‘Orphan Black:’ Why Tatiana Maslany Says Helena Defies Gender

It’s almost time to say goodbye to the clone club (for real, you guys!). But before it ends, Tatiana Maslany reflects on what attracted her to the Orphan Black characters in the first place.

Speaking to Interview magazine, Maslany discussed all things clone-related. One thing that’s really excited her the most is how much Sarah Manning and the gang have sparked a conversation over gender. She said,

“The response that people have had to the show in terms of the questions of identity and the feminist rhetoric, it was really exciting and sort of a surprise to me. Weirdly, the most I was thinking about gender when I was playing these characters was when John Fawcett, the showrunner, said to me, ‘I think Alison is the most feminine.’ I was like ‘Okay. What does that mean?'”

She found the question of gender most interesting when it came to Helena.

“For some reason, the characters defy gender to me in a way: Helena is this Ukrainian serial killer who is now domesticated. Gender wasn’t even a concept to her; she was beyond that almost.”

It’s exactly these unconventional qualities that attracted Tatiana to the role in the first place. She said,

“I was very excited to read female characters like these. I was excited even at the prospect of playing one of them.”

But after Orphan Black wraps for good, Maslany will be ready to move on.

“I would never want to do a similar thing in terms of television. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a one-woman show, but watching that on stage is my favorite thing on the planet. I’m so drawn to people who can do that and I would love to try it someday. I think that’s the closest that I’d ever get.”

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.