Orange Is the New Black has left an impact in unexpected ways during its seven seasons. Star Lauren Prepon shared a story of how the show impacted one fan she met, and the interaction helped her realize that this was more than just another show. It helped change lives.
"This young girl came up to me and she must have been 21 years old and she said, 'Thank you so much for portraying Alex because watching you as Alex gave me the courage to come out to my family,'" Prepon told PEOPLE.
The former That '70s Show star continued, "It's things like that where, not only did the show break so many boundaries and represents so many different types of women, but the fact that people could watch the characters on the show, a character, you know, I'll speak just for myself, but I can't watch a character like Alex and not and feel represented. And to watch my character give her the courage to make this huge decision to tell her family about her orientation, like that is huge to me."
Prepon said this was just another way OITNB proved to be more than just a job, but a show that "transcends boundaries."
"To have that, is what it really is about," she said. "This just happened, like literally a few days ago. So, that type of thing means so much to me. The fact that people feel represented from the show is huge. It's not just a job, it really is something bigger than that, and it's incredible."
During OITNB's final season, Taylor Schilling's Piper is struggling with life after prison. Prepon is back in her role as Alex Vause, with whom Piper had a relationship before prison. The two reunited in prison and are now struggling to keep their relationship alive with Piper on the outside now.
"The final season of a show is always really difficult to wrap up all the storylines, and to make sure the fans feel fulfilled and that we all feel fulfilled after spending so much time with these characters," Prepon told PEOPLE. "I am really proud of our last season, I think the writers and the actors and the crew and everybody just did such a great job because that's a lot of pressure."
"I think the legacy is what the culture makes it. I think we started new conversations We've [shown] people on television who had never been on television before. Told stories that had never been told before," Laverne Cox, who became the first transgender person nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, told Page Six. "And now the landscape is remarkably different."
Orange Is the New Black was inspired by Piper Kerman's memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison and was created by Jenji Kohan. The show was nominated for the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy in 2015 and Outstanding Comedy Series in 2014.
All seven seasons of OITNB are streaming on Netflix.
Photo credit: Netflix