'OITNB's Jackie Cruz Dishes On Next Season

by Rachel Krantz

When actress Jackie Cruz read for the character Flaca on Orange Is The New Black , she didn't expect the gig would turn into anything major. "It was two lines, and all they said was 'Feisty Latina," Cruz tells Bustle. "So my character grew within the show. They saw something in me, my character wasn't supposed to be anything, it was just a girl who fought Taystee."

While Flaca might not be considered a leading character on OITN, (though the show features an ensemble cast if I ever saw one), she did have some major plot-lines last season. We found out Flaca's backstory; that she was arrested for manufacturing fake drugs after someone who took them died (which, yes, is considered fraud and a crime in real life, too). We also got to meet her mother in Season 3, who we later found out is seriously ill. Cruz says filming the episode of Flaca's backstory was exciting — and emotionally draining.

"I totally had a completely different idea of her. I thought she was in prison because she helped sell drugs with her boyfriend, and that she was stupid to fall into that," Cruz says. "But no, she is a boss lady, and she is like, 'Oh, OK, if you don't want me to sell with you, I'll do my own thing.' But, she is in prison because of a lie ... It was tough. I became her. I'm already like her — like, they called me Flaca growing up — but she is a different person than me. But, we both love music. She is definitely cooler than I am."

Cruz might think Flaca's cooler, but if you met the 29-year-old actress in person, you might be skeptical. I spoke to her at a party to celebrate the launch of Vivala, a new website for Millennial Latinas. Considering the theme of the party, I asked Cruz what she thought of the criticism some people have of OITNB that Latinas are the only racial group on the show without any LGBT characters represented. Cruz (who herself once made out with Kourtney Kardashian) seemed surprised to learn anyone had an issue.

"I mean, Flaca did make out with Diane," Cruz said, referring to the scene where they kissed (and were immediately grossed out by it). "I don't even know why that is even an issue. But, funny story, I am doing a short video on that [topic], coming out shortly. So maybe they won't say anything after that."

As for next season? Cruz says she just hopes Flaca's mother gets better. Other than that? "I don't know — the writers are crazy, so I don't know what they have in store for me. Right now we are in the middle of filming the season and it is going to be crazy. Crazier than before."

While you wait for next season, you might be able to get your fix by watching Cruz perform — she also happens to be a talented singer/songwriter, as she showed the crowd with her set at the Vivala event. "I have a soft tone, a jazzy, bluesy type of music. That is the type of music I like to sing," Cruz says, adding that practically everybody likes to sing on the OITNB set, too.

"We should do a musical. Danielle [Brooks] is working on her EP right now, and I’m working on mine. I'm like, we might have to do it at the same time ..."

OITNB: The Musical? You heard it here first.

Images: Vivala