OITNB’s Lorraine Toussaint Calls Out America’s Obsession with Youth

If you watched Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, you witnessed a scene in which Lorraine Toussaint was shown naked as her character Vee. And chances are, you didn’t think too much about it. (Except perhaps “Wow, she’s amazing”).

The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2014 Honoring "Orange Is The New Black"But in a recent interview on Huffington Post Live, Toussaint spoke about the filming of that specific nude scene, after an interviewer asked the actress how she felt about baring it all as a woman over the age of 50. Toussaint explained that the scene wasn’t her first choice, and that she wanted to come up with a way to do the scene clothed. But when she realized it just couldn’t make sense that way, she explains: “I had a couple of girlfriends and a couple of my gay guy friends take a look at the girls, and I just went for it.”

In the interview, Toussaint jokes that she was terrified people would say she was “brave” for shooting the scene—a common back-handed compliment that would imply she looked terrible. But she also points out that being a nude woman over the age of 50 is really only a big deal in America. She calls out the absurd beauty standards older women face here.

“It’s very American, isn’t it? Because in America, certainly in Hollywood, it’s about youth and it’s about the glorification of the young body, the firm body, the teenage, post-teenage, early-20s body,” she said. “It’s also about being stick thin. It doesn’t actually reflect the way women’s bodies actually look or how women’s bodies actually mature.”

She continues to say that she doesn’t have that attitude, and that people in other (European) countries often don’t either. So, she makes clear, it wasn’t really as hard for her to film as one might think. Because Toussaint seems to have an extremely healthy attitude, and doesn’t care about buying into America’s unhealthy obsession with looking young.

May we grow to be half as wise as that!

Watch the entire interview on HuffPo Live.

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