boy

What do you miss most about the theater?
There’s something exciting about spending weeks crafting a fully realized character—who has never existed—and then giving it away to an audience every night until it ceases to exist again.  

What do you and your OITNB character have in common?  
Suzanne and I both love very deeply. I have very little in common with Crazy Eyes except for a deep love for inventive hairstyles.

Funniest moment on set?
Any cafeteria scene. We cannot stop talking and catching up. For the crew, it’s like herding cats.

Worst job you’ve ever had?
Scooping ice cream—very messy, very sticky and I think I gave a lot of it away.

Who would play you in your film biopic?
Daniel Day Lewis. He could handle it quite convincingly, I imagine.

Do you prefer phone calls or texts?
Definitely phone calls. I like to connect with people and prefer to do as little interpreting of another person’s meaning of something as possible.

TV guilty pleasure?
The Real Housewives franchise. Although, I’ve been feeling less guilty about this with every passing day.

Biggest vice?  
That requires admitting there’s a problem (stop looking at me, Cheez-It!).

What always surprises you about New Yorkers?
How willing we are to stop and help you when we realize you’re not trying to sell us something or about to hand us a flyer.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?  
‘Just work hard. I’ve never heard of nothing coming from hard work.’ My mother.

What does no one know about Uzo Aduba?  
That I don’t get scared until it’s time to jump—but I still always jump.