Jackie Cruz on bisexuality on “Orange is the New Black” and her friendship with Ruby Rose

Jackie Cruz is one of Orange is the New Black‘s breakout stars as Marisol Gonzalez, better known as Flaca. Fans of the show have seen the out bisexual actress/musician show her range throughout the last three seasons, especially this past year where we were able to find out more about Flaca before she came to Litchfield. A bored teenager who started selling fake LSD to her high school peers, Flaca was ultimately sent to prison when one of her clients killed himself while on the “drugs” she sold him.

Despite the darkness that being imprisoned can bring, Jackie and her character also have moments of lightness, mostly in her interactions with best friend Maritza (Diane Gurrero). Flaca is an optimist; someone who doesn’t let her circumstances decide who she is or who she will be in the future, and that’s why Jackie is one of our favorites on the show.

We spoke with the actress after the Orange is the New Black panel during Netflix’s day at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, where just about nothing was revealed—creator Jenji Kohan runs a tight ship!


AfterEllen.com: What can you say about Flaca’s trajectory in Season 4?

Jackie Cruz: I can’t really talk about it but I just—it’s emotional. Can I say that? When you watch Season 4, bring salt and vinegar chips, bring some tissues, bring maybe wine, because you’re going to be there for a while; because you’re not going to want to stop watching.


AE: Can you say who you share any scenes with?

JC: I can’t, but you can guess!


AE: You know a lot of lesbian viewers like seeing you with Diane.

JC: Yeah, me too! I can’t really mention that but keep watching! You have to tune in.


AE: Are you still doing a lot of music?

JC: I am! I am. I just did a music video for Selena: “Como La Flor.” It’s on YouTube.


AE: I know you are friends with Ruby Rose. Did you guys bond on set? Is that how you met the first time? 

JC: Yes, we met the first time in the van. I was like “I love your tattoos!” and then we started talking from then on. We were, like, connection from day one.


AE: Will Ruby be back this season?

JC: I can’t tell you that! You’ll have to ask Jenji. You’ll get me in trouble. I want to keep my job. [laughs]


AE: How do you feel your character has grown over four seasons?

JC: Honestly, I get chills. I was a day player. I started with two lines. And my character just kept growing through the seasons. So Jenji just saw something in my character and was like, “We need more Flaca.” I think she told me that once, and they kept writing, and they liked it, so they kept writing more. So in Season 4 I became a series regular, so that was like kind of like a testament of my hard work and knowing that I did a good job. So I feel really good about that.


AE: What kind of roles do you get sent now that people know you from Orange?

JC: I’m gonna do a movie, [an] indie film called Altitude with Leslie Bibb. I play a stewardess. So can you imagine Flaca as a stewardess? I cut my hair after, but don’t worry: she’s coming back.


AE: Is this new hair color for a role or just for you?

JC: No, no, this is for me; just a little change. I cut my hair the day after [shooting Season 4]. I gotta tell Jenji not to worry, I can get extensions if we get a Season 5. We don’t know yet.


AE: I’m sure! It’s in the bag. Is there anything you would love to see her do that she hasn’t gotten to do yet?

JC: I want her to have her own business. I can’t believe in Season 3 that she let, like, Piper take over. I feel like she needs her own business somehow. She’s very creative as you can see from her backstory. I feel like maybe Season 5 I’ll talk to Jenji, see what we can do with Flaca.


AE: A lot of people are upset that the word “bisexual” isn’t used on the show, especially in regards to Piper. Do you have any thoughts on that?

JC: Honestly, as Jackie Cruz, I like the person whether it’s a woman—we don’t like to be labeled. I’m in a relationship with a man right now, but I’ve liked women in the past. So I guess we don’t want to be labeled. We don’t really talk about it, but the actions speak louder than words, am I right? So you’re seeing it. You’re living it.


Orange is the New Black returns to Netflix on June 17.