It may not surprise you to learn that Orange Is the New Black skinhead Helen is not a skinhead in real life. However, the process that actress Francesca Curran goes through to transform into her character is pretty striking, and her real-life self could not be any more different.
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 makeup process takes longer than any other character's, 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.'
"It's kind of fun because I'll sometimes be out to lunch with the other girls on the show, and they'll be getting recognized, and then they'll [fans] say to me, 'Who are you?'"
"And you know, then it becomes a long, long wave of 'No you're not.' And, I'm like, 'Okay.'"
Orange Is the New Black season five is streaming now on Netflix.