“What's not to love?" That's Lea DeLaria's answer to "Why is in your body a good place to be?" And we couldn't agree more: There's nothing NOT to love about the exceptionally lovable Orange Is The New Black star and her story of going from supreme outcast to supreme It Girl. It’s a tale that can happen to anyone who, no matter the odds, goes all in with what they believe.
"As a teenager, I cowered in the closet, terrified that someone would know my dirty little secret,” Lea says about growing up Catholic and a lesbian in St. Louis, where humor was what prevented her from putting a gun in her mouth. But Lea refused to hide her sexuality as she navigated her way through the comedic world and onto the Arsenio Hall Show (where she was the first openly gay comic on TV). “Everyone automatically looked down on me,” Lea reveals. “I wanted to change how people looked at butch dykes. Standup comedy became my activist tool. I've gotten to this level without ever having once been in the closet. I didn't kiss anyone's ass."
And Lea still doesn't. Having overcome so much adversity, including being gay bashed (she had to be hospitalized for three days) during SF's Pride Week in the '80s, Lea harnesses the power of serious laughs and brutal positivity to liberate the world from the hateful male-chauvinist status quo. A self-described “proud fat girl,” this actor, comedian, and jazz singer is not only battling our culture’s obsession with women’s weight and opening their eyes about the infinite shades of “dykes,” but she’s turning “cunt” into a compliment and ripping the mask off of menopause. And all of this unbridled conviction and hopefulness has landed her on a certain Netflix show that is revolutionizing society’s treatment of females, both in and out of the orange jumpsuit.
For all of Lea's empowering journey from mortified Catholic schoolgirl to OITNB superstar, watch her video above, then spread the message that you don't have to sacrifice any piece of who you are to achieve your dreams by sharing this post with your friends and loved ones.
With warmth and love,
Elisa + Lily