Samira Wiley

Samira Wiley was asked to fake a straight relationship to hide her sexuality

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Samira Wiley, who is currently starring in the fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale, has talked about the straight relationship she was asked to fake at the start of her career. 

Samira Wiley has spoken out about how she was encouraged to hide her sexuality at the start of her acting career. 

Best known for her roles in hit shows The Handmaid’s Tale and Orange Is The New Black, Wiley is now an Emmy-winning actor. She also recently welcomed her first child with her wife Lauren Morelli (the writer behind OITNB). 

But in a new interview, Wiley has detailed the hurdles she had to overcome to get here. 

“My thinking was that I wouldn’t get there if I was out and open about who I was,” Wiley told Josh Smith on the Make It Reign podcast as part of its Pride series. 

“So I really poured over what should my strategy be in terms of how to hide who I really am so that I can be accepted and then if I’m accepted, then maybe I’ll get opportunities for jobs that I wouldn’t get if I just was me.

“It was a lot to think about and trying to figure out the recipe to get a career and that was denying who I was as a person.” 

Samira Wiley as Moira
Samira Wiley as Moira in The Handmaid's Tale.

Recalling the shocking advice she was given by the people around her, Wiley continued: “It took years for me to figure out that being authentic is possibly the key. But that’s not necessarily from listening to everybody around me.

“I remember some people would have advice. Like, I had a best friend – and he was going to be an actor too and he’s also gay – and they were like, ‘Well, maybe you guys can act like you’re a couple? You guys can walk red carpets together. Then neither one of you has to come out and everything will be fine.’ 

“For real, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, maybe we could do that?’”

Explaining how difficult it was to be her true self in the industry, Wiley added: “It’s just a real journey of figuring out, ‘No, you don’t have to do any of that!’ 

“But it’s not like I just woke up one day and figured that out. It’s really like, piece by piece, by posting one little picture that had a flutter of me being gay and someone picking up on that and responding well to it. 

“Then I responded well to that and then it snowballed into, ‘Hey, I’m here. I’m gay Samira. Hi!’”

You can listen to the full interview with Samira Wiley on the Make It Reign podcast, and you can catch her in season four of The Handmaid’s Tale on Channel 4.

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Images: Getty, Channel 4

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…