I am a first-generation Nigerian-American actress, writer, art-maker. You probably know me from Orange is the New Black, but my journey began in the theatre and the opera. I love sports, and volunteering & giving back as much as I possibly can. Which brings me to my Omaze campaign, going on right now, where if you enter to win (with the click of a button!) you could get a set visit to OITNB and meet myself, Laura Prepon, and as many of the other cast members as possible.

You can enter here: http://www.omaze.com/experiences/join-crazy-eyes-and-other-cast-at-the-orange-is-the-new-black-premiere

Thank you for supporting Uzo, Orange, and Omaze.

Victoria is helping me out today. AMA!


Edit You guys are absolutely incredible. Thank you for taking the time to come and ask such incredible & beautiful and smart questions. I know that I have been changed by all of you. I see you on Twitter, I see you on my Instagram, I see you on my FB, and I am just so grateful for the love & support you've shown not only me but the show. Thank you for supporting something like Orange Is The New Black, thank you for supporting me every single step of the way, I appreciate you and your love, and I'm so thankful to have you in my life.

You guys are the best. Couldn't do it without you.

Comments: 1164 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

judomonkeykyle2155 karma

I love the skit you did for Funny or Die. Which one of your OITNB co-stars was the most fun to do an impression of?

video link

UzoAduba1454 karma

Probably either Nicky Nichols & Piper, and I am so thankful that they are my friends and let me play!

purplewindex1941 karma

Thank you so much for doing this AMA! OITNB is such an amazing show, and you play my favorite character. I've worked as a mental health therapist in a jail and state prison, and you portray mentally ill inmates in such a captivating (not to mention accurate) way. My question is how you're able to channel your character in such a powerful light? You deserve all of the awards and then some!

UzoAduba2368 karma


First of all, thank you so much for your words. And thank YOU for being on the front lines of such a challenging and often forgotten group of people whom you are helping. I read the book about Piper Kerman's time in prison, and I also watched a lot of MSNBC's Lockup, and prison documentaries, previous to starting on this show, but for me, I never wanted to play her "crazy" as that's not as interesting to me. I really wanted to focus on the love story that I saw when I read it. And focus on her passion for life, and focus on the tactics that she's willing to employ to obtain that which she loves most, or wants to love. If anything, I'd say Suzanne doesn't think she's crazy, she thinks she's unique! I have a sensitivity and am really accepting and understanding that sometimes people's eccentricities or shortcomings, it's easy for us to judge sometimes and not handle them with the level of care they deserve. And i feel a responsibility for Suzanne for that reason.

Wackbot962 karma

Which real person would you most likely throw your pie for?

UzoAduba927 karma


That list is too long. Um... probably anyone in my family.

gilraens944 karma

Hi, Uzo! Hope you're having a great day! Seeing the skit where you did OITNB auditions got me wondering, would you like to host SNL one day? And do you like doing improv comedy?

UzoAduba1727 karma

Love doing improv comedy. SO MUCH FUN. And a dream of mine is to host SNL one day.

poodlesigil754 karma

Hi, Ms. Aduba! Watching you on OITNB has been both joyful because of your performance, and crushing as the show explores Suzanne's past.

What has been the most emotionally draining scene to film so far?

UzoAduba1469 karma

In season 2, it was really challenging for both myself as the actor to watch Suzanne take on Poussey in such a violent way (because I not only love Poussey the character, but I absolutely adore Samira Wiley). So that was hard. It was also really challenging to do the Uno cards scene, knowing that V was gone, and putting that lifetime of pain that Suzanne has felt into that moment. It hurt my heart.

bridgebot651 karma

Greetings Uzo! I am a huge fan of yours and I am so honored to be able to ask you a question here. I can't tell you how many times my friends and I have said, "Chocolate and Vanilla swirrrr-rrrrrl."

Is there anything about working on the OITNB set that you don't like? (i.e.-gets cold doing prison yard scenes, etc.) I know that's kind of a loaded question, but I only ask because judging from everyone's instagram accounts and Facebook posts, it looks like you all are having a blast on the set most of the time!

Thank you so much for doing what you do.

UzoAduba1435 karma

I haven't yet met the thing that I don't like. I haven't met anything I don't like. Because I love to eat (we do cafeteria scenes), I like to take naps (we lay in the beds a lot) and my friends all work there. It's a pretty good gig. Maybe the shoes are too heavy? Because they have steel in the toes. I could live without the steel in the toes. In the cafeteria, they actually serve food from the nice restaurant next door - the chicken is dangerously good. And they give us Ruffle chips! Which is one of my favorite foods. They are one of my favorite brands. Chips are one of my favorite foods. What's not to like? Basically I just let you know that I just love to eat and sleep.

fleegle96525 karma

Hi Uzo! Thanks for doing an AMA!

Who tends to break character the most on set?

(PS – To Netflix – Please release a gag reel!!)

UzoAduba751 karma

No one really breaks character - when we cut anything that was funny, we usually will have a laugh about it. But during, we stay pretty in it. But there's a LOT in-between takes happening. Danielle Brooks is hilarious on-set generally, but she doesn't break.

Sade1994430 karma

Crazy Eyes is my favorite character on OITNB and I was just wandering what it takes to turn into the character Crazy Eyes? Is any part of that character a reflection of yourself? Do you have someone that you model yourself after? Thanks so much!

UzoAduba1128 karma

The part of her that is a reflection of myself is how deeply she loves. I've certainly known that feeling before.

I don't model the character necessarily after anyone in particular. I just remember thinking about this line that they described in the first episode that said that that she was innocent like a child, but children aren't scary. And that created, in my brain, an image of a grown woman with a pacifier in her mouth carrying a sledgehammer.

midwestprotest420 karma

Why do you think people enjoy "Crazy Eyes"/Suzanne so much?

UzoAduba1124 karma

You know, I can't speak for other people, but for me what I love about her is how open her heart is. How pure she is, that there's no agenda with her. She is truly honest.

J3ssminda380 karma

Do you have any rituals for getting into character?

UzoAduba1395 karma

I take walks before and afterwards, to let her in and to say goodbye. Before and after getting into costume.

I_Lase_You361 karma

Hello Uzo! You are extraordinarily beautiful! Here's a Welcome to reddit lase I made for you! [Link] Now the question: Do you really not know how old you are?

UzoAduba276 karma

First of all, I want to say that's incredible. Thank you so much.

I've never seen anything like that, and it was so. cool!

As to your question, of course i know how old I am! (And Suzanne is ;)

BriefBoxers297 karma

Hey Uzo! I just wanted to let you know that you're such a powerful actress and made my feelings towards Suzanne turn around so many times over seasons one and two.

I wanted to ask: what your favorite TV shows/movies to watch?

UzoAduba415 karma

Okay, I love The Wire, Scandal, Breaking Bad, The Comeback - OH! The Sopranos! That's like my all-time favorite show - Sex and the City, I still watch it on reruns. And that's it. That's all I can think of.

ian0429295 karma

Thank you so much for doing an AMA, Uzo. Only being your second Television role, how has it been adjusting to this type of work and lifestyle? Also, are you working on anything new? I can't wait to see you in other films and shows. Thanks a lot!

UzoAduba446 karma

It's been an adjustment, going down the street and people recognizing me - I'm thankful for it, because i love that people have been enjoying the show, and enjoying Suzanne so much, that makes me feel really happy and proud and grateful. Humbling, really. Right now I'm not working on anything new, we're just busy shooting season 3, but I did make a film this past spring, which was an amazing experience and one I hope to repeat again. The movie is called Pearly Gates, and it's in post-production now.

polarlights249 karma

Thank you for doing this! You are a brilliant actress!

What's your favorite type of pizza?

UzoAduba608 karma


One is mushroom. I've loved mushroom since I was a kid, to the point where my older sister thought it was a meat, because I loved meat so much. The second is mushroom, pepperoni, and sausage.

peepjynx234 karma


First, I'd like to express how much I adore your work and your character on OITNB. Second, I just read the article on the Huffington Post about how you want to be a "champion for young women," and I must say, it is truly inspiring.

(Link for those who haven't read it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/31/uzo-aduba-orange-is-the-new-black-role-model_n_5635325.html )

My question aligns with the current "hot topic" in which various girls and women are speaking out about how they don't need/want feminism. What's your response to that?

And thank you for being a part of the new generation of strong, inspiring actors who explain that you don't need to be a lily white, stick figure to be beautiful!

UzoAduba671 karma

My response to that is that's exactly what feminism is - it's having the choice of being the type of woman you want to be.

Thank you to the second part of your question. We all are beautiful, and I think the thing that is the most beautiful about Orange is that we get celebrate that uniqueness.

boxyjelly229 karma

Uzo, as a child of Nigerian parents, how much of a hard time did you have with pursuing acting, instead of a more traditionally respected career, like doctor/engineer and so on?

UzoAduba472 karma

I fortunately did not have much push-back from my parents. They are very progressive. My mother was the one who introduced myself and all of my siblings to the arts. My mom always said she didn't care what we did, she just wanted us to do something that we loved and to do it well.

Frajer219 karma

Do you think Suzanne will ever be more respected by her fellow inmates?

UzoAduba1190 karma

You know, I'm not as interested / invested in the respect she gets from her fellow inmates as much as I'm invested in her realizing her self-worth.

Redwinevino198 karma

I just wanted you to know that the way you described love on the show was so heartfelt and amazing, so thank you for that.

Does it ever get to you just how much Susanne (and therefore youreself) means to fans of the show?

Thanks for doing the AMA

UzoAduba221 karma


It's an absolute surprise and I don't think it's quite registered to me that this moment is happening. Not only for me, but also for this character whom I love so much.

J3ssminda193 karma

Who's back story have you enjoyed most on the show so far?

UzoAduba729 karma


I really enjoyed Morello's. That was really surprising for me. Did not expect it at all. I also really like Poussey's. I thought that was intense. And she did a beautiful job.

Sade1994188 karma

I've seen the funny or die version of your audition (which was hilarious by the way) but I was just wondering how your actual audition for the part of crazy eyes went. Did you go in knowing you were auditioning for that part or is that the part that ended up best suiting you?

UzoAduba320 karma

I actually auditioned for another role. Yes. I auditioned for the role of Janae, the track star: the only thing from that audition that exists onscreen now are the knots in my hair. I guess the audition went well enough that I got invited to play another part !

TheDuskDragon185 karma

Hello Uzo! Crazy Eyes is my favorite character on OITNB, so thank you for doing an AMA!

If a police officer tells you that you’re arrested for a crime you committed 10 years ago, what “crime” would you assume the police officer was referring to?

UzoAduba406 karma

Oh, 10 years ago?! Haha! 10 years ago... I'm not saying that i haven't returned a book or two, but if a library cop stopped me, I'm not confident I would get out of there alive.

cirrocco180 karma

Hi, Uzo. One quick question. Will the show's writers ever let you sing? I would love it if they do!

UzoAduba411 karma

HAHA! You're going to have to ask the writer gods on Orange Is the New Black. But you can hear me sing here and you can see me sing here.

Thanks for asking!

Floss_ordie171 karma

After the first season of OITNB I have starting referring to your character only as Suzanne and not Crazy Eyes (mainly because I feel it's cruel given her childhood struggles and mental illness issues.) How do you refer to her?

UzoAduba250 karma



This season 2, I've been able to find an affectionate way to refer to her as "Crazy Eyes," but more often than not, it's Suzanne.

oliveturtle147 karma

Do you think you have crazy eyes? What was your reaction when the producers told you your character would heavily be referred to as "crazy eyes"?

UzoAduba290 karma

I do not think I have "crazy eyes," in fact! My reaction was "I wonder what they saw in my audition that made them thinK I was right for it?!" but having met Suzanne now, I realize that there's more to her than her "crazy eyes," and that has felt like the most perfect fit.

pitchuthepitebull138 karma

How come your Wikipedia page says you were either born in 1980 or 1981?

UzoAduba263 karma

I have no idea! I didn't write it!

Blakk420134 karma

How do you feel about the impact that having an openly transgender actress on the show has had America and what do you think the future holds for those types of individuals?

UzoAduba367 karma

I think the impact that that part has had is that it's opened our eyes to a group that we haven't seen represented equally on television. I think seeing that in line with all the diverse women, the minority groups we see represented on our show, the age groups, the sizes of the women on our show, the sexual orientations of the women on our show, and just simply the number of women being explored on television in a very real way, and not necessarily beholden to a male-led story, has been equally and as important a revelation to the general public.

It's really great to see.

e_x_i_t127 karma

Just want to say that Crazy Eyes unexpectedly stole my heart away, she seemed like the stereotypical crazy character and then became the most lovable character before I knew it.

How much has the show changed your perspective on life in general and how many doors have been opened for you because of the all the attention the show has received.

UzoAduba291 karma

It's changed my perspective on life in general because the show itself taught me that good people can make mistakes.

That no one of us in this world is perfect. No matter how hard we aspire to be, or try to be. It's reminded me that we can each be more than one thing. We are more than just one thing. I think when we think of prisoners, people who are incarcerated, we only associate them with the crime, or a jumpsuit, or a number. We don't think of them as being people who are someone's mother, a daughter, a neighbor, or that they had a life prior to this current moment.

I think that what's beautiful about Orange is that we're not talking about Maximum security prisons, we are talking about minimum security prisons, so these are minor infractions. A lot of these women just slipped on a banana peel to get in there, and that helped to remind me that we are all just a step away.

I think also what Jenji's done beautifully is tell stories about people that are so human, and real, and have little to do with their current circumstance, and I think that's what made the show so relatable to all of the people at home watching, because we can see ourselves in there, in their stories - just like the tag says, every sentence is a story.

As far as the doors being opened, they have certainly been opened and I have been so thankful to be received by this new community in such a lovely way, and in such an inviting way. I'm thankful for all the blessings. And all the gifts. I don't know if I could put that ever into words, really.

actorsspace108 karma

Hi Uzo. How do you keep "Crazy Eyes" from becoming a one dimensional character? (Because she isn't.)

UzoAduba209 karma

I have to give a piece of that to our writers. And not taking the easy way out. Because they could, making her one-dimension. Instead, they really complicated her and her experiences, and her relationships with a number of characters on the show. And they evolved her as the season progressed, from being who we think she is to who she might actually be.

ilsanguesadivino100 karma

Hello Uzo. I just wanted to first say that OITNB has brought my mother and I closer together, and she can never talk too much about how much she loves you and your character. Congratulations on the Emmy nomination as well!

What was it like working with Lorraine Toussaint on season 2, someone who has such a brilliant and established career, and how has working with her influenced you as an actress?

UzoAduba143 karma

Oh, breathtaking. It was an incredible experience that i am so grateful happened. She is so generous a human being. Couldn't be more unlike the Vee character that she plays. Yes, she was just someone you want to learn from. And someone you want to work with because of her generosity of spirit as an actor, her focus and her craft. Plus she's a really good cook. Did I mention I love to eat? (See previous answer)

megaloman1ac_76 karma

If you could be on any show past or present, which show would you choose and what part?

UzoAduba197 karma



Denise on The Cosby Show. DUH. Absolutely. Sex And the City - Carrie or Samantha. Living Single - Khadija. And Scandal - ohhhhh. Melly or Olivia.

andreawhoo68 karma

Hi uzo! I'm from the philippines. I am such a big fan and i'm really moved by crazy eyes. :)

What's your favorite sports team? And have you been to asia?

UzoAduba207 karma

I have been to Asia, I was just in Japan this past December with Danielle Brooks, we went on vacation for our hiatus, it was awesome. And my favorite sports team - Boston anything.

code_monkey_00162 karma

My wife has often commented she wants to see you starring in an all-female production of Othello; is there any role you would love to play but haven't had the opportunity to yet?

UzoAduba161 karma

In Othello, I'd love to play Emelia. I am desperate for the day that I'm ready to play Lady M. in MacBeth. I really also want to play Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing. And finally, I would love to play Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar.

sagan99962 karma

Do you get people assuming you are actually crazy in real life? What do they do?

UzoAduba159 karma

Yes. They do.

I think they think on the subway they're going to meet a girl in a jumpsuit with a head full of bantu knots.

What do they do? Usually the sentence starts with "Hi... I never do this..." and then they'll try to suss out whether I'm crazy in real life.

ian042958 karma

Hi Uzo, huge fan. What is your favourite thing about being on such a crazy set, full of awesome talented people? Have a great day :)

UzoAduba128 karma

Being on a crazy set full of awesome, talented people!

Everybody is so delicious. I love every spirit. We have a great group. And I am proud to be a part of team Orange.

Dabee62557 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, first of all. So - when the show first became popular, did you ever get offended when people recognized you as Crazy Eyes on the street? For most of the cast it doesn't seem like it would be much of an issue, but since the character looks so much different than you, I'd imagine it could be a little insulting. It would kind of like someone saying "Oh, you play Pennsatucky! I recognize your teeth!"

UzoAduba158 karma

It's not insulting, because I love her so much! To me, she's beautiful. To her, she's beautiful. So there's no offense. I love her so much. I think what is surprising is how many people think, on the subway train, that I might throw pie for them!

aloveundying54 karma

Huge fan of yours and the show. What was your favorite or funniest scene on the show and which episode?

Also, they may call you "Crazy Eyes" on the show, but damn, you are a beautiful woman.

UzoAduba124 karma

Favorite? I mean, I LOVED doing the Shakespeare from Season 1. I loved writing that poem to Piper. And funniest favorite? I had a really great time with Laura and Taylor doing the pie-throwing scene. That was awesome. And thank you for your kind words.

J3ssminda53 karma

Chocolate or vanilla?

aloveundying87 karma

Swirl swirl swirl. Duh. lol

UzoAduba112 karma

Both! Depends on the day. So both.

BriefBoxers53 karma

Hi! What was the hardest part of filming season 2 for you?

UzoAduba138 karma

Mmm. The hardest part of filming season 2 for me is how far Suzanne would go for love, and seeing that played out between her and Poussey in that bathroom scene.

TheKennyLane50 karma

Uzo, you're one of the brightest shining stars in a cast full of brilliant lights. If you were going to work with any of them on another project, who would it be and what would you want it to be? I'd love to see you make a cameo on Matt's new show myself, cause you're probably my two favorites in the cast.

UzoAduba72 karma

Awww Matt! I love McGorry! He's such a sweetheart!

(I just love him)

Oh another project... I would love to do a play with some of these guys. I don't have any one - Taylor and I, it would be fun, or Kate - but any of them, really, I think they are all so fierce, I'd love to do something where we get to dig through the mud together 8 times a week.

NormalRedditName45 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA!

What was it like working with the rest of the cast? Do you have any interesting stories from on set?

UzoAduba142 karma

Incredible. We have a great time. The favorite day of working is absolutely when we have a full house, when we have everybody for a cafeteria scene, those are the best because then you get to see everyone, catch up (we do a LOT of hanging out, a lot of jokes and talking and shooting the shit), it's fun. Those are the best days of work, period. Hands down.

Interesting stories from set... we love hanging out together a lot, so we have a lot of Orange is the New Black field trips. It wouldn't be a surprise to see us as a pack out on the town in the city. Example: this past tuesday, I mean, it had to have been 15 of us, went to the Archival taping of Of Mice And Men on Broadway to go support our castmate Joel Garland. He plays a C.O. on Orange. And he was in the show, and KILLED IT. Fun times.

two_off43 karma

Prior to the Omaze campaign, which projects or organizations have you given back to?

UzoAduba97 karma

Well, in high school I worked with Habitat for Humanity. But most recently, I was working for a long time with an organization called Broadway in South Africa (https://www.facebook.com/broadwaysafrica) that went into townships to have an art exchange with underprivileged South Africans, and teach leadership skills to them as their nation continues to rebuild and build. Currently, I work with Opening Act, an arts education program for children in New York City from disadvantaged communities and homes who get to use acting and the arts as an outlet and esteem builder. The Geffen Playhouse came to me because a classmate from college who is involved with their outreach program introduced me to them, and being someone who is a product of theater education and a theater actor, it felt like a natural and necessary group to align myself with.

firebathero43 karma

I saw OITNB filming in Astoria last week, do you ever go there for fun? Have any favorite restaurants? Thanks!

UzoAduba62 karma

Taverna Kyclades! LOVE to share the Taverna Kyclades special!

UzoAduba49 karma

They just opened one in the East Village!

cellogal35 karma

You're so fantastic, by far my favorite OITNB character and a huge inspiration as an actress)! What sports do you play? whats your favorite opera?

UzoAduba69 karma

OoO! Great question!

I figure-skated competitively when I was younger. And I also ran track in college (and high school, obviously). My favorite opera... I have a few that I love. I love Tosca, I love Madama Butterfly, and I LOVE La Boheme.

secondandfive35 karma

Hi, thanks for doing an AMA. You're awesome. :)

How much of Suzanne's character is specific to the script, and how much would you say you improvise or add your own touches?

UzoAduba74 karma

I think it's a mixture of both. We do takes where we stay hard to the script in terms of lines, but I also inject my own ideas of how to play the lines, and I enjoy the challenge of sticking to the lines as written as much as possible. Then, after a few takes, we might be encouraged to improvise. So then I try to get as crazy as I can get!

isaac200427 karma

Hey Uzo, your a babe, and I just wanted to make sure you were aware.

Has anyone with personal stories of bipolarism or other mental disorders reached out to you since Orange started?

UzoAduba55 karma

No one's reached out to me with bipolar, but I have gotten some touching tweets from people who maybe battle mental illness or know someone who is battling mental illness, and I've been really touched that it's affected them.

theirishmidget26 karma

which is your favourite Orange is The New Black character and why?

UzoAduba81 karma

I don't have a favorite Orange character, that feels like picking a favorite child. You certainly can't do it. Or you can't say it out loud ;). Is that terrible?

Scrapple66622 karma

What's your dream role?

UzoAduba90 karma


I don't think it's written yet.

iridescent_illusions19 karma

Hi! It's such a pleasure to be a part of this...I think you're amazing!

I have one question and I would just die if you answered it...

Are you Crazy Eyes...or is Crazy Eyes Uzo Aduba? o.O

Thank you!

edit: I just got to the part where you sneak up behind Piper and say "Your phone time is up nod nod" and you're here!

UzoAduba44 karma


I think a little bit of both. I'm not Crazy Eyes. But I think I have a little bit of the lucid pieces of Suzanne.

YESSSS! Get ready! Buckle up for the rest of the season!

zozobexx18 karma

Uzo, I just wanted to say how much I admire your work! You are the main reason I watch Orange is the New Black... My question is, if you weren't actress, what would you be doing?

UzoAduba52 karma

If I weren't an actress, I would probably be a lawyer or a teacher in some rural village in some small country.

AccretionDiskS4 karma

What's it like being an actress? What makes you laugh on set?

UzoAduba17 karma

It's so much fun. You get to use your imagination every day. You get to meet interesting characters every single day. You get the opportunity to work with new & exciting people, and see them build and create characters that you've met on paper, that's fun. It's challenging, in the best way, because it requires you to open up yourself to both the good and the bad that lives inside of these people, these characters.

What makes ME laugh on-set? Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne and Adrienne Moore.