How Uzo Aduba Gets Transformed Into 'Crazy Eyes'

The "Orange Is the New Black" star has been making the rounds at New York Fashion Week.
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The "Orange Is the New Black" star has been making the rounds at New York Fashion Week.
Uzo Aduba, a.k.a. Pretty Eyes, at Christian Siriano. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Uzo Aduba, a.k.a. Pretty Eyes, at Christian Siriano. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Last year, our collective minds were blown when Uzo Aduba, a.k.a. Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on “Orange is the New Black,” made a dramatic screen-to-red carpet transformation at the 2013 Emmy Awards. I mean, talk about character actor and style chameleon. This year, it was less of a surprise when she made everyone’s Emmys best dressed list in a pretty much perfect custom red strapless gown by Christian Siriano. And now, of course, Aduba’s making the rounds at New York Fashion Week—first stopping by Honor on Thursday and then Saturday we caught her front row at Siriano's show.

First on the agenda: her Emmys gown. Turns out she knew Siriano’s red creation was the one after just seeing a sketch.

“I had said earlier at an Associated Press interview that I just wanted to feel beautiful and full,” she told me. “Full with the whole experience with the show [“Orange is the New Black”] and how it started. And when I stepped into the dress, all I felt was full. Not stuffed—full.”

Don’t be fooled by her monochromatically dressed on-screen persona because fashion plays a major role in Aduba’s general existence, be it at Fashion Week, the Emmys or -- surprise --auditioning to play an inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary.

“I love fashion. I love clothes. I love style and I love personal style,” she said. “When people can take something really classic and add something to it that’s entirely themselves, I’m interested in seeing that. For instance, with Suzanne and her hair knots -- when I auditioned for that part, I had it in my mind: I love fashion and just having something individual and your own to say about it.”

Although, getting primped to play Suzanne/Crazy Eyes actually takes more hair and makeup effort than you might think.

“I’ll never forget my first day of work and they were standing there looking at me and our makeup artist Michal Bigger said, ‘OK, I got it,’ and she wrote 'Make skin look worse,’” Aduba laughed. “They take black eye shadow and put it around my eyes and fill in my eyebrows to make them bigger and closer together and they blotch up my skin a lot. And no foundation. I think I’m the only one with no foundation, nothing. They just are making it look a whole lot worse and I will say succeeded.”

With her consistently flawless and glamorous public appearances of late, she is making that very clear.