The show "Orange is the New Black" has changed the rules for TV dramedy with a diverse cast and strong female leads. One of the actors from the show is doing that same thing in the music world. NY1's Stephanie Simon has more with Brooklyn native Jessica Pimentel.
In the prison dramedy "Orange is the New Black," Jessica Pimentel plays it tough.
In real life, the classically trained actor and musician plays it even tougher.
Pimentel leads the blackened death metal band “Alekhine's Gun.” At age 12, the violin prodigy fell in love with this music after hearing the album "King Diamond: Conspiracy."
"It was the creepiest, darkest, scariest thing I’ve ever heard, with some of the most beautiful, technical guitar playing I’ve ever heard,” Pimentel said. “And I'm like, 'Wow, how could this powerful music be so effective in invoking emotion?'"
Heavy metal is dominated by white males, but Pimentel says growing up in Brooklyn playing in a mostly-white community orchestra taught her she could break barriers. Plus this music scene offered her something special.
"This was the place where I could be free, I could release. I could scream,” Pimentel said. “So this is where I feel most at home."
Alekhine's Gun is the name of a chess move.
Pimentel also has some killer moves as an assasin on "Person of Interest," and the role she is best known for, Maria Ruiz in "Orange is the New Black," a role she had doubts about before the show started filming.
"All we knew is that we were brown people in jail, you know what I'm saying?” Pimentel said. “Maria very pregnant in jail."
But the show did not play to stereotypes. Instead, this Netflix hit created unforgettable characters and shined a spotlight on an often hidden subject. Here is one fan's reaction.
"’Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was that baby. I was born in jail. Thank you for telling that story,’” Pimentel said.
And of course, some fans come to her shows and expect to see "Maria." That is not what they get.
Jessica says it is true there are not a lot of women fronting metal bands. But that could change.
"You can be anything you want,” Pimentel said. “Just be true to yourself."
Alekhine's Gun plays Webster Hall April 7th.