The Stunning Transformation Of Laura Prepon

Actress Laura Prepon had two massive career milestones at similarly formative moments in her life. The first saw her appearing as Donna on "That '70s Show," a role the young Prepon began playing at the age of just 18, (via IMDb). The show aired from 1998 to 2006. 

She was then introduced to a whole new generation of fans as Alex, one of the resident bad-ass ladies locked up on Netflix's "Orange is the New Black." The prison-based drama ran from 2013 to 2019, representing another chunk of time in Prepon's life and career. 

Over the years, the actress appeared in a wide variety of different projects, from movies – including "The Kitchen" and "The Girl on the Train" – to several other TV shows such as "October Road," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Are You There, Chelsea?" In her personal life, Prepon continues to be a vocal proponent of Scientology while she married fellow actor Ben Foster in 2018. The couple shares two adorable children, (via People). The star has certainly made her mark on Hollywood, and has more great projects in the future, but she didn't start out as the bombshell we know today. 

Laura credits her career to a higher power

Laura Prepon's success in Hollywood isn't just down to luck or her own tenacity. The "That '70s Show" breakout credits her faith with helping hone her craft over the years. Speaking to Scientology's Celebrity Magazine, via Gawker, Prepon explained, "I feel a lot of the auditing that I've had helps me to be willing to go there and be free and vulnerable and really jump into these scenes wholeheartedly." She added, "I have more to go, and can't wait for what's to come." 

The "Orange is the New Black" star admitted she used to find it difficult to tap into deeper emotions but, thanks to auditing, a technique used by Scientologists, she can freely go wherever she needs to, explaining, "My emotions [are] so much more tangible and easy to access."

Behind the scenes, Prepon finds it much easier to relax and not take things too personally as well. While directing "Neighbros," which the actress co-created (via IMDb), she suddenly lost important shooting locations. In retrospect, she responded with, "The fact that I had no irrational counter-emotion or reaction and just went into solution mode, I feel, is definitely a testament to my auditing."

Laura got some great career advice...from herself

Entertainment Tonight first interviewed Laura Prepon at the tender age of 18, back in 1998, when she was right on the cusp of her "That '70s Show" fame. Returning to that chat almost two decades later, the actress discovered some great advice from her younger self. When asked how she planned to survive the entertainment industry, Prepon responded simply, "Just do not give up." 

Looking back, she acknowledged, "Younger me had some good advice, because it really is, like, you can't give up." Aside from her acting career, Prepon published a cookbook in collaboration with nutritionist Elizabeth Troy entitled "The Stash Plan: Your 21-Day Guide to Shed Weight, Feel Great, and Take Charge of Your Health" in 2016. 

The actress explained in an interview with Parade that her inspiration, again, came from her younger self. Although the actress was at the top of her game in her twenties, she struggled with "indigestion and inflammation" as well as weight gain. On her inspiration for "The Stash Plan," Prepon noted, "I always hoped to do a book about food and nutrition but also wanted it to be meaningful. And when I met Elizabeth and learned her viewpoint on nutrition and began feeling better, I wanted to share it." 

The young actress embodied Donna Pinciotti

"That '70s Show" was  moment for Laura Prepon, marking the teen actress out as a major talent alongside the soon-to-be huge likes of Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, and Ashton Kutcher. During an appearance on PeopleTV's "Couch Surfing," the actress reminisced about asking co-creators Bonnie and Terry why they'd chosen her for the role of Donna. Prepon revealed, (via EW), "They said, 'First of all, when you came in, you just were Donna. You were Donna Pinciotti; you were perfect for her.'"

She continued, "At the end of the audition, I looked at them and I said, 'We good?' And I put my hands on the table and I pushed off like a total tomboy. It was just how I got up from my table. They said that sealed the deal." The show ran for eight successful seasons and, as an adult, Prepon couldn't believe how young the cast looked even when they were in their twenties. "We look like little babies," she quipped, adding, "It's so funny how when you are 20 you feel like you know everything."

That '70s Show prepared her for the end of OITNB

Being a part of one massively popular TV show is good enough but Laura Prepon had the great fortune to star in two. As it turned out, although there were several years between them and she was a completely different person by the time "Orange is the New Black" rolled around, as the actress told Collider, her experience on "That '70s Show" actually informed "OITNB." 

As Prepon explained, "I was prepared, and I knew what to expect. I knew about the grief, and for lack of a better word, the postpartum experience that happens, after a long-running show ends, so I was very prepared for what was to come." 

Rather than being completely devastated when "OITNB" wrapped up after seven seasons, Prepon accepted it was time and, as the last episode quickly approached, she felt grateful that her previous job prepared her to take everything in stride. At the same time, it was an emotional moment, with the actress admitting, "there was still a lot of tears." Still, as she explained to THR, "This show has been one of the most special experiences I've ever had in my career. ...I'll take all of it with me and it will inform the next project I do, but I don't take it for granted."

Laura reckoned with her past in a major way

In 2020, Laura Prepon released a second, far more personal book, entitled "You & I, as Mothers" in which the actress discusses motherhood from her own perspective and also contends with how she was raised by a mother who, among other things, encouraged dangerous dieting methods. As the "OITNB" star explained to People, "I don't understand how my mother taught me these things, but I try to find understanding."

The actress elaborated, "When I'm with her, I try to think about the good things she taught me. To follow my dreams. To speak up for myself. How when I wanted to act, we opened up the Yellow Pages and I pointed to a teacher and she took me to acting class. I wouldn't be here without her."

Although Prepon acknowledged her mother was somewhat dysfunctional, likely because of how she was raised herself, the "That '70s Show" star acknowledged, "Ultimately, I feel empowered having gone through it. I don't place blame." Writing about her experience helped Prepon work through a lot of those issues, and she hopes reading it helps other women to feel more secure in themselves. She noted, "I hope they feel heard, that they laugh and cry and maybe feel less alone."