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Success right out of college came as a shock to Danielle Brooks. “I thought this ain’t going to happen until I’m 40, 45. I thought I was going to have this Samuel L Jackson story,” the “Orange Is the New Black” star told Variety‘s TV Take podcast.
Brooks landed the role Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson in “Orange is the New Black” in 2013, two years after graduating from Julliard. Initially, the actress had her reservations about the role. She didn’t want to play a “stereotype.” When first reading the script she saw a character she described as a “black woman in prison and she’s sassy.”
Depth - Character - Character - Woman - Things
But as she read more, she saw the depth in the character. “You’re reading and what they’re asking of this character and bringing out of this woman were things I’ve never seen before,” she said. She didn’t want to be that “one person of color” or “just that sassy black woman.”
Brooks had to adjust to overnight fame. “Literally when that show dropped, 13 hours later I had become famous,” she said. She quipped, “I feel for those ‘Stranger Things’ kids.”
Community - Experience - Disappointment - Orange - New
On set she formed a tight-knit community. She recalled an experience coming to set and expressing disappointment to an “Orange is the New Black” script supervisor in a music video she had just shot for her song “Black Woman.” Immediately, the script supervisor rallied crew members to help Brooks out with a reshoot. She said, “They [lent] me their services for free...
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