Lea DeLaria: Uncensored and Unedited
She is everyone’s favorite butch, Big Boo, from the hit show “Orange is the New Black.” In an exclusive interview, Chrystal and Emily from The Laughing Lesbian got up close and personal with the woman behind the character, or in this case, just the woman. Lea DeLaria is proud of who she is and where she is in life and it is evident by her uninhibited voice in this world. She isn’t after shock value; she is just her true authentic self and if you can’t handle her, well, she doesn’t care.
- You are such a huge icon for the gay community. What would you like to say to all who are questioning their sexuality or are hesitant to come out?
You can only be where you are. You don’t have to come out until you are ready to come out. There are a lot of militant bullies out there on the right and the left. They want you to follow their political agenda they will brow best you to do so. Fuck ’em. You do you. Love yourself. Live your life. The rest will fall into place.
- You’ve been quoted saying, “Learn all the rules…. then break them.” What rules have you broken that have actually helped you to appreciate life more, rather than sitting back and playing it safe?
I guess the biggest rule I broke was to never be in the closet. I just couldn’t live my life that way. I have to say it was not an easy choice but it was the correct one for me. It did not make it easier in my industry, in fact it made it way more difficult, but the success has been twice as sweet and more than I could have imagined.
- As an actress, many roles require a wide range of emotion. Which scenes do you find emotionally draining in Orange is the New Black?
The entirety of episode four of the third season, Finger In The Dyke. Since butches share a common life experience, I found many of the scenes mirroring both my childhood and the derision I have felt from my own community. The entire episode was both difficult and joyous for me. I believe it was eye opening for much of our audience who have no idea what it’s like to grow up Butch in this world. I hope it does for Butches what season one episode three did for transgendered
- While singing, you’ve got an incredibly sexy and sultry voice. Do you have any favorite singers that you draw inspiration from?
I have favorite singers in many different genres of music. As to drawing inspiration from them, I draw more inspiration from instrumentalists, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and the like. I think it’s incredibly unfortunate that we live in a world of X factor and American Idol where everyone is encouraged to sing in a cookie-cutter way. I believe to be a good singer Singer you should have your own voice and style and most importantly sound.
- Where would you like to see Big Boo’s story line go? Is there anything you’d like to do that you need to convince the writers to include?
Oh fuck no! We have the best writers in show business and Jenji Kohan is a mad genius. I have complete and utter faith in them and their ability.
- What empowers you to hold your head high on days that really beat you down?
- I truly appreciate this quote from you: “Be sure you know who and what you are before you say to anyone else this is who I am.” What was your breakthrough moment where you realized, this is who I am and I am proud!
When I entered my first dyke bar at the age of 16.
- In the television industry it is very common for butch women to be portrayed as unkind, unintelligent, and rather lacking. However, Boo is incredibly intelligent, sympathetic, and rather funny. Do you think Orange is the New Black is making strides in how people respond to your character and the LGBTQA community as a whole?
- Big Boo has a pretty specific back-story that I am sure many LGBTQA people relate to. Did your portrayal of Boo’s life mirror any of your own personal history and life experiences?
Since I’ve already answered that question. I’d like to take a moment to address “LGBTQA” is there someway we could please come up with one word to call ourselves? I mean really now we are Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning and Allies? By the time you’re done saying it, the parade is over.
- If you ended up in prison today, who would you want as your Bunkie, dead or alive?
Ted Cruz. I’d love to make him my bitch.
- You have had a pretty amazing career so far, what has been some of the highlights and favorite experiences?
Being the first openly gay comic to perform on American television. Stopping the show not once but twice at Carnegie Hall. The first time was MY FAVORITE BROADWAY: The Leading Ladies. The second was JVC Jazz Fest tribute to Stephen Sondheim with my Jazz version of The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd. This is what got me my record deal at Warner Jazz and Classics. Winning the SAG Award. Hosting The Obie’s and finally OITNB, especially the fact that I am now the first person to do a dildo lesbian sex scene with the dick used the way its supposed to be i.e.: Strapped on!
- House of David is being released in a week, congratulations! What has been your favorite part in the making of this album?
Hearing the new versions of each of these tunes and realizing how versatile and well written they are. Also I fucking love the duet with Janis Siegel
- Has David Bowie heard the album?
Not that I’m aware of although his official Twitter has been very supportive.
- Orange is the New Black is made up of an amazing group of women portraying experiences and lifestyles from every aspect you could possibly think of. Did you realize signing on to the show that it would have the large impact that it currently has?
Who the fuck thinks that? It’s a whole new way of viewing TV. Nothing like it has ever happened before. So, no we knew it was good but could have no idea about its impact.
- If you had to listen to only one song on repeat for the rest of your life what song would it be and why?
John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. I have always wanted to transcribe it and feel it would take me the remainder of my lifetime.
- As Orange is the New Black has grown in popularity, the cast has become so deeply loved around the world. What is it like being such a huge influence and even an idol to women all over the world?
I think my fiancé put it best when after we had been asked for a picture for approximately the 100th time in 10 minutes while riding the M train. She said, ” how does it feel to know that just the sight of you makes someone’s entire week” it feels good
- Are there any women who have been an influence in your life and that have helped shape you into the woman you are today?
All of my exes, there are a lot of them.
- Aside from Orange is the New Black, you have had a pretty successful acting career and have been in some awesome movies as well as the theater. Do you plan on continuing in film and television as well as focusing on your music?
Honey when you look like me you got to do a lot of thing to keep a float. I will do what ever comes my way as long as I like it.
- You were recently the first woman on the cover of Ink Junkeyz. How do you feel this will impact women with tattoos and the taboo surrounding them?
Are there taboos still? I think society on the whole has come around in the chick tattoo thing. Those that haven’t are the same creepy Christian conservatives who don’t like ANYTHING that takes away their power. Fuck ’em I say.
- We here at The Laughing Lesbian truly appreciate you taking the time to respond to our questions. Do you have any closing words for our readers who look up to you?
I can usually be found at The Cubby Hole. Stop by for a cocktail or 10.
Lea DeLaria’s new album, “House of David” is on Itunes now!
Follow her in instagram @realleadelaria
Catch up on “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix!