NEW YORK — As soon as “Orange Is the New Black” star Adrienne C. Moore heard she was about to be interviewed by someone from Chicago, the Northwestern University alum started singing the Wildcats’ fight song.
“Go U Northwestern! La, la, la, la, la,” sang Moore, suddenly bursting into laughter. “Unfortunately, that’s all that I remember.”
Best known these days for portraying Cindy Hayes on the hit Netflix series, which last week launched its fifth season on the streaming service network, Moore has great memories of her time spent at the school in the 1990s, where she did not major in theater or a related subject. “I studied psychology, history and religion. I was a heady girl,” added the actress with a wink.
“But, frankly, I’m glad I studied those subjects because a lot of that has really helped me as an actress,” said Moore. “Psychology is simply great because it helps you better understand all kinds of people. History gives you a sense of where we’ve come from and how best to retell those stories. And, religion — particularly learning about the various faiths around the world — is just plain good to know as a human being.”
Turning to “Orange is the New Black,” Moore noted the impact the series has had on our treatment of people in the criminal justice system — especially women.
“A friend of mine is chief of staff at a big prison in Georgia. Along with giving me a tour of the prison, she allowed me to meet inmates. I remember one woman in particular. What led her to jail reminded me of what happened to Piper [Chapman, the real-life person who inspired the series, portrayed on ‘Orange’ by Taylor Schilling]. When I asked her what she had learned from her experiences in prison, she said, ‘It’s very simple. I have learned I have an addiction. In my case it’s an addiction to fast money — and that landed me in jail.’
“‘But everyone has an addiction of some kind. You have one. The guards in this prison have them. Almost every one is addicted to something. For most it’s simple stuff, like smoking or baseball or other stuff that isn’t illegal. But addictions are more universal than you’d think. And addictions can be very crippling.’
“I think about those words of wisdom from that incarcerated woman every single day.”