Danielle on how she came to play the awesome Taystee on Orange is the New Black.

Danielle Brooks is only 26 and she’s already the star of hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black. Could life be any sweeter?

The Julliard grad got the role nearly straight out of school and has quickly become a fan favorite as Taystee. The actress spoke with Elle about her road to OITNB and how her life has changed since.

“I’ve gotten rejected a lot. I’ve always said that actor years is like dog years, it feels like forever when you’re not working.  For me, I graduated around May 2011 and I booked Orange in September of 2012, so that’s a little over a year. A year of not having work! And I was auditioning a lot.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 11.03.24 AM
Credit: Instagram

And just when she was resigned that she would have to play the “token black girl” to get a role, OITNB came along.

“It wasn’t until getting Orange where I really saw, no, you don’t have to be that token black girl, that more than five not just Black women but other women of color can be series regulars. At the time, a lot of these networks and a lot of these theaters weren’t seeing it that way, so it made me feel like there wasn’t a place for me.”

Since landing the gig, she’s gone on to star on Broadway in The Color Purple. She’s also become a role model for body positivity.

“As women, there is so much pressure and so much that we are told are not beautiful–stretch marks, cellulite, rolls–and I just want to show people that I love myself.”

For more articles on the awesome cast of Orange is the New Black, click here.

Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Categories: TV