If you’ve been watching the latest season of the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black you’ve noticed that the focus of the show has shifted and way more characters are being heavily involved in the show’s plot this year. One set of characters which has seen a large increase in screen time this season is a small group containing a skinhead named Helen Van Maele played by actress Francesca Curran.
Introduced in season four Helen is a member of a small white pride group inadvertently started by Piper Chapman. However, in season five Helen and her friends seem to have softened a bit with Helen even admitting that she loves unicorns and Lisa Frank stickers. That part of the character, it turns out, is a biiiit more like the woman who plays Helen, according to a recent profile on Curren by Harper’s Bazaar.
The actress says she is “so feminine” in real life, so playing violent white supremacist Helen is a big contrast to what she is used to.
Francesca’s process to be made-up takes longer than any other character, with the star explaining to Insider: “I’d come in, in the morning, and I was always the first person in and the last person out of the make-up chair. I would see the whole cast come and go.”
As well as having her head shaved every day of shooting to apply tattoos, she also has makeup done to look older — Francesca herself is 24 — as well as makeup on her teeth to make them look dirty.
The actress notes that they have whittled it down from three-and-a-half hours, which is how long it took to transform her when she started, continuing: “I have usually three people working on my tattoos at one given time. So, they get it done, in I’d say, about an hour.
“I tried to count [how many star tattoos the character has] one day. We kept losing count. I have so many individual stars on my face. So, it’s like, oh my gosh, maybe 20 to 30 stars on my face, and then I’ve got two to three, maybe two to three, three to four on each arm. Then I’ve got one on my neck, I’ve got three on my head.”
She added of her transformation: “Even fans of the show coming up to me in real life will say, ‘Are you sure it’s you?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m positive.'”
Once you see what Curran looks like in real life you’ll completely understand why people find it hard to believe that it’s the same person.
Here she is again on the show…
And this is her off the show…
Here are a few more highlights from her Instagram just to blow your mind even more…