The Handmaid’s Tale has received many critical accolades and was nominated for several major awards, scooping up an Emmy and a Golden Globe for its first season. These talented people make the show truly what it is, but it also makes us wonder what they’re like in real life.
Diehard Gilmore Girls fans won’t find Luke’s or the comfort of Lorelai or Emily Gilmore here. If you’ve ever wanted to imagine what the opposite of Stars Hollow was, the Colonies is a safe bet. To the delight of Alexis Bledel fans, Emily’s story is not over. Season two’s powerful second episode, “Unwomen,” finds Bledel’s character in the Colonies, a radioactive wasteland where women literally go to die.
Alexis Bledel is known for playing the innocent Rory Gilmore in the lovable series Gilmore Girls. After a long time out of the spotlight, she has made an incredible comeback playing Ofglen, who befriends Offred. She is absolutely stunning in real life.
Nick Blaine is the Waterfords’ driver and security man, serving under Commander Waterford. But he’s also an Eye, part of Gilead’s secret police force which seeks out traitors. Nick turns out to be a real friend, as well as a love interest, for June. He helps her in every way that he can, often risking his own life to try and save hers. He also helps the resistance at times, but is always careful not to risk being found out.
Max is one of many British actors on the cast, but he’s also a screenwriter and filmmaker, and will be making his directorial debut next year with the film Teen Spirit. Other than his role on The Handmaid’s Tale, the actor had a recurring role on the Mindy Kaling comedy The Mindy Project. He also took part in movies like comedy The Internships, drama The Social Network, thriller Syriana, and political drama The Ides of March, alongside Ryan Gosling and George Clooney.
Commander Fred Waterford is the head of the household where June serves as a handmaid, and also a key figure in the Gilead command. In flashbacks, we see him and his wife Serena fighting to achieve their religious doctrine, which they eventually managed to do. At times, it seems to June as if Waterford can be decent, almost kind, despite the situation. In actuality, he turns out to be every bit as vicious and savage as she could have imagined.
Joseph is a British actor, and brother to the famous actor Ralph Fiennes. He began his way in the film Shakespeare in Love alongside Gwyneth Paltrow. He proceeded to appear in films like war drama Enemy at the Gates, Shakespeare-based The Merchant of Venice, the dramedy Running with Scissors, and the 2014 version of Hercules. He also had prominent roles on television shows like the mystery drama Flashforward, fantasy show Camelot, and season two of the horror anthology series American Horror Story.
As an Aunt, Lydia’s job is to teach fertile women about their new place in the world as Handmaids. She teaches them how to behave, often applying cruel and even sadistic punishments to those who disobey the rules. While Aunt Lydia is responsible for their well-being, she must also discipline them. Despite being seemingly merciless and remorseless, at times you can see she really cares about the girls, and struggles with the difficult role she must play in their lives.
Ann Dowd also won an Emmy as well as a Golden Globe for her outstanding performance on the show. The actress has had many roles both in TV and films. She had parts in movies such as Philadelphia, The Manchurian Candidate, the family dramedy Marley & Me, and the sci-fi thriller Hereditary. She’s also known for her TV role in the mystery drama The Leftovers. Ann works as an acting coach along with her husband, writer Larry Arancio, and was in fact Lady Gaga’s acting coach.
Luke Bankole is June’s husband in the old world, who has managed to escape alone to Canada, after being separated from his wife and daughter. In flashbacks, we see that before they were together, Luke was married to another woman, and had an affair with June before leaving his wife for her and starting a family. He can do nothing to find June now, but the two manage to send each other messages to say they’re alive. While he knows she’s alive, he knows that she is “not okay” and far from being such.
British actor, writer, and director O. T. Fagbenle has many TV titles under his name, aside from The Handmaid’s Tale. He had roles on shows like the British comedies As If, Grownups, and FM (starring Chris O’Dowd), HBO’s drama series The Interceptor, and the Harlan Coben mystery show The Five. The role of June’s husband Luke Bankole was a breakthrough role for the talented actor, who’s been named one of 30 actors to watch.
Before Gilead, Moira is June’s fun and cheeky best friend and partner in crime. She’s separated from her wife when the regime of Gilead begins, and ends up as a Handmaid along with June. After that, she’s sent to work at a night club called Jezebel’s, where she’s forced to serve the commanders who show up. But despite thinking it impossible, she manages to escape to Canada, where she finds Luke and discovers her wife never made it.
You may know Samira Wiley by her incredible performance in the prison drama Orange Is the New Black, playing Poussey Washington. The actress is currently married to one of the show’s screenwriters, Lauren Morelli, after the two met through the show. Samira also had parts on shows like comedy You’re the Worst and the crime comedy Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television, but her roles on OITNB and The Handmaid’s Tale truly make her one of the most prominent actresses on TV today.
Serena Joy Waterford
Serena is the author of A Woman’s Place, the doctrine used to form Gilead. She insists hers is the only way to fight the world’s increasing infertility, but it comes back to bite her. She never thought that being a woman meant she would lose her power in the new world as well, but she slowly realizes that she has. Ultimately, her only goal is having a child, and she would do anything for it. Although she sometimes shows June kindness, she’s usually cold-hearted and ruthless towards the Handmaid.
The gorgeous actress is actually Australian, and she began her way in the Australian drama Headland. She rose to fame when she played CIA agent Sarah Walker on the action dramedy Chuck, and later landed a recurring role on Dexter as the titular character’s deadly love interest. Yvonne also appeared on the action series 24: Live Another Day and The Astronaut Wives Club, before being cast as Serena Joy on the Handmaid’s Tale. Married to actor Tim Loden, the actress is currently expecting her first child together with her husband.
Alma is a Handmaid who trained at the Red Center along with June, Janine, and Moira, who now serves Commander Ellis and his wife. She is involved with the resistance movement known as Mayday, which tries to help the Handmaids of Gilead. When June wants to help, she gives her an assignment – to pick up a package containing letters of testimonials from Gilead’s victims. When Nick accompanies the Waterfords to Canada, he passes the package along to Luke and Moira, who publish them online.
Nina Kiri began her acting career in 2011, with a role in a TV movie called Geek Charming, starring Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland. She later moved on to starring in several horror thriller films, such as Let Her Out, The Haunted House on Kirby Road, and The Heretics, which she is mostly known for. In 2017, she landed the role of Alma on The Handmaid’s Tale – which is no doubt a true breakthrough role for the actress.
Brianna is another Handmaid, who is named Oferic after her Commander. She is often seen with a Handmaid named Dolores, and she’s also one of the Handmaids to refuse to stone Janine. In one of her first encounters with June, she tries to give her advice for her new posting at the Waterfords. Later on, she is one of the Handmaids to reveal her real name at the supermarket, after June and Emily tell their names to some of the Handmaids.
Bahia Watson began her television career not long ago, in 2014, and has already been cast in the recurring role of Brianna on The Handmaid’s Tale. Before that, she took part in the drama film What We Have, and had guest roles on the family drama Remedy, as well as the supernatural medical drama Saving Hope. The actress has also done theater work, and not just acting. She’s actually a playwright as well, who also writes poetry and short stories.
Dolores is also a Handmaid, who’s been named Ofsamuel. She trained at the Rachel and Leah Center along with June, Moira, and Janine. In a flashback, we see she was denied permission to go to the bathroom, and after having an accident, she is punished with violence. She’s also one of the Handmaids to reveal her real name at the supermarket, and after Janine laughs at it, she reveals she’s been named after her grandmother.
Canadian actress Jenessa Grant has done quite a few roles since she began acting in 2010. In film, she’s been on movies like the drama On the Road, sports drama A Fighting Man, and thriller The Intruders. Jenessa appeared on TV series such as the fantasy drama Reign, and the action shows Ransom and Orphan Black. She’s also done some voice acting, dubbing Faith on the popular Video Game Far Cry 5, before being cast on The Handmaid’s Tale.
Naomi is the wife of Commander Warren, under which Janine serves. Janine delivers them a baby, and while she named her Charlotte, Naomi names the baby Angela. After Janine’s breakdown, she isn’t allowed to see her baby anymore, until one day the infant becomes ill. June, with a surprising helping hand from Serena, manages to get Naomi’s permission for Janine to see Charlotte – and after spending the night holding her and singing to her, the baby’s dire condition becomes much improved.
Ever Carradine actually comes from a long line of performers – as her father, Robert, is an actor, and so is her late grandfather, John Carradine. Her uncles are Keith Carradine (Dexter) and David Carradine (Kill Bill), also renowned actors. Ever had roles on shows such as the family dramas Party of Five and Once and Again, the comedy Veronica’s Closet, dramas like Commander in Chief and 24, and the Showtime dramedy Shameless. She’s also taken part in films like comedy Lucky 13, Guns for Hire, and the drama film Constellation.
Lillie is the second Ofglen, after Emily gets reassigned. She used to struggle with substance abuse, so she is glad to be safe now. But when the Handmaids are asked to stone Janine for endangering her child, she is one of the first to break rank and refuse. It’s later revealed that she had her tongue removed for this act, and at the opening of the new Rachel and Leah Center, she decides to act. She steps forward and detonates a bomb, causing her own death along with many Commanders.
Tattiawna Jones started out with several guest roles on TV shows like the action series Rookie Blue and the family drama Heartland. She later moved on to starring roles as a series regular in the crime dramas Flashpoint and 19-2, as well as the western Strange Empire and the mystery series Eyewitness. In 2017, she was cast as Ofglen #2 (Lillie Fuller) on The Handmaid’s Tale, and following her departure from the series she appeared on the Freeform drama series, The Bold Type.
Mrs. O’Conner used to be a high ranking wife, but she was banned and sent to the colonies, after having an affair with another man. As to be expected, she isn’t received with a warm welcome by the Handmaids at the colony. Emily, who’s at the colonies at the time, treats her seemingly better than the others, offering her advice and even giving her some antibiotics. Only, as it turns out, they aren’t antibiotics at all – as she discovers Emily has poisoned her.
Maria Tomei is one of the most famous actresses today, who began her way in the soap opera As the World Turns. She rose to fame in 1992 with a role in the comedy My Cousin Vinny, for which she won an Academy Award. Since then, she’s been in films like the comedies What Women Want and Anger Management, The Big Short, and drama The Wrestler – to only name a few. The actress was also cast to play Aunt May in the new Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man films.
Janine is another Handmaid (formerly known as Ofwarren) who used to be a waitress in her previous life. She’s resistant at first, and for that she suffers a gruesome punishment, losing one of her eyes. Janine suffers through a mental breakdown, and tries to jump off a bridge along with her newborn daughter whom she kidnapped after she was taken away from her, but eventually she stabilizes. After being taken to the Colonies – a place in which no one ever comes back from – she believes God is looking after her because she is eventually brought back.
Madeline Brewer is one of the most promising up and coming actresses on TV in the past few years. Aside from her winning performance as Janine on The Handmaid’s Tale, the actress appeared in several other major shows. She played Tricia Miller on Netflix’s hit show Orange Is the New Black, as well as Miranda on thriller show Hemlock Grove, and even appeared in an episode of the highly popular anthology Black Mirror, Men Against Fire. You can also watch Madeline in drama films such as Flesh and Blood and Hedgehog.
Rita is the Martha who serves Commander Waterford and his wife Serena. She’s one of two Marthas of the house, and she’s mainly in charge of cooking for the household. While she does her best to steer clear of any trouble, and mostly keeps her head down, she does care about June and tries to help her. She also promises her to take care of her soon-to-be-born child. Rita herself had a son, but she lost him in the war, as she tells Serena.
The Canadian actress played parts on TV shows like the drama Paradise Falls, action shows Covert Affairs and Orphan Black, and the Canadian comedy Seed – before she was cast as Rita on The Handmaid’s Tale. She also had small parts in famous films such as the DC Comics action flick Suicide Squad, the award-winning drama Room, and David Cronenberg’s dramedy Maps to the Stars. Amanda is also an activist, as she started a non-profit organization called Brugs Army in 2013, which goal is to improve women and children’s lives everywhere.
Eden is a young wife who’s matched together with Nick. The two marry in a large ceremony where many other couples are wed without having ever met before. She tries to be a good wife and abide by the scripture, and believes her goal is to bear a son. But Nick, who’s in love with June, isn’t really interested. When she falls in love with another Guardian, the two are sentenced to have their lives ended by drowning.
20-year-old Sydney Sweeney isn’t only an actress, but also studies entrepreneurship, in hopes of having her own business someday. Other than her recurring role on The Handmaid’s Tale, she’s mostly known for her roles as Haley on drama In The Vault and Emaline on the Netflix show Everything Sucks!. You can see the young actress nowadays starring alongside Amy Adams on the HBO mini-series Sharp Objects – based on the novel by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.
Offred is the strong protagonist, who got us hooked from episode one. So what will happen in the next season? Finding the real meaning of freedom is a large part of June’s story according to Elizabeth Moss. “Maybe you have to find it in unexpected ways. What is the resistance? Perhaps it’s not what you thought it would be. Sometimes, rather than run away from something, you have to change it from the inside.
Before her role as Offred, Elizabeth Moss also starred in Mad Men. The role of Offred earned Moss several awards following season one, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The talented actress was also a producer on season one of The Handmaid’s Tale, and for season two she was bumped up to executive producer, due to her heavy involvement in the production of the successful show.