Orange Is The New Black’s Lea DeLaria

Like everyone that watches Orange is the New Black, we absolutely love Lea DeLaria aka the wickedly funny Big Boo on the show. Besides playing an amazing role on a show that’s no doubt one of the most important series on television right now, DeLaria is also a musician whose album House of David just came out. A double threat? Triple, we’re guessing, but we have yet to see DeLaria’s dance moves. We chatted with DeLaria on the recent #lovewins victory, progress in the LGBT community and her love of Italian food…


From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day? 

I was recently diagnosed with diabetes; therefore my ideal foods have changed. I generally have a nice breakfast made up of eggs and some kind of meat, usually pork. I love me some pork. If I eat lunch it’s usually a salad, again with some kind of meat, like a Chicken Caesar or Cobb or possibly steak and greens. It’s not unusual for me to skip dinner. But if I smoke pot then I will enjoy an LA burrito delivered to my Bushwick apartment. It’s important to note that said burrito would be made with a whole-wheat tortilla. I can occasionally eat whole-wheat with diabetes.

What’s surprised you most about playing your role in OITNB? 

How much people love Boo. I’ve been a butch dyke my whole life and have essentially dealt with nothing but derision from society at large, so to have the entire world like her and find her funny is amazing.

What similarities do you share with your character?

Besides a vagina, nothing…

Joke! I am Boo.

How did you feel about your backstory being shared this this season?

I loved Boo’s back story. So much of it mirrored my own. Butches have a shared life experience and most of those intricate childhood and young adult humiliations were prominently featured in this episode. It was fab. I hope Boo’s episode does for butch lesbians what Season 1 Episode 3 did for the trans community.


How did you feel about this month’s #lovewins victory? What was your first reaction?

I’ve gotta admit I cried. I never thought I’d see it in my lifetime. It’s awesome to know that now I too can get drunk in Las Vegas and marry a hooker in the Elvis chapel.

How significant do you think OITNB has been in equal rights for the LGBT community in general?

It’s important to win over the hearts and minds of people in order to affect a change in society; I believe OITNB has been a major influence in this particular process.

What got you into music in the first place? 

My father was a professional jazz pianist. He taught me music and a great appreciation for the genre.

What was your favorite music growing up as a kid and why? 

I love to rock ‘n’ roll. Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater, Jethro Tull, Neil Young, Carole King, Fifth Dimension, The Mamas & the Papas, all the girl groups, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Dion DiMucci, and The Rolling Stones. I was a huge Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé fan.

Growing up, what foods did you love to eat? What foods did you refuse to?

I loved pizza, pasta, and all the really fat-filled Italian stuff. I of course hated liver and vegetables, like all children.

If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would your quote to the group be? 

Gertrude Stein, Sappho, Martina Navratilova, Rachel Maddow, and Radclyffe Hall. My quote would be, “Hey guys you think maybe we just haven’t met the right man?”


*Lea DeLaria, photographed at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann. Lea wears an Out Of Print t-shirt, Ray Ban sunglasses, and Vans sneakers

Read interviews with Orange is the New Black stars Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, and Yael Stone