The five-foot-high portrait took 200 hours to build and celebrates the star’s creativity and queerness 

BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE BY DREAMSTIME

Famous for her iconic role of Poussey Washington in Orange Is The New Black, Samira Wiley is a queer icon. This has been memorialised in her most recent creative endeavour: a five-foot-high portrait made of 41,000 LEGO® bricks. 

The stunning portrait features rainbow beams sprouting from Samira’s face, and it was unveiled by Rolling Stone during Pride month this year. In a recent essay written for Attitude magazine, Samira reflects on the creative process behind the portrait. 

“Creative expression is a part of my day-to-day, but I’d never sat down to explore and celebrate myself in this way,” Samira said. “I am so proud of the portrait and all that it stands for. Each time I look at it, I feel the power of seeing yourself and being true to yourself.”

She continued: “Like everyone, the pieces that make up me are complex and multi-faceted. I am a Black, queer woman; a daughter, wife, a mother and a friend; an actor, producer, performer and singer…the list goes on! But the creative exploration process centred on a deeper foundation of myself that aligns to a core element of my heritage.” 

The star also spoke about the power of embracing her iconic mohawk as part of her identity. She calls out to readers to “grab your creative tools” and do something that will bring you joy. Not sure if we have enough time to build a LEGO portrait of ourselves, but we love the message! 

In her interview with Rolling Stone where she unveiled the gorgeous portrait, she spoke about coming to accept her LGBTQIA identity and the advice that she would give others: “I’ve got to have self-love. I’ve got to understand my self-worth. If you grow up in a place where you’re never shown you matter, it’s not the easiest thing to just say one day you’re going to believe that.”

“But I do know, any person, wherever they are in their journey, if and when they can find that, something might turn around. My journey to self-acceptance has changed me, saved me and allowed me to thrive.”

Brb, we’re on our way to the LEGO store… 

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