When Taylor Schilling put her phone on airplane mode this morning, she had no idea what she was missing. But eventually, Schilling realized her mistake, called her publicist, and got the good news that she’d been nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy in the 2014 Emmy race. The Orange is the New Black star is a first-time nominee, and we got her on the phone to chat about the nomination, her favorite OITNB scene and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you?
TAYLOR SCHILLING: I’m doing pretty well. I had a really good morning. I’m not having a bad day.
Where were you when you found out?
I was at home. I don’t know. I like to put my phone on vibrate—I mean my phone on airplane mode—and I left my house. I don’t know what I was doing. I was late for work, and I was like, “I don’t want to be inside when I find out,” so I went outside. I was walking by the Hudson river.
Oh, that’s nice.
Yeah I guess so. I don’t know what I was doing. I was late for work. I don’t know what I was doing. I just started walking.
So you got the call when you were by the Hudson?
Yeah. Well, people were trying to call me, but my phone was on airplane mode, so they couldn’t reach me. Then I saw that I had a lot of text messages, and I called my publicist. Aren’t you happy that I gave you so many specifics about what happened to me this morning, and how neurotic I was about the whole thing? That’s what you bargained for when you asked me that question. You wanted a cute little answer. [Laughs]
I mean, it’s an answer I haven’t gotten yet, so…
Good. What do people say?
I talked to Uzo [Aduba] this morning. She was in traffic.
Oh right. But she didn’t find out while she was in traffic, did she?
She did! She got a call while she was sitting in traffic.
See, that’s a responsible woman—she was in the car on her way to work. That’s someone who is on top of their game. Uzo Aduba’s pretty amazing.
Well, clearly you’re on top of your game to get this nomination.
Yeah, I mean, I’m doing it. I’m still here. No, I know, I know. I’m really grateful. Things really feel like they’re moving in a pretty spectacular direction. I feel really creatively plugged in on this job.
Specifically, looking at the first season, what was your favorite scene?
I don’t know. It’s so hard to answer that question because probably my favorite things were, like, where Piper started and where she ended. What was so exciting was just how dynamic her journey was. That’s what was so exciting to me, to like go back in time with her and have the experience of who she was and where she started from and those more flashback situations, and then bringing that information into the present experience in prison, and then experiencing who she was when she started to who she was when she ended.
Looking forward, is there anything you would love to get to explore with Piper?
I’m excited to watch her become even more of who she really is, and I think that takes time to test out. I think it’s very scary to absolutely let go of what you think other people expect of you, and that’s how Piper and a lot of women, I think, live their lives, and that’s been stripped away from her, and she’s discovering without the context of how other people see me, without that as a barometer, who is she? What matters to her? And it’s just not black and white. I think the answers surprise even her, and I’m excited to see where she goes when she’s no longer constrained.
Do you know what episode was submitted for the nomination?
I don’t even know. I don’t even know what they submitted. I probably should’ve asked. I’m really curious. I don’t know what they submitted.
Final question: If you could give an Emmy to any show, past or present, just because you love it, what show would it be?
I would give an Emmy Award to Punky Brewster.
Yeah, for all of the hours of companionship she provided me. [Laughs] For that alone, that woman deserves an Emmy nomination.