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Characters / Orange Is the New Black - Asian Inmates

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    Soso 

Brook Soso

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/soso_brook_7930.jpg
"Everyone in here is in such a bad mood all the time...Some of these women just seem crazy."
Played By: Kimiko Glenn

An inmate of Japanese and Scottish descent who first appeared in the second season, and landed in prison due to political activism. Chatty and somewhat ditzy, Soso attempts to befriend a non-reciprocating Piper, who had been kind to Soso on her first night in prison.


  • Ambiguously Bi: Is rather conflicted about her sexuality. On one hand, she hooks up with both Nikki and Poussey, and seems to be generally in love with the latter. On the other hand, she also confesses that she isn't sure how long it'll last between them because "you're a girl" and isn't sure whether she'd still be interested in women when she leaves prison. And yet, a few episodes later she starts planning her future with Poussey. She also comments she's "attracted to people, not genders" at one point.
  • The Apprentice: She attempts to latch herself onto Piper as one, much to Piper's annoyance.
  • Asian Airhead: Of the Granola Girl variety. She is very spacy, though she does have a wide array of knowledge. Most of the other inmates wish she would just shut up.
  • Break the Cutie: Prison has NOT been kind to her. The trauma she endures destroys some of her naivete, and she delivers a vicious “The Reason You Suck” Speech to her empty-headed hippie friend Meadow in Season 3. Almost became a Kill the Cutie with her suicide attempt in Season 3.
    • Hits even harder in Season 4 with Poussey's death.
  • Character Development: Introduced as a ditzy, privileged girl who needs constant attention. Her experience in prison has forced her to grow up a bit and take a more nuanced approach to things. Just compare her hunger strike in Season 2, during which she drives her own allies to tell her to shut up, and her quiet defiance of the riot police at the end of Season 5.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: She's good-natured and pretty enough that both Big Boo and Nicky immediately want to sleep with her, but absolutely nobody can bear to listen to her talking for too long.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the penultimate episode of Season 3. Fortunately, Poussey finds her in time and gets her to vomit up the antidepressants that she took.
  • Foil: When the other inmates find out she was arrested for political activism, they're quick to compare her to Sister Ingalls. Ingalls disagrees vehemently.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Seems to have some tension with Tastee regarding this, regarding who Poussey "loved more", or whose grief carries more weight.
  • Good with Numbers: Loves trigonometry and calculus, the later of which she considers "when math meets poetry"
  • Granola Girl: To the point where she refuses to bathe for some time. She also mentions working on an organic farm and most of her friends before prison were environmental and/or animal rights activists.
  • The Grovel: Does this for Poussey in Season 4, after having told Judy King that Poussey's mom was a crack whore, and that Poussey had had a difficult life on the Wrong Side of the Tracks, which caused a Second-Act Breakup. It works.
  • Heroic BSoD: She's naturally sent into a major one by Poussey's death in the Season 4 finale. Fortunately she's actually able to pull herself out of it relatively quickly, after she finds and rescues Suzanne from underneath a bookcase that she pulled onto herself. Her Season 5 storyline, however, includes dealing with her grief.
  • The Idealist: Soso tends to take a idealistic, philosophical approach to things rather than a practical one. She's very conceptually driven and intested in love, beauty, and justice.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Brook repeatedly attempts to befriend the other inmates to no avail, likely due to her Motor Mouth and overly cheerful attitude. She does eventually win over Yoga Jones, Sister Ingalls, and a handful of other inmates who join her hunger strike.
  • Kick the Dog: On the receiving end of it in Season 3. Granted she's annoying, but she doesn't deserve Leeann's bullying and harassment. Norma's clique ousting her is a sign of the clique going too far, not Soso's character.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: She's clearly educated and can list a number of historical/scientific facts, but generally has no understanding of the context of this information or how to apply it.
  • Meaningful Name: Her parents thought she babbled a lot.
  • Mixed Ancestry:She is half-Japanese and half-Scottish, white enough that Morello is nice to her.
  • Motor Mouth: She will not shut up. Ever. This causes Piper to attempt to trade her to Big Boo for a blanket at one point. Even the normally nice Sister Ingalls once tells her to "SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP!!!"
  • My Nayme Is: In her introductory scene, she mentions that her name is spelled without the "e."
  • Naïve Newcomer: For most of Season 2.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: She says that her parents originally told her that she was named after Brooke Shields. As she got older, they started telling her they named her after a "babbling brook".
  • Nice Girl: For all her faults, she means well.
  • Odd Friendship With the Black clique at the end of Season 3.
  • The Pollyanna: Unlike most of the other inmates, she maintains a bright and optimistic attitude throughout her stay, treating her experience more like summer camp than as punishment. It is only towards the end of the season that the harsh realities of prison finally begin to sink in on her.
  • Replacement Flat Character: Initially, she serves mostly to show just how much prison has changed Piper. She later grows out of this with some Character Development.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Of a different kind. When Nicky goes down on her, she can't stop talking, which goes on for a while before Nicky, clearly annoyed, stands up, ditches her trousers and undies and shoves herself into Soso's face to shut her up.
  • Stage Mom: Grew up with one of these.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Much to everyone else's annoyance, Soso tends to get on her hobby horse about many things, often at inappropriate times.
  • Traumatic Haircut: In Season 3, her hair is cut shorter in her sleep because of Leanne.
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    Chang 

Mei Chang

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chang_2768.png
Played By: Lori Tan Chinn & Teresa Ting

A middle-aged, highly irritable Chinese woman who runs the commissary.


  • Beneath Notice: Her shtick. In the present, it allows her to enjoy more luxuries than most inmates could ever hope for through macgyvering without them even noticing. In the past, it got her foot in the door of the world of The Triads and the Tongs.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Oh boy. She got to a respectable position in an illegal smuggling ring and had a guy brutally killed.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In her flashback her idiot would-be fiance decides to spit on her and tell her she's so ugly no man will ever want her, after she's had him kidnapped, bound, and beaten to a pulp by two gang members who are ready to brutally murder him on her order.
  • Cleans Up Nicely: Had incredibly unfortunate blemishes all over her face in her youth which made it impossible for her to find a husband. At some point, whether through cosmetic surgery or simply time, they've gone away and her complexion is clear. That said, it's still been several decades later and she's an old hairy lady who no longer gives a damn about appearance.
  • Deadpan Snarker: For the few instances when she does speak. Otherwise, she's usually the Silent Snarker.
  • False Dichotomy: Soso claims she's Asian, as that's how everyone else sees her because of the ‘One Drop Rule’. Chang, however, insists: "You Scottish!"
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In her past. From a quiet, obedient, would-be mail-order bride to a respectable member of a huge criminal gang, whose first act is to have the potential husband who insulted and rejected her brutally killed.
  • Hidden Depths: Chang appears to be somewhat of a film buff, comparing Piper to Bo Derek from Tarzan and drawing comparisons to Taylor's Amish background to the Harrison Ford movie, Witness.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures/Non-Specifically Foreign: Intentionally invoked, since "Chang" is a common last name in many East Asian countries. Even Soso, the only other Asian inmate, is unsure of what her nationality is. The episode 'Ching Chong Chang' establishes that she is from rural China
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude
  • MacGyvering: A master of it, not that the other inmates realize.
  • Mail-Order Bride: Her brother attempted to make her one, but her prospective husband refused to marry her because she was "too ugly."
  • Not So Above It All:
    • She seems quiet and unsociable, but ends up refereeing Boo and Nicky's hookup contest and makes some lewd remarks.
    • She appeared to be very enthusiastic about Fifty Shades of Grey.
  • Only One Name: Until Season 3, when she's given a full name.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: When the SWAT team is taking Litchfield at the end of Season 5, Chang slips out of a hole in the prison fence and runs off.
  • Senior Sleep Cycle: During the WAC episode.
  • Silent Snarker: She doesn't speak much, but when she does...
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: When she tells her smuggler friends to cut out a man's gallbladder like she's telling them what she wants for supper.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Her flashback episodes indicates that she was part of the latter.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Touched on in her past. The man who rejected her says she can kill him, but (according to him) she'll still be ugly and no man will ever want her; killing him won't change that. She agrees, but has him killed anyway.
  • The Voiceless: While a member of the Women's Advisory Committee, Chang stays silent throughout the entire meeting while the other girls openly voice their requests and grievances.
  • Work Off the Debt: After her prospective husband rejects her, she helps her brother tend his shop. However, he makes it clear that she owes him eight hundred dollars - the amount he paid to fly her to America - and her situation is indentured servitude to pay him back rather than one family member helping another.

    Hapakuka 

Stephanie Hapakuka

Played By: Jolene Purdy

A Hawaiian girl who's one of the new inmates brought in from MCC.


  • The Big Guy: Serves as this for Piper.
  • Demoted to Extra: In Season 5.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After suffering through half of season 4 as Piper's lackey, Hapakuka gives her up to the Latinas to be branded.
  • Fat Girl: Is visibly overweight, and somewhat insecure.
  • Gentle Giant: She's definitely one of the larger inmates but is typically soft spoken and abhors violence. Her only instance of "violence" was wrestling contraband away from another prisoner but apologized and claimed to be a pacifist before doing so.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After selling Piper out to the Latinas to be branded with a swastika, Hapakuka sees the pain Piper is in and immediately regrets it.
  • Stout Strength: She's able to lift Piper's bed, with her in it, with her legs.

    Shani 

An Egyptian ICE inmate who starts a relationship with Nicky.


  • Birds of a Feather: She has a snarky, cheeky personality and sense of humor similar to Nicky that lets them bond very quickly.
  • Bury Your Gays: Her fate isn't shown, but it's very likely this will happen as she's deported back to Egypt, where homosexuality is punishable by death and her family threatens her with an honor killing.
  • Groin Attack: Like many Egyptian women, she was given FGM as a child. This is why she won't let Nicky perform oral sex on her.
  • The Lost Lenore: To Nicky at the end of the series. Nicky was too pre-occupied with Red's dementia and Morello's Sanity Slippage that she didn't get a chance to even say goodbye.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Tater-tots.
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