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OITNB Creator Jenji Kohan: 'There's More To Us Than The Moment We Made A Bad Decision'

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 16: Executive producer Jenji Kohan arrives at the Hollywood Radio And Television Society (HRTS) Annual Hitmakers Panel at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 16, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images) | Valerie Macon via Getty Images


Jenji Kohan, the creator of Orange Is the New Black on skipping the snark and stretching your legs.

As told to Arianna Davis

Flaws Are in the Eye of the Beholder.
I'm never going to look like a Nordic model, so I play with what I've got. Instead of going gray, I dye my hair bright colors; I have bad vision, so I wear sparkly glasses. I embrace that I look like a crazy lady.

When in Doubt, Walk It Out.
I was broke when I lived in New York City during college, so I'd spend weekends walking around town, grabbing something to eat, and interacting with strangers. That ritual has stuck with me. I hike in the Los Angeles hills and get outside with my writing team after lunch when we're not too busy. Fresh air changes your headspace.

You Can't Make Everyone Happy.
You can sing and dance and stand on your head, but trust me: If someone's committed to her unhappiness, there's nothing you can do. I've tried, and my attempts almost always backfire.

We All Screw Up.
But we don't all get caught, which is why you can't paint everyone with the same brush. That's the basis of "Orange Is the New Black." Yes, the characters are criminals, but I prefer to define them by who they are rather than by what they've done. There's more to us than the moment we made a bad decision.

Nobody Likes a Jerk.
"Be nice" is my family's basic rule but one that often goes unfollowed in Hollywood. There's always a moment when you can choose between being snarky and being kind. I opt for the latter -- it's much less exhausting!

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