If you have been following Orange is the New Black since it was released you probably know that "Red Reznikov" is one of the strongest characters in the Netflix series. She is an inmate at the federal Maximum security prison who holds the position of Head Chef, and who before being in jail worked in a factory in Soviet-era Russia.

Orange is the New Black: "Red Reznikov"

The popular character is portrayed by the American actress Kate Mulgrew, who since the show started hasn't stopped gaining public recognition. It could actually be said that she became famous after her work in OITNB, and that's why we're wondering: What was Kate Mulgrew's life like before fame? What did she do before portraying "Red"? It seems that the star worked on very exciting projects!

Kate Mulgrew - Her life before Orange is the New Black

The actress came to prominence due to her role as "Red" in Orange is the New Blackbut did you know that she was actually part of the main cast of Star Trek: Voyager, where she played the role of "Captain Kathryn Janeway" from 1995 to 2001 in a total of 170 episodes. Her character was the first woman to command a Federation Starship in the more than three-decade history of the series! 

It is really interesting how Kate Mulgrew got the role in the science fiction show! In 1995 she was dealing with personal issues regarding her love life: she and her former husband Robert H. Egan were getting divorced and she was about to sell her house when she received a call to take part in Star Trek: Voyager. She immediately auditioned and a couple of weeks later got the role, which made her feel really proud. "It was difficult, it was hard work. I'm proud of the work because I think I made some minor difference in women in science", revealed the actress. 

Kate Mulgrew - her life before Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: Voyager is not the only project in which Kate Mulgrew worked on before OITNB. From 1988 to 1989 she played the role of "Dr. Joanne Springsteen" in the American medical drama Heartbeat. A couple of years before, from 1975 to 1978, she portrayed "Mary Ryan" in the American soap opera Ryan's Hope which originally aired for 13 years. Kate Mulgrew is a great actress not only in television but also in theater, where she has also pursued her acting career since the 1970's.

Five things you probably didn't know about Kate Mulgrew 

-She was friends with the late John Kennedy Jr. and attended his funeral

-She is a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Alzheimer's Association; her mother passed away in 2006 after a long battle with the disease

-She gave up her first child for adoption. They both met in 1999 for the first time

-She loves animals and reportedly has a labrador called Gracie

-She was married to Cleveland, Ohio politician Timothy Hagan