Samira Wiley is an American actress, well-known for delivering magnificent performances in TV series like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ While she bagged the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ for ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ she received a nomination for the prestigious ‘Emmy Award’ for her performance in ‘The Handmaid's Tale.’ In February 2015, she was felicitated by a nonprofit organization, ‘Human Rights Campaign,’ which presented her with the ‘Visibility Award.’ Wiley has played a few prominent roles in Hollywood movies like ‘Rob the Mob’ (2014) and ‘Nerve’ (2016). She was seen in the Robert De Niro-starrer drama film ‘Being Flynn.’ She has also worked as a model and has appeared on the cover of ‘Maniac Magazine.’ She was featured on the cover of ‘Out Magazine,’ along with actors like Zachary Quinto, Ellen Page, and Sam Smith. In 2014, she was named ‘Ingenue of the Year’ by ‘Out Magazine.’ Samira Wiley’s parents have always been supportive of her choices and decisions. According to the actress, she owes her success to them.
Childhood & Early Life
Samira Wiley was born on April 15, 1987, in Washington, D.C. She was raised by her parents, Dennis W. Wiley, and Christine Wiley. Samira has two siblings, namely Joshua Wiley and Aiyana Ma'at.
Samira was interested in acting from a very young age. She attended ‘The Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ and then pursued higher studies at the prestigious ‘Juilliard School,’ New York City. She graduated from ‘Juilliard School’ in 2010.
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She began her mainstream acting career with the 2011 comedy film ‘The Sitter,’ in which she played the role of Tina. In the same year, she also got an opportunity to play Maria in the theatrical adaptation of Shakespeare's play ‘Love's Labour's Lost.’
Samira’s big breakthrough came in 2013 when she got an opportunity to play Poussey Washington in the TV series ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ After appearing in 12 episodes in the first season, she returned to the show during its second season. This time around, her character was featured prominently, making her one of the regulars of the series.
She appeared throughout the third season of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and by the time the fourth season was aired, her character had become a prominent part of the series. She soon became a household name and had a huge fan following, which eventually gained her widespread recognition.
In 2014, Wiley acted in the crime film ‘Rob the Mob,’ in which she played the character of an agent named Annie Bell. The film received favorable reviews and also performed well at the box office.
In 2015, she appeared in the crime drama series ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’ Though she only played a minor role, her performance was appreciated by both critics and the audience.
In February 2016, Wiley voiced the central character of the video game ‘The Walking Dead: Michonne,’ which was released by ‘Telltale Games.’ She was nominated for the ‘BTVA Video Game Voice Acting Award’ for her performance. In the same year, she also acted in a couple of movies including ‘37’ and ‘Nerve.’ She was also seen in a couple of TV series titled ‘The Catch’ and ‘You're the Worst.’
In 2017, she received critical acclaim for her performance in the series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ The series was based on a 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. The web television series won many prestigious awards, which in turn helped Samira’s acting career. In the same year, she went on to act in a movie titled ‘Detroit,’ in which she played the role of Vanessa.
Her modelling career helped her establish as an actress. In 2014, she worked as a model for ‘PayPal,’ and went on to appear on the cover of a couple of famous magazines.
Awards & Achievements
In 2014, she was named ‘Ingenue of the Year’ by ‘Out Magazine.’ She also made it to the magazine’s 2017 ‘OUT 100’ list, which is published every year.
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In February 2015, she was honored with the ‘Visibility Award,’ which was presented to her by ‘Human Rights Campaign.’
In 2017, she was nominated for the prestigious ‘Emmy Award’ for her performance in ‘The Handmaid's Tale.’ She was nominated under the category, ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress.’
Samira Wiley announced on October 4, 2016, that she is engaged to Lauren Morelli. Lauren worked as a writer for the show ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ The couple exchanged their wedding vows on March 25, 2017.
Samira’s first car was ‘The Chevrolet Malibu.’
Her favorite place is Positano, a village in Italy.
She likes to sing gospel songs while taking her shower.
Her favorite book is ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho.
Her final scene in the television series ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ in which her character gets killed, was written by Lauren Morelli.