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Samira Wileys character has struggled with waves of grief and loss in Season 2 of The Handmaids Tale. Viewers suffered with the rebellious Moira while her backstory—including surrogate motherhood and a great love affair—unfurled before us.

For the second year in a row, Wiley has been nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Moira, this year in the outstanding guest actress in a drama category. (Her nomination is one of 20 for the Hulu series, which is once again nominated for best drama, a prize it won last year.)

While being photographed for Vanity Fairs “Above the Law” portfolio in its special Emmys issue, Wiley talked about finding inspiration in the handmaids in this heated political moment, and looked ahead to the seriess third season.

Vanity Fair: In Season 2 of The Handmaids Tale, Moira has left Gilead, but its still there haunting her, isnt it?

Samira Wiley: Absolutely. I think its that shes been there for so long and theres trauma there. I think about when she sleeps at night, can she sleep through the night? Is there P.T.S.D.? You know, all of those things. Even in the scene where she hooks up with the girl earlier in the season, she cant even tell her real name. She reverts back to the person that she was at Jezebels, the brothel.

You mentioned her [brothel] alter ego, Ruby. How did you prep yourself to play different elements of her character?

I think Ruby is an armor, almost like a wall she puts up to protect herself. Its interesting to be in those situations and have to do that. What is that feeling that makes you go, “O.K., I got to put on my armor now”? [It was] just navigating the different levels of fear that Moira has, walking through the world every day.

Most of us have defense mechanisms and we try to avoid putting ourselves in these situations where we have to feel these things.

Yeah. Being an actor is a crazy thing. Youre willingly putting yourself in these awful situations and situations of trauma.

The show collided with the politics of the moment and it feels like people are tapping into both the terror of whats happening in Gilead and [gaining inspiration] from the characters resistance.

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Its so interesting to me how this show has coincided with what is going on. There are the obvious things that I think we acknowledge about the show, which is [that] the first season came out around the same time Trump took office and there were some parallels there, and then in the second season the #MeToo movement [happened], side-by-side with the sexual violence against women in our show. . . . Theres that scene in Season 2 where June has to be separated from her daughter. We know whats going on at [the U.S.-Mexico] border right now. I cannot think of anything more horrible than that. When I read [that script], I was just so much feeling how horrible that would be. And then to see it happening in our own world, yeah, I dont know. Im going to tell my writers, please be careful when you write.

I hear people in my ear talking all the time about, “This could happen. This could happen, all of it, and look whats happening,” but I, as Samira, am a believer that . . . I just believe in the people of my country and I think its similar to believing in the collective handmaids fight in Gilead. . . . I think its so easy to sometimes just think all hope is lost, but that is not how you get out of something like this.

I gain courage from the stories that were telling and from these characters that Margaret Atwood has created.

Was it meaningful to you as a black, gay actress to be able to portray Moiras very specific backstory?

Oh, gosh, absolutely. I think there is something so pure and wonderful about a love story, which is something that we see in Gilead in these weird ways, but whenever they happen they just seem so pure and honest. . . . The fastest way to make someone go crazy is to put them in solitary, and to have someone that is on your side, that you feel this love with, is something really, really beautiful. To be able to experience and explore that as Moira and away from danger, meaning its pre-Gilead, that was such a gift for me.

Do you have any sense of what we might see for Moira in Season 3, or what youd dream of for her?

I dont have any clue of what is going to happen, but of course, I have hopes and dreams for her. I want her to be the hero. I want her to—Im not going to hypothesize the way this would manifest itself—but I just want her to get her spirit back, and I want her to be a leader. I want her to be a badass again.

Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Joy PressJoy Press is a T.V. Correspondent for Vanity Fair. Her book, Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television, was released in February.

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