Born and raised in New Jersey, Maria Dizzia attended Cornell University, and then went to the University of California, San Diego to get her MFA. She moved to New York City in 2001 and dove into the theater world. She appeared in a number of theater productions, honing her craft and becoming known as an actor with a talent for making her characters seem real and down to earth, especially in plays that examine the dynamics or couples relationships. Her first screen performance was in a 2006 episode of "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-2011). She continued to work in New York theater while increasing her presence in supporting roles onscreen, including a recurring guest role on "Smith" (CBS, 2006) and parts in "Rachel Getting Married" (2008) and "The Other Woman" (2009), starring Natalie Portman. Dizzia's career took an upturn in 2010 when she was nominated for a Tony Award for Featured Actress in the Lincoln Center production of In the Next Room. In 2011 she appeared in a recurring guest role on "Louie" (FX, 2010-15) and in two highly regarded independent features, "Martha Marcy May Marlene" (2011), and "Margin Call" (2011). In 2013 Dizzia launched her most recognizable role to that time, as a recurring regular on "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix, 2013-), playing the best friend of imprisoned socialite Piper. While appearing on the series, she maintained her film career with roles in Noah Baumbach's "While We're Young" (2014) and the transgender teen drama "About Ray" (2015).