A version of this story about Samira Wiley first appeared in the Emmy Hot List issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
While Samira Wiley’s Moira left the horrors of the totalitarian, theocratic state of Gilead behind at the end of the first season of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” her job on the Hulu drama is far from over. In fact, Season 3 actually features the most work–and most meaningful work — we’ve seen from Moira: using her position as an acclimated refugee in Canada to help others who have come to the country seeking asylum.
“Moira being (a handmaid) in Gilead was the exact definition of not being in control,” said Wiley, who was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her “Handmaid’s Tale” role. “She couldn’t make her own choices when it came to what she wanted to do from day to day, but also when it came to her own body. She had no control.”
“So being able to be in Canada and make the very conscious decisions to not only be in control of what happens with her, but to also try to empower others — working with refugees, showing them that their life is not over, that this is a new normal and we’re having to get used to something a little different because we’re in a different country, we’re all expats now, but you can also have this control — it is something that I think anchors Moira. It’s something she needs to survive. It gives her life purpose. It gives her life meaning.”
Wiley said that Moira’s time spent advocating for the rights of other refugees is what helps her hold on to her best friend, June (played by Elisabeth Moss). June is still trapped in Gilead, but she managed to get her infant daughter, Nichole, to safety with Moira and June’s husband, Luke (O-T Fagbenle), in Canada.
“She’s able to keep her eye on the dream of being able to one day have June,” Wiley said. “Because if she’s continuing to do work to help people get out, to help refugees, then she’s able to see that somehow the light at the end of the tunnel may be her seeing June one day. In fact, it will be her seeing June, because that’s how I think Moira thinks and how she sees the world.”
Read more from the Emmy Hot List issue of TheWrap Emmy magazine.