Samara-Wiley
Samira Wiley | Biography 2021

Quick Information

  • Full Name Samira Denise Wiley
  • Occupation Actress
  • Nationality American
  • Birthplace Washington, D.C., U.S.
  • Birth Date Apr 15, 1987
  • Age 34 Years, 6 Months
  • Sexual Orientation Identifies With Both Terms "Gay" & "Lesbian"
 Moira on 'The Handmaid’s Tale' and Poussey Washington on 'Orange Is the New Black'

Samira Wiley | Biography 2021

Partner of American Screenwriter, Producer & Director Lauren Morelli

Wiley had a passion for acting from a very young age. In a 2017 interview with Glamour, Wiley revealed she decided to be an actor in grade three after seeing a girl read Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Ego-Tripping’ during her school’s oratorical contest.She said that she thought to herself, that would be what she’s going to do next year. Wiley then began attending musical theater camps at the age of ten and was admitted into a performing arts high school.


Samira Denise Wiley is an American actress, most prominently known for her roles as Moira on The Handmaid’s Tale and Poussey Washington on Orange Is the New Black.

Who Is Samira Wiley?

Wiley had her first major acting role as Tina in the feature film The Sitter in 2011. She got her breakthrough in 2013 as Poussey Washington in Netflix’s comedy-drama Orange Is the New Black, for which she earned the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award.’

She had previously received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her magnificent performance in the Hulu television series The Handmaid’s Tale

Wiley has starred in several other films, including Nerve (2016), Detroit (2017), and Social Animals (2018). She also narrated a Netflix documentary titled Night on Earth, which was released in 2020.

She was also named “Ingenue of the Year” by Out magazine and awarded the “Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award.”

Wiley has been married to Lauren Morelli since 25 March 2017 after getting engaged on 4 October 2016. Lauren was a writer for the Netflix show Orange Is the New Black.

Does Samira Wiley Has Any New Show or Movie?

Her new project is the upcoming drama film Red, White and Water, which is set to be released in 2002. In addition to Wiley, the movie features stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry, and Stephen McKinley Henderson. The story of the miovie  is based on a plotline of a U.S. soilder (Lawrence) who has a head injury and subsequent brain surgery in Afghanstan. The movie revolves around the soilder's struggle to adapt to her new reality post her return back home. 

Early Life

On 15 April 1987 in Washington, D.C., Samira Wiley was born to parents Dennis W. Wiley and Christine Wiley. Her father and mother served as the co-pastors of the Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ. She has two siblings, Joshua Wiley and Aiyana Ma’at,

Wiley had a passion for acting from a very young age. In a 2017 interview with Glamour, Wiley revealed she decided to be an actor in grade three after seeing a girl read Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Ego-Tripping’ during her school’s oratorical contest.

She said that she thought to herself, that would be what she’s going to do next year. Wiley then began attending musical theater camps at the age of ten and was admitted into a performing arts high school.

On Rejection from Theatre Schools

Sharing about her rejection from the theatre during her high school days, she said, “Junior year I taught myself The clock struck nine from Romeo and Juliet and won a Shakespeare contest... I got rejected by every theater school I applied to that year, forcing me to face what I assumed was my reality: Samira, you’re not good enough to be on the stage.”

After getting rejected, her new plan was to attend Temple University, a liberal arts school where she had applied as a backup, and work behind the scenes as a casting director. Eventually, she went to the reputable Juilliard School for an audition and was accepted.

She attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts before going to Juilliard School in New York for her graduation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Arts from the Juilliard School in 2010.

Career : Movies and TV Shows

Wiley has lots of credits to her name, including Person of Interest (2012), Orange is the New Black (2013-2019), You’re the Worst (2016-2019), Nerves (2016), 37 (2016), Detroit (2017), Social Animals (2018), Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes On Television (2017-2019), Vault (2019), Will & Grace (2019, and The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-2021)

She debuted in the entertainment world with her appearance as Tina in the 2011 comedy movie The Sitter. She was also cast as Maria in a theatrical rendition of Shakespeare’s play Love’s Labour’s Lost in the same year.

‘Orange is the New Black’

The actress received her big break in 2013 when she was cast as Poussey Washington in the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. She appeared in 12 episodes in the first season of the show. Eventually, she was made one of the series regulars after her character was significantly featured in the second season.

Wiley’s character was widely appreciated by the audience and was back in the third season of Orange Is the New Black. By season 3, her character had established herself as a significant figure in the show. She then became a household name with a sizable fan base, resulting in worldwide recognition.

Later, her viewers were devastated when her character Poussey faced a violent death in the season four finale.

'37'

In 2014, Wiley starred in the crime-drama movie Rob the Mob, in which she played Annie Bell, a mob agent. In 2015, she appeared in the crime drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

In 2016, Wiley appeared in the film 37, which is based on a true tale about 37 people who witness a murder but do nothing to help. She also starred in Daphne’s Dive, a new play by Quiara Alegra Hudes, in 2016.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

The Hulu TV show is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic novel of the same title. The story outlines dystopian near-future America in which women are enslaved as “handmaids” and forced to carry children for the ruling class in the new authoritarian Gilead. 

In the show, Wiley is cast alongside Elisabeth Moss, who is the series’ main protagonist and a handmaid titled Offred. Wiley plays Offred’s college best friend and aspiring handmaid Moira, who assists the former in navigating a culture that views women as state property.

Wiley appeared in 28 episodes of the show from 2017 to 2021. 

Other Works

Wiley was cast to play Michonne in the video game ‘The Walking Dead: Michonne’ in December 2015. Telltale Games released the game in February 2016. 

In 2017, Wiley also narrated one version of a book titled ‘Minecraft: The Island: A Novel,’ written by Max Brooks.

Wiley was featured on the cover and in an editorial in Maniac Magazine’s September/October 2014 issue, which exhibited a sequence of striking, elegant, high fashion ensembles. She was also on the cover of Out magazine in 2014, alongside Sam Smith, Elliot Page, and Zachary Quinto.

Is Samira Wiley Married? 

Wiley and her partner Lauren Morelli got married on 25 March 2017 in Palm Springs, California, at a gorgeous confetti-themed wedding. Morelli proposed to Wiley in Palm Springs with an Asscher-cut diamond ring in October 2014.

While Wiley wore an off-the-shoulder ballroom gown by Christian Siriano, Morelli wore a lace-embroidered caped pantsuit by the same designer. Wiley’s parents officiated the couple’s outdoor wedding.

The pair initially met in the sets of Orange Is the New Black. Morelli was a writer and producer on the show. Morelli stated in a 2014 piece for Mic that she was then recently married to her former husband when she started working on the show, but that writing for the show and Wiley’s support helped her discover she was gay. 

Was Lauren Morelli Pregnant?

The pair welcomed their first child, George Elizabeth, in April 2021. They announced the news on Instagram on the occasion of Mother’s Day 2021, revealing that Morelli carried their daughter and underwent a difficult birth.

“Happy 1st Mother’s Day to my beautiful wife, who four weeks ago today after laboring for almost 3 days gave birth to our first child—our gorgeous daughter, George,” Wiley wrote in the caption. “Welcome to the world, baby girl. We love you and we thank you for giving us the best 1st Mother’s Day two ladies could ask for.”

The couple hadn't announcedMorelli's pregnancy before George arrival.

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