Taylor Schilling (born July 27, 1984) is an American actress. She is known for her role as Piper Chapman on the Netflix original comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black (2013–present), for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Television Series Drama. She made her film debut in the 2007 drama Dark Matter. Schilling also starred in the short-lived NBC medical drama Mercy (2009–10). Her other films include Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011), the romantic drama The Lucky One (2012), and the comedy Take Me (2017).
Schilling was born on July 27, 1984 in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the daughter of Patricia (née Miller), an MIT administrator, and Robert J. Schilling, a former prosecutor. She grew up in West Roxbury and Wayland, splitting time between her divorced parents. A fan of the NBC medical drama ER during her youth, she began acting at a young age. She became active in her middle school's theatre program when she appeared in a stage production of Fiddler on the Roof.
After graduating from Wayland High School in 2002, Schilling attended Fordham University's campus at Lincoln Center, where she continued to take part in stage productions before earning her Bachelor of Arts in 2006. She then entered the graduate program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to continue her acting studies but left after her second year to start auditioning. While attempting to break into acting, she supported herself by working as a nanny for a Manhattan-based family.
Schilling won the Emerson College Playwright's Festival Outstanding Performance Award. She made her feature film debut with a supporting role in the independent film Dark Matter (2007). In 2009, she starred in the NBC medical drama Mercy, as a tough Iraq War veteran and former military nurse-turned-medical practitioner. Reading for the part via videotape from New York City, Schilling impressed the show's creator and executive producer, Liz Heldens, who then flew her out to Los Angeles to audition for the role. Mercy ran for one season from September 2009 to May 2010.
Schilling portrayed Dagny Taggart in the film Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011), and co-starred with Zac Efron in the romantic drama film The Lucky One (2012). She currently stars as Piper Chapman in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, based on the Piper Kerman memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. The show premiered on July 11, 2013. For her work on the show, Schilling was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014.
Regarding her sexuality, Schilling stated: "I’ve had very serious relationships with lots of people, and I’m a very expansive human. There’s no part of me that can be put under a label. I really don’t fit into a box — that’s too reductive … I’ve had a lot of love, and I don’t have any qualms about where it comes from."