‘Orange Is The New Black’ Star Jackie Cruz Shares What She’s Learned From Her Character

Jackie Cruz attending the American Icon Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel.
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Jackie Cruz has recently partnered with Schick’s Hydro Silk to work on a new campaign called Feelin’ Myself Island, and she’s sharing how her character on the Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black, has influenced her in real life and has given her the confidence she needed to perform in the sultry ad, according to a report from In Touch Weekly.

“It’s taken me 15 years to feel this good,” she told In Touch Weekly, before adding that playing Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales on OITNB helped her break out of her shell.

“I wasn’t confident like [her]. But [playing her] showed me, ‘I need to do that, too.’ I started to believe in myself more and my vision and the me that I want to be, and that comes with confidence.”

The actress also opened up about an almost tragic car accident she was involved in as a teenager. Cruz said the incident left her in a coma for over 72 hours and required her to have brain surgery, which meant shaving her hair. After she recovered from surgery, Cruz said she felt like her beauty was taken away from her because, at the time, she believed her hair was the thing that contributed the most to her looks. She said she had to really work to learn how to feel beautiful without her hair and now that’s she’s older and more confident in her skin, she’s made the decision to chop it all off again.

“I didn’t have a choice when I was a teenager. But this time I did have a choice…I had to make that choice for me because I felt good and I felt beautiful with no hair or little hair,” she explained.

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Flexin’ #browngirlmagic

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Cruz went on to talk more about her new campaign with Schick’s, which offers one lucky person the chance to stay on a luxurious private island. The actress said she feels it’s important to always celebrate yourself and that it’s sometimes necessary to spend time alone to learn to enjoy your own company.

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As for Cruz’s confident character, Flaca was noticeably missing for the Season 7 trailer of Orange Is the New Black. During the Season 5 finale, Flaca was separated from her prison best friend, Maritza, played by Diane Guerrero. In Season 6, Flaca’s scenes were reduced but she did show up toward the end of the season to lament on the fact that her best friend was now thousands of miles away, possibly being held in another prison.

It’s unclear where Season 7 will take Flaca and Maritza, but fans won’t have to wait too long to find out. The show returns to Netflix on July 26.