Orange is the New Black is bringing a load of new characters to the screen in Season 4, and one of them is even a celebrity. Is Judy King from Orange is the New Black based on a real person? In 2015, creator Jenji Kohan told Time that the show would reportedly feature a Martha Stewart-inspired character. Could that character be King? The fictional cooking show host is in jail for a white collar crime (tax evasion), and CNN reported that Stewart was convicted of lying about why she had previously sold shares of stocks in 2004, which is also considered a white collar crime. Bustle reached out to Martha Stewart for comment on the supposed commonalities, but has not yet received a response.
Before she showed up in person, Judy King was first introduced as a fan favorite amongst the inmates at Litchfield. Many of the ladies, in particular Poussey, gathered to watch both her cooking show and then her tax evasion trial coverage. By their own luck, Judy was assigned to Litchfield privately and self-surrendered in the Season 3 finale. Since we don't know much about this character other than how she is portrayed on television in the fictional world, we have a lot to learn this upcoming season about who she really is.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actress Blair Brown said, "When I heard that Judy was a cooking show celebrity and she was going to prison for some financial mischief, you think of Martha Stewart right away. She’s so not her in every other way. She’s Paula Deen-like, because she’s Southern, but Judy King is another entity altogether. It’s just that those two are the ones that spring to mind." Bustle also reached out to Paula Deen for comment on Brown's comparisons, but did not receive a response.
Brown compared Judy to Deen in an interview with Entertainment Weekly as well, citing the "weird Southern friendly quality" that the two share. THR also noted that in Piper Kerman's book that the series is based on, readers learned that Stewart was almost sent to the prison where Kerman was held. Brown was interested in the alleged comparisons to both Stewart and Deen, though she said didn't use either of them as inspiration specifically. "I had done my research in that regard, so I could leave it all behind, because it’s not Judy," she said in the same THR interview, "But I knew enough about the world they were in, and also, what kind of a real businesswoman she was to have an empire."
It seems that, alleged inspirations aside, Brown really wanted to make King her own character, and we can look forward to seeing more of her story in Season 4.
Images: K C Bailey/Netflix