When Madeline Brewer stopped by the InStyle offices this week, something was noticeably absent. The actress first caught our attention on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, where she played an inmate whose most identifiable trademark was a jarring black tattoo that slithered up the front of her neck. Ink-free (and armed with adorable werewolf-embellished cupcakes), we were able to direct our attention to Brewer’s new roll on the television series Hemlock Grove, chat about her memories of working on Orange—and of course, talk beauty, boys and fashion. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:
So we have to ask you about your tattoo on Orange Is The New Black. How long did it take to get inked each day?
The makeup artist would put paper down, add water and then peel the tattoo off. It was super simple! I remember her initially trying to decide where to place it, and then she held it up to my neck and said, “That’s it!”
And the corn rows?
An amazing woman named Mama D helped me with them—they took about 20 minutes every day. I’d take them out when filming wrapped and my hair would be completely crinkled and wavy.
There’s that scene in Orange where Uzo Aduba’s character, Crazy Eyes, perfectly recites Shakespeare. Is it true that many of your former cast members were classically trained?
Yes, it’s insanity! Everyone was always cracking jokes— but then you’d realize they were classically trained and would just think, “Who are you?!” There were some truly incredible transformations that happened on the set. I studied Shakespeare at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and Orange was my first audition ever for TV or film.
Your character, Trisha, dies at the end of season one. How did you find out you were being written off? Were you upset?
Trisha was only supposed to be in two or three episodes, so I actually felt grateful that they wrote me into the season until episode 10! I received a very long, three page email during episode 8 that apologized and told me I had to go—it was all part of the plot. I was upset but I understood and it opened up the door for my next big gig.
Yes, Season 2 of Hemlock Grove! Tell us about it.
Filming in Toronto wrapped two weeks ago and the show is very intertwined with supernatural elements—very different than Orange. My list of auditions after Orange came out were nearly all drug addict-related— so this opportunity was reassuring. Hemlock is so intelligently written and brilliantly put together. Every detail in the show is there for a reason and it fascinates me.
What was it like jumping into season 2 and getting to work with actors Landon Liboiron and Bill Skarsgard?
I come in and there’s these two gorgeous boys! For Orange I was always covered up in my jumpsuit and 50 pound boots– let’s just say that this has been a very different experience.
Are you having fun getting dressed up for events and the red carpet?
I’m definitely trying to educate myself! When it comes to fashion, I never wear makeup and always stick to black clothing. I was styled for today and am quickly realizing that the act of styling is a true talent. I would have never put each of these pieces together!