‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ star doesn’t just play a badass – she’s a role model IRL.
Playing a badass comes naturally to Samira Wiley.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” star was an unknown just six years ago who’d been rejected from five performing arts schools. Now she’s a Juilliard grad filming season two of Hulu’s Emmy-winning dystopian drama – which scored Wiley her own first-ever Emmy nom for playing the rebellious Moira opposite Elisabeth Moss – and guest-starring in the upcoming YouTube Red comedy series “Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television,” where she plays a no-nonsense detective.
“Having a strong sense of self and trusting your own inner voice is really valuable,” Wiley, 30, told Moneyish.
And while she picked up that inner strength from her mother, she also credits her fan-favorite characters Poussey Washington on “Orange is the New Black” and Moira on “Handmaid’s” for teaching her how to work it.
'Handmaid’s Tale’ star Samira Wiley has some advice about getting paid what you’re worth https://t.co/JkFIABSGEc
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 4, 2017
“I like to play characters where I can learn things from them, so I think I actually get a lot of inspiration from Moira,” she said. “Moira has so many qualities I wish I had in my life. She is so sure of herself, she’s so no-nonsense, she’s such a badass. Don’t you want the first word, when someone describes you, to be: ‘She’s such a badass?’”
She’s excited to be working in a time when the entertainment industry is finally making room for badass actors of all backgrounds, like herself.
“When I was little, it was harder to see people who look like me on television,” she said. “Being at the Emmys a few Sundays ago was just amazing for me – being queer, being black, being a woman. There were so many nominations this year with more representation, I believe, than any other year. And every year it keeps climbing.
“But the conversation always needs to be had to make sure that everyone is represented,” she said.
Wiley wed “Orange” writer and producer Lauren Morelli in March, and mused to Moneyish that juggling wedding planning with her intense “Handmaid’s” shoots was a struggle.
“American Express has this new payment feature that would have really helped me out,” she said, promoting the new Pay It Plan It feature that gives cardholders two new ways to spend. They can pay for smaller purchases – like a cup of coffee – by tapping that individual expense on the mobile app, and knocking it off of their overall balance. Or they can set up monthly payment plans for splurges over $100 at a fixed fee with no interest.
“I’m not a really organized person,” she admitted. “It could’ve help me plan the bigger purchases – the wedding venue, things like that.”
And she also swears by dedicating “we” time with her wife. “Making time for each other is the key; you have to do that,” she said. “You can’t just say, ‘I’ll see her when she comes around.’ You have to make time for each other, cultivate that relationship, make sure everything’s cool and fresh.”
She’s also got strong opinions on when to ask for more money or a promotion at work.
“I think we as women always think there has to be a ‘right’ time … but I think in asking for a raise, you know when you’ve earned it. You know when you feel like you need it. And the ‘right’ time is your time,” she said. “Getting a seat at the table and having your voice heard has to start directly with you. It has to start with you knowing you do have a voice that needs to be heard and is valuable, so it has to start with yourself.”
Don’t waste time at a job you don’t love – or on a date you know isn’t going anywhere. “When you feel like it’s time to leave, girl, don’t you stay there when you know that it is not going anywhere!” she said.
As for the right time to leave a party, she cracked, “When there’s nothing else to drink!”
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