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Piper Elizabeth Chapman, portrayed by Taylor Schilling, is the main character in the original Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Piper's character is based on the author of "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison" by Piper Kerman.
In an interview by a YouTube channel known as 'HeyUGuys,' Schilling explains that the show is not trying to 'impersonate' the author. Piper Chapman is an individual character who does not solidly resemble Kerman and her experience in prison; however, as the series was inspired by her book, some of the events in the series are similar to those that take place in her publication.
Piper was born on June 7, 1981. She grew up on the east coast in an upper middle-class family and is a self-proclaimed WASP. She is the middle child, with an older and younger brother. Her older brother has been referenced as "the perfect son" but has not appeared in the series. Her younger brother, Cal, was generally regarded as the "black sheep" of the family - before her incarceration.
Her parents were obsessed with appearances and projected this onto their children, and her father subsequently is unable to visit his daughter behind bars. At the time of her incarceration, she is roughly 32 years old. She graduated from college, but spent some years after graduation travelling and seeking to find herself. During college, she meets her current bestfriend, Polly Harper, a bubbly fellow WASP.
Life with Alex
Looking for a job after graduating from college Piper, a self-proclaimed WASP from an upper middle-class family, meets edgy Alex Vause at a bar. Though she has never dated a woman before, they quickly begin a relationship. In love and thirsting for adventure, Piper is unbothered by the fact that her girlfriend is an international drug smuggler. They travel the world together in high style, and on one occasion Piper agrees to traffick a suitcase full of $50,000 in drug money to Belgium and immediately regrets it. Despite her discomfort in committing criminal acts herself, she is content to quit her job as a waitress just to travel with Alex to places as far-reaching as Bali, Cambodia, and Belgium, living off the enticing incentives of the global drug trade.
Eventually, Alex is desperate, and begs Piper to traffick again. Piper refuses, and they break up for good. Piper moves on much more quickly than Alex, who is heartbroken by their break-up and eventually turns to heroin to try to get over it.
Piper did not introduce Alex to her family, as they were all surprised to find out she'd been in a lesbian relationship when she sat them down to explain the circumstances of her sentencing. She did introduce Alex to Polly while they were dating, but her best friend openly didn't like her.
Life with Larry
Years later, Piper meets Larry Bloom, a mutual friend of Polly and her eventual husband, Pete, when she stumbles into their with her extra key, having been bitten by a dog when she chastised it's homeless owner for not being able to take care of it. Larry is instantly attracted to her and helps her get cleaned up, and they unexpectedly bond. They jokingly wonder why Polly and Steve never thought to set them up before, but it quickly becomes apparent that no one really thinks that they're perfect together - not even them.
After the charges come through, just two years shy of the statute of limitations, Larry vows to stick by her and they sit down together to tell her family. Piper explains to her horrified mother that she was a lesbian at the time, but is not anymore, and is horrified herself to admit to her grandmother that she wasn't really into what she was doing for the money.
Spending a nice day at the beach to mark her remaining days of freedom, Piper is reading books about getting through prison when Larry unexpectedly proposes. Although she is surprised that he would do this before she leaves, he insists that he has to lock their relationship down. She tearfully accepts his proposal, and agrees to get married after she gets out of prison.
The day before she has to leave for prison, Larry, Pete,and Polly throw a farewell party for her. She apologizes to Polly because she is going to miss her baby shower, and the two joke about how Piper is going to keep her eyebrows maintained behind bars. Later that night, she and Larry decide to have sex one final time before she leaves. Just as they begin, she leaves to go pee and Larry tells her that she is beautiful. In the bathroom she sobs, the realization that she is leaving for prison hits her. When she comes back out, she returns Larry’s compliment and gets back into bed. When he notices that she has been crying she tells him to forget about it and to just have sex with her. ("I Wasn't Ready")
The story began when Piper, who lived with her fiance, Larry Bloom, found out she was named in a case of international drug trafficking and decided to turn herself in. In the first episode, she spent a lot of time with Larry and in her final moments before being taken in, she made sure he knew how much she loved him.
Although Piper tried hard not to get on anyone's bad side, she had a lot of trouble saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Red, for instance, is the first person who suffered from her ill words and refused to give Chapman any meals, as she was the head cook of the prison's kitchen.
In the beginning, Piper was a somewhat and innocent character who wanted to be on her best behavior and not get in trouble with any of the inmates. However, throughout the series, her personality has shifted into a one that will easily get angry with another person and uses her skills to persuade others to do her own bidding.
Piper has blonde hair, blue eyes, and a fish tattoo on the back of her neck. She is tall and thin, and so typical of the perfect female stereotype that her nickname in prison quickly becomes "Blondie."
She usually wears a white t-shirt under her tan jumpsuit, and she notes that the prison-issue canvas slip-ons look like trendy Toms. ("I Wasn't Ready")
|Season 1 Appearances|
|"I Wasn't Ready"||"Tit Punch"||"Lesbian Request Denied"||"Imaginary Enemies"||"The Chickening"|
|"WAC Pack"||"Blood Donut"||"Moscow Mule"||"Fucksgiving"||"Bora Bora Bora"|
|"Tall Men with Feelings"||"Fool Me Once"||"Can't Fix Crazy"|
- "Bitches gots to learn."
- — Piper Chapman
- "Oh my god Larry. By the time I get out, there'll have been like three new generations of iPhone."
- — Piper Chapman (to Larry)
- "Am I supposed to prison-fight an Old Russian lady with back problems?"
- — Piper Chapman (to Larry)
- "I have been here for less than two weeks. I've been starved out, felt up, teased, stalked, threatened, and called Taylor Swift."
- — Piper Chapman
- "Oh, he's a hit man? I thought he was a rapist. I'm so relieved."
- — Piper Chapman