Neflix's twelve-time Emmy Award nominated comedy-drama "Orange Is the New Black" has wowed audiences with its raw, comical and sometimes controversial spin on women in prison from "the perspectives of whites, blacks, Latinas, transgenders and other groups" in the United States.

The subject matter has gotten so much buzz and attention that it has also attracted audiences in Mexico and Latin America (including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic) as well as Spain — countries that have historically considered transgender issues and sexual orientation taboo. Yet given the response to the show, times are changing.

Based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, "Orange Is the New Black" delves into the characters' many layers, revealing the tough, emotional and often 'crazy' yet funny side of prison. While the diverse, multidimensional characters are technically confined in jail, playing these unconventional roles and sometimes true-to-life stories has been freeing for the cast, including Laura Gómez, who plays the role of inmate Blanca Flores at Litchfield Penitentiary.

"It's a privilege" to take on the challenging role, Gómez told Latin Post. "Netflix is like on the level of an HBO-type — the quality of work, they are taking pride in that. And also I feel very privileged at the fact that this a female cast, female-driven at least. Jenji [Kohan, creator of OitNB] for me is such an inspiration; this woman has created a hit of a show with women, minorities, unknowns, people with a lot of curriculum, certainly in resume, but not necessarily famous."

"To have a hit like this and create a beauty of a show with this phenomenal cast of women is almost showing the industry, 'Well, what do you mean that women don't sell? We are the number one show!' Obviously there is a hungry audience out there for these type of topics, and for women in TV and film," she added.

Born in New Jersey and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Gómez began her journey as an actor in Santo Domingo, a place she calls her roots. She went on to train professionally in New York City, where she now considers home after residing there for over a decade.

A member of Spanish Repertory Theater, Gómez has starred in critically acclaimed plays like "Doña Flor and her Two Husbands" and "The House of the Spirits." Given her theater experience, Gómez was accustomed to a set script, yet with "Orange Is the New Black," there is unpredictability and excitement with each episode (which the cast receives a few weeks or days before they shoot). Gómez admits she loves this about the show because it forces her to improvise, challenge herself and keeps her on her toes.

In Season 1, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) first sees Blanca Flores (Gómez) in the bathroom, where she often is found occupying the only stall with a functional door. She terrifies Chapman due to her disheveled appearance and wailing in the stall. It turns out Flores had everyone fooled — she concealed a cell phone behind a brick in the bathroom wall, which Piper later discovers. While the other inmates thought she was insane because she was constantly talking to herself and "Diablo" in the bathroom stall, Chapman learns that Flores had been speaking to her boyfriend all along.

In Season 2, Flores is seen working in the kitchen with the other Latina inmates. Flores demands a cell phone with a camera from John Bennett (corrections officer) as a bribe to keep quiet about Dayanara "Daya" Diaz's (Dascha Polanco) pregnancy.

"It's divorcing myself a lot ... from me personally," Gómez says of playing the disheveled Flores, "so I love it in that sense that an actor loves to create a role that is such a challenge, both physically — as you can tell, we are very different. I don't even get recognized and when people get to know that I am Blanca, their mouths drop, like, 'What?!'

"It's my own hair. There are no pieces or anything in it, and I love it! I didn't know I had so much hair, until the hair team made me realize, 'wow!' We have an amazing hair and make-up team. It was well thought — this was no coincidence," she explained. "We discussed what the character was supposed to be. I think we were a little in excess at one point and thought that Blanca was crazy. I think the only ones who knew the truth were the writers."

What some Hollywood actresses might balk at such a dramatic transformation, Gómez relishes it.

"It's very liberating as an actor and a person to go there ... Now, it is even more fun. Now, I make it a point in saying 'I'm missing a bit on the uni-brow.' There is this commitment," she said. "They're amazing. The work they do is beautiful, even though they make me look so ugly. It's beautiful. We always joke that this is the only show where the make-up department is supposed to make you look ugly!"

While there are a lot of laughs on set, the reality of being a female inmate in the U.S. prison system isn't a pretty situation, but an increasingly concerning one.

According to The Sentencing Project, "The number of women in prison, a third of whom are incarcerated for drug offenses, is increasing at nearly double the rate for men. These women often have significant histories of physical and sexual abuse, high rates of HIV infection, and substance abuse. Large-scale women's imprisonment has resulted in an increasing number of children who suffer from their mother's incarceration and the loss of family ties.

"The United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails — a 500 percent increase over the past 30 years. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of achieving public safety."

"Orange Is the New Black" has been dubbed by some critics as being "stereotypical," since its cast is heavily Latina and African-American. If you look just on the surface, the show could "sound very stereotypical," Gómez said. However, "I think that on a deeper level what it is doing is making these stories human ... Stereotypes are based on some type of truth. We are making this truth a little more human, showing the layers and discussing how unjust it can be and connecting people with these stories they had never even thought they could be open about."

Regarding racial disparity, "more than 60 percent of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their thirties, 1 in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the 'war on drugs,' in which two-thirds of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color."

"We are certainly in a situation where this [U.S. prison system] has to be re-evaluated," Gómez adds. "Many are wrongly imprisoned or wrongly accused."

When she's not channeling Blanca Flores in "Orange Is the New Black," Gómez is an established voice-over artist. She is the official announcer in Spanish for CoverGirl and Suave Professionals as well as the audiobooks "How the García Girls Lost Their Accent" by Julia Alvarez and "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Díaz.

In 2011, Gómez was a recipient of the IX Screenwriting Developing Grant from the Carolina Foundation in Spain. She has also written, directed, produced and starred in several short films, including "To Kill a Roach," the Winner of the NYU Fall 2012 Technisphere Award for Outstanding Achievement, and "Hallelujah."

If you haven't seen it already, check out the official trailer for "Orange Is the New Black" Season 2.