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‘Orange is the New Black star’ Jackie Cruz on Flaca: My lips are sealed

By Madeleine Marr

mmarr@miamiherald.com

Jackie Cruz
Jackie Cruz

Actress Jackie Cruz will be getting her drink on Monday night. The “Orange is the New Black” star, aka Flaca, and Remy Martin want Miamians to celebrate the launch of the 2016 Circle of Centaurs mentorship program, an extension of the One Life/Live Them campaign, that recognizes and celebrates individuals’ talents and passions. She’ll perform as well.

Tell us what you will be doing in Miami.

I am so excited to be heading down to Miami with Rémy Martin to celebrate Circle of Centaurs and my mentoring partnership with the brand. The program pays homage to the brand’s history and foundation, which is rooted in passing down one’s knowledge and mentoring. Before I became known as an actor, I was a singer. I had my own band and I moved to New York to pursue my singing career – it just so happens that my acting career took off just as I moved to the city. I’m mentoring in the category of singing for the Circle of Centaurs because Rémy Martin wants to encourage individuals to celebrate, and reveal, their many talents. You may already know me as an actor, but not as a singer – I’m revealing this talent and helping someone else to do the same.

How does one sign up and join in on the competition?

Those who want to enter the competition need to record a 30-60 second video of themselves singing an original song and upload the video to their Instagram account, or to the Rémy Martin Facebook page. They need to make sure to tag #circleofcentaursjackie and @remymartin. All of the details for the competition can be found at RemyMartin.com. The competition is ending soon so please all you aspiring Miami singers don’t be shy - submit so you can enter to win a chance to be mentored by me along with a cash prize.

Talk about your music.

Yes, I am part of a band! We are known as The Family Portrait. I’m the only girl in the band, but I’m also the lead singer. I recently did a performance with them for Rémy Martin Circle of Centaurs in NYC at The Bowery, the crowd was loving it. We have all known each other for quite some time, so we are basically like a family.

Where do you like to go when you are here?

I have a cousin named Vanessa Hernandez who lives in miami, so whenever I visit, she’s the first one I go to see and we head straight to the beach. When I lived in Miami back in 2009, I was so lucky to have Vanessa there because I I was struggling to make ends meet in Miami at the time while pursuing my passion for music. My cousin was gracious enough to open up her home to me and never let me go hungry, something that I truly appreciate and will never forget. A funny story about my cousin is that all my life she would call me Flaca and that happens to be the character I play on Netflix which has forever changed my life.

What is happening with OITNB?

Currently, I am filming season 5 and it is going really well. I can’t really talk about it in detail, but all I can say is stay tuned, it’s going to be an exciting season.

What can readers expect from the show?

I love my job, so my lips are sealed!

What is the best part about being on the show? The worst?

The best part of being on the show would have to be working with my real life best friend and on screen bestie, Diane Guerrero. The worst part would have to be the delicious craft table. My character’s name is Flaca so it’s not easy passing on the cheese and crackers, ha!

What is the experience like shooting?

This show has made me grow as an actress and I have become a better person. Before the show, I was quick to judge people in prison, automatically label them as bad people. The show opened my eyes to a different perspective of prison and that these people have just made mistakes and got caught, and are now just doing their time. Flaca’s backstory resonated a lot with me because she was just a kid trying to make money for her family, but one lie changed her life.

How is the chemistry on set?

I get to work with my best friend, Diane Guerrero, and we have so much fun on set. We have the time of our lives actually. We get to talk about what’s happening in our lives, gossip about our boyfriends. When we first started Orange is the New Black season one, Diane and I both worked with different characters. I believe we had one scene together and I guess when they saw our chemistry it clicked for the writers and “Flaritza” was born. Now we have been working side by side for five years, and we actually finish each other's sentences or say the same thing at the same time which is kind of crazy. The chemistry is obvious and the fans love us together so much that they created a labeled us as Flaritza. It’s even a trending hashtag!

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