Learning to accept ourselves can be a journey in and of itself. Even some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have a hard time discovering their true selves. "Orange is the New Black" star Samira Wiley admittedly had a difficult time at accepting her sexuality during the early stages of her career. It comes as a surprise that the Emmy-award star struggled with finding herself. Unfortunately, much of Hollywood didn’t accept her sexual orientation.
Luckily, Wiley broke away from Hollywood’s expectations of her and discovered her own voice and has made herself a household name all from just being herself. She’s not changing for nobody, especially not her sexuality.
For some stars, tackling stardom comes down to balancing their work and personal lives. However, that wasn’t the case for actress Samira Wiley. Not only did the 34-year-old had to navigate the shark-infested waters of Hollywood and her personal life, but she also learned to accept her sexuality.
Like any new actor, Wiley wanted to make a name for herself in the world of fame and fortune. In talking with Josh Smith on his Make It Reign podcast this past Tuesday, Wiley admitted to hiding her sexuality in order to receive more roles.
“So I really poured over what should my strategy be in terms of how to hide who I really am so that I can be accepted and then if I’m accepted, then maybe I’ll get opportunities for jobs that I wouldn’t get if I just was me,” Wiley said.
In retrospect, the star led two different lived for a time. In her personal life, she was free to express her sexuality but at work, she acted as someone else. Unfortunately, Wiley spent years hiding her true sexual orientation. Imaginably, that must’ve been exhausting and even soul-crushing.
Samira Wiley had dreams of being a true Hollywood actress. However, the 34-year-old felt pressured to hide a large part of herself in order to excel in showbiz. Even more disheartening, many of the people she surrounded herself with encouraged the actress to pose as a heterosexual woman both on and off camera.
On Make In Reign, Wiley revealed that she had a male friend who was also gay and yearned to act. Furthermore, Wiley’s people decided that her and her best friend “should pose as a couple together, especially at red carpet events.”
Somehow, the logic behind the strategy would result in neither Wiley or her friend “comin out” to the public. At some point in time, the false narrative would loose it’s touch. Thankfully, it did.
After a little trial and error, Samira Wiley eventually found her true identity. Though the actress admits that her “eureka moment” to self-acceptance and discovery didn’t happen overnight.
She told Smith on Make It Reign, that “piece by piece” she revealed more of her sexuality to the world on social media. Her settle hints didn’t come from taking advice from others, either. Instead, Samira Wiley learned to listen to her own voice and decided to just be herself.
Eventually, she met someone who accepted her wholeheartedly, her wife Lauren Morelli.
“...Posting one little picture that had a flutter of me being gay and someone picking up on that and responding well to it. Then I responded well to that and then it snowballed into, ‘Hey, I'm here. I'm gay Samira. Hi!’” the 34-year-old told Make It Reign.
It seemed that right after Samira came out to the world, doors started opening. Not only did major acting opportunities came around like Orange Is The New Black, but also a shot at true love. The actress and her long-time partner Lauren Morelli eventually wed in 2017.
Fast forward to 2021 and the couple welcomed their first child, George. The couple were over the moon about the birth of their daughter on May 9th of this year. Both Wiley and Morelli bombarded social media with tons of photos of the big moment. Now a new mom and one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Samira Wiley has accomplished plenty all from being herself.