Get to Know Orange Is the New Black's Laura Gómez Before the Season 3 Premiere

Orange Is the New Black season three premieres this Friday, June 12 (tomorrow!), and though details on the new season are being kept under lock and key, what we know is that the next few episodes will be full of unexpected twists and turns — what else could you expect? We caught up with the person responsible for one of the biggest shockers of season one (spoilers ahead!), Dominican actress Laura Gómez, who plays Lichfield inmate Bianca Flores. She talked to us about the controversy behind Latina stereotypes on the show, the traditions that keep her close to her roots, and her hidden talents. Keep reading to find out more.

Getty | D Dipasupil

POPSUGAR: Why is it important to you to represent Latinas in Hollywood?

Laura Gómez: It's about changing stereotypes, and I think that’s important in terms of what type of image we bring to the audience, especially to a younger audience. As actresses we're able to do that little by little. It’s a slow process, but by representing and creating different roles that are not necessarily what has been defined as Latina, like the maid or the prisoner, we'll get there. OITNB felt like the exception to me, because, even though it comes from that “stereotypical” place with Latinas in prison, there are layers to the characters, making them human. I define myself as Latina by using that word: layers. There’s just so many in every race and ours is no exception.

Getty | Jim Spellman

PS: You mentioned OITNB seemed different to you when it comes to the portrayal of Latinas, but there's been some controversy surrounding that topic and the show.

LG: The truth is what the show has done is bring to light the unfair treatment of minorities. I think there’s a mass incarceration of minorities for sometimes petty crimes, and the show shows that. I do understand how people can see the show as stereotyping, but I feel that what it’s showing is reality, making these characters so human, therefore defying the stereotype.

Getty | Mark Sagliocco

PS: You look totally different as Blanca Flores. Does the beauty transformation take a long time?

LG: My favorite part about playing this character is that I look so different from myself. I am able to transform into this strange creature. Blanca is odd; it's like I keep peeling an onion, discovering new things about her temperament and her character. I wish I could say it takes forever to transform, but it does not. Our hair and makeup department is brilliant. It's 15 to 20 minutes in hair, maybe another 20 minutes in makeup. We work together in creating details, like sometimes I tell my makeup artist: “Oh, we need to make this brow a little bit more intense.” It’s what defines Blanca, right? That hair and that unibrow.

Getty | Mark Sagliocco

PS: Were you shocked about the twist your character had on season one?

LG: I had a hint from episode one, when I scared Piper, and I remember the director Michael Trim telling me, “You might not be as crazy as you think.” I looked at him and smiled and said, “OK.” But it was just a hint and the truth is that I was still as surprised as the audience was. I was laughing when I read the cell phone part, because I realized “Oh my god, I am really not crazy. I’m freakin’ genius!”

Getty | Ethan Miller

PS: What can we expect on season three?

LG: I cannot say much about it. What I can say is that obviously there are new characters coming to season three that are going to bring new dynamics to the show, and maybe there are interactions between characters you would not picture together, like, “Blanca is talking to this person? Really? What's happening?”

PS: The show has already been renewed for season four. Will we see Blanca then?

LG: I can say yes.

Getty | Jerritt Clark

PS: You do a lot outside of acting, tell us about that.

LG: I’ve been the official Spanish announcer for CoverGirl for about seven years now, and I also do voiceover for Suave Professionals. My dream is to do the voice for a cartoon. I love theater too, even though I don’t get to do it as I used to because of how time consuming it is. You can really own the stage and create a character and roll with it. I’m also a film junkie. There’s something about film that is so permanent. It’s so powerful once it’s done, but it’s really a director's medium. I’ve directed three movies so far and I’m in postproduction of my third short film right now called The Iron Warehouse.

Getty | Michael Loccisano

PS: You were born in New Jersey but grew up in Dominican Republic. What do you miss the most?

LG: My family. My parents, my brother, and my nephew are all in Dominican Republic. I miss the sun. Oh, I miss the Caribbean so much! I miss the food, but I do get to go home a few times a year and I do have family here, so whenever I miss the food, I call my aunt and she makes sure that I have a little bit of Dominican flavor on the table. Sancocho and asopao de camarones are my favorite dishes. When I want to connect with my country, I listen to merengue.