It's never been quite clear how the Primetime Emmys and the Creative Arts Emmys work. Boring categories like Reality TV Host or Directing for a Comedy Series get to see their winners accept their awards during the live broadcast, but exciting competitions like Animated Series or Guest Actor are announced in a show that no one watches. So when Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba won an Emmy on Saturday for her guest role as Crazy Eyes, hardly anyone got to see it happen — but thankfully, there's a video of her talking about her award just a few moments later, and it's even better than the one we'd have seen on-stage.
During her Emmy acceptance speech, Aduba spoke about her love for the Netflix show and her castmates, several of whom were sitting teary-eyed in the audience. She also talked about her gratitude towards her family, including her mother, who she said "came from Nigeria to make a better life for her family."
Moments later, in the press room, Aduba elaborated on her comments, including what it means for her to see her mother, present at the Emmys, to watch her daughter find such success in a job she loves.
"It means everything to me," the actress said. "We're talking about a woman who survived polio, a woman who survived civil war and genocide, and sacrificed so much to come to the United States for her five children to have a chance."
Later, Aduba spoke about another female inspiration, OINTB creator Jenji Kohan, who she described as "generous," "honest," and "a mama bear."
"Working with Jenji is so satisfying," she said. "She wants to create a family there for us. She really does everything in her power to make sure that energy — the love and the life that’s present — stays bright, and that makes it the perfect work environment."
Aduba said her favorite thing about the showrunner is her "burning need to tell the truth," no matter the barriers or cost.
"She puts that and instills that in her writing and her writers, and it’s just incredible," the Emmy winner said.
Aduba also reminisced on her excitement over learning she'd won the part of Crazy Eyes several years ago, despite it not being her initial choice of character, Janae.
"The part I auditioned for was a track star," she said, laughing. "It had nothing to do with a girl who pees on the floor."
Clearly, though, the change-up worked out, with Aduba, thanks to her wonderful, nuanced performance as Suzanne, now considered one of OITNB's biggest breakout stars. In addition to the Emmy, the actress has won a Critics' Choice Award, has starred in Funny or Die videos, and has become a key example of the series' incredible, immediate impact and success. Her win on Saturday was the culmination of an unbelievable few years, and, after the fantastic performance she gave in season 2 of the show, will likely be the start of an even better year to come.
"I feel so full, that’s why the tears come out," the emotional actress said in the press room, holding tightly to her Emmy. "I’m stuffed. My cup runneth over right now. Mission accomplished, thank you."
Watch the moving clip below: