"Music is one of my acting tools." Orange Is The New Black star Jessica Pimentel reveals the metal, goth and rock artists that helped her through some of the show's more emotionally turbulent scenes

Jessica Pimentel on the Metal Hammer Golden Gods red carpet
(Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty Images)

Orange Is The New Black star Jessica Pimentel has revealed the music artists that helped her "tap into" her character for some of her more emotional scenes on the show - and goth and metal rank highly on her list.

The New Yorker, whose played the character of Maria Ruiz for all six seasons of the prison drama's run, speaks exclusively to Metal Hammer in their new issue, and is asked at one point by Hammer writer Matt Mills whether music helped her through scenes that, according to her, had left her in tears.

“Music is one of my acting tools," she replies. "It’s how I tap into whatever emotion I need for a scene. Most of the time, it was a lot of metal and goth: a lot of Nick Cave, Zeal & Ardor, Meshuggah and Depeche Mode. But then afterwards I’d put on something completely fun: dance, Latin music, hip hop – whatever was the opposite. As I’m taking the wardrobe off, I’m putting the character away.”

Pimentel isn't just a fan of alternative music, however: she fronts her own metal band, Alekhine’s Gun, and is now a member of masked extreme metal crew Brujeria. 

“Monte Conner [at Nuclear Blast Records] introduced us many years ago," she says when asked how she ended up in the latter band. "I’d been seeing Brujeria for many years, so I was already a fan. [Brujeria frontman Juan] Brujo had heard I was a singer in my other band, Alekhine’s Gun, and thought we’d be a good mix. I had no rehearsal, just one soundcheck of two songs, then got thrown into the fire at my first show in New York City.”

Read more from Jessica Pimentel in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, out now. Orange Is The New Black, which aired its final season in 2019, is available to steam now via Netflix.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.