Chris Grosso – Ep. 13 – Jessica Pimentel

Jessica Pimentel may be most well known for her role as Maria Ruiz on the Netflix hit series, Orange Is The New Black, but she’s also an amazing musician who sings for Alekhine’s Gun (amongst other musical projects) and a longtime practitioner in the Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhist lineage.

Episode Outline:

  • Finding Your Way – Jessica outlines her early spiritual journey, which consisted of Christianity and bible study, Native American culture, Jainism, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism and ultimately, Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Hardcore Music – There’s an ever growing number of old school punk/hardcore “kids” that are finding their way into spirituality these days. Books such as Noah Levine’s Dharma Punx, Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen and my own Indie Spiritualist speak to this. Jessica talks about what first attracted her to this music and going to the bands shows, as well as what’s kept her there since.
  • Hardcore Spirituality – Jessica and I discuss the correlation between the punk/hardcore movement that has led so many of its fans to exploring Buddhism and spirituality in general.
  • Alekhine’s Gun – Jessica talks about the band Alekhine’s Gun, which she sings for as well as her other musical endeavors.
  • Orange Is The New Black – Having been recorded early 2014, Jessica talks a bit about the hit show, it’s unexpected success, her favorite characters and the upcoming 2nd season (which has since aired).
  • Service Work – Jessica talks about the opportunity Orange Is The New Black has given her to be of greater service to charities she supports including, The Women’s Prison Association, Ari Khensur Food Fund, Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls, the Tsem Rinpoche Foundation and more


Jessica doesn’t have a website but would love for you to check out and support the following if you’re able to:

Women’s Prison Association

Ari Khensur Food Fund

Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls

H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche


Books: Dharma Punx by Noah Levine, Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner, Indie Spiritualist by Chris Grosso, American Hardcore by Stephen Blush

Music: Alekhine’s Gun – …And Kings Will FallCandiria – Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Sick Of It All – Just Look Around, Burn – S/T

T.V./Movies: Orange Is The New Black, Off Jackson Avenue, American Hardcore, 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama