Danielle Brooks

Danielle Brooks Headshot

Actress

Birth Date: September 17, 1989

Age: 34 years old

Birth Place: Augusta, Georgia

Danielle Brooks landed a role most acting graduates only dream of when she took on the part of Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson in the hit series "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix 2013-) just two years after graduating from Juilliard. Taystee was a bubbly, foul-mouthed inmate at a women's correctional facility who quickly became the show's breakout character.

Brooks was born on September 17, 1989 in Greenville, South Carolina. As the daughter of a minister and a deacon, she discovered her love of music and drama in the church, which helped to shape her future ambitions and moral center. She started acting in church plays at the age of six and was inspired to try out for Juilliard School after seeing a powerful performance of "The Color Purple" on Broadway. To her surprise, she nailed the audition and graduated from the prestigious drama school in 2011.

After graduating, she found herself juggling two roles: one in the Shakespeare Theater Company production of "The Servant of Two Masters" (2012) and the other in "Blacken the Bubble" (2012). While her stage work suited her formal training at school, she ended up having to leave both productions for the opportunity to appear on the Netflix dramedy.

Initially slated to only appear in a few episodes, her interpretation of the character impressed the show's creator, Jenji Kohan (previously responsible for creating the series "Weeds" (Showtime 2005-2012)) and was announced as a series regular. Based on Piper Kerman's memoir about her time spent in prison for money laundering and the subsequent relationships she forged with her fellow inmates, "Orange Is The New Black" struck a chord with audiences and critics alike.

Brooks prepared for the role by studying Kerman's book and watching countless hours of the show "Beyond Scared Straight" (A&E 2011-). The show also reunited her with her friend of six years and fellow Julliard alum Samira Wiley, who played Taystee's enemy turned soulmate Poussey. Bringing a vivacious energy to the role, Brooks described her character as the light inside the prison.

Brooks also became the first African-American female character on the show "Girls" (HBO 2012-17), making a guest star appearance in the show's third season. Brooks also appeared in an episode of Aziz Ansari's sitcom "Master of None" (Netflix 2015- ) and took on a voice role in the animated hit "The Angry Birds Movie" (2016) while continuing her work on "Orange is the New Black."

Credits

The 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Self
Show
2024

The Color PurpleStream

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Sofia
Movie
2023
81%

The Jennifer Hudson ShowStream

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Talk
2022

Instant Dream HomeStream

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Reality
2022

PeacemakerStream

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Leota Adebayo
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2022
94%

Peacemaker FREE

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Leota Adebayo
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2022

Karma's WorldStream

Voice
Dr. Lillie Carter-Grant
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2021

CBS Mornings

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News
2021

MahaliaStream

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Mahalia Jackson
Movie
2021

Eat Wheaties!Stream

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Wendy
Movie
2021
69%

Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine

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2020

Social DistanceStream

Actor
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2020
58%

Get Organized With The Home EditStream

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Reality
2020

Close EnoughStream

Voice
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2020

GMA3: What You Need to Know

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2020

Floored

Judge
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2020

A Little Bit Pregnant

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2019

Tamron HallStream

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2019

Today With Hoda & Jenna

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2019

ClemencyStream

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Evette
Movie
2019
92%

The Day Shall Come

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Venus
Movie
2019

All the Little Things We Kill

Actor
Claire Soto
Movie
2019

Today 3rd Hour

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2018

Sadie

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Carla
Movie
2018

Drop the MicStream

Contestant
Reality
2017

STEVE on Watch

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2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

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Talk
2017

Tangled: The Series

Actor
Danielle Brooks
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2017

Tangled: The Series

Guest Voice
Ruthless Ruth
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2017

Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image

Actor
Movie
2017

High MaintenanceStream

Guest Star
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2016
98%

Harry

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2016

Elena of AvalorStream

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Charica
Series
2016

The 70th Annual Tony Awards

Music Performer
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2016

The Angry Birds Movie

Voice
Olive Blue, Monica the Crossing Guard
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2016

The Daily Show with Trevor NoahStream

Guest
Talk
2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

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Talk
2015

Lip Sync BattleStream

Contestant
Reality
2015

I Dream Too Much

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Abbey
Movie
2015

Last Week Tonight With John OliverStream

Guest Star
Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson
Talk
2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
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2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

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2014

Time Out of Mind

Actor
Receptionist
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2014

Orange Is the New BlackStream

Actor
Taystee
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2013
90%

Orange Is the New BlackStream

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Taystee
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2013
90%

GirlsStream

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Laura
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2012
89%

Finding Your RootsStream

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2012

Project Runway All Stars

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2012

The Chew

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2011

Dish Nation

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2011

ConanStream

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2010

The Talk

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2010

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

Guest
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2009

The Wendy Williams Show

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2008

Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange

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2008

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
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2003

106 & Park: BET's Top 10 Live

Actor
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2000

106 & Park: BET's Top 10 Live

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2000

The View

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1997

Theater Talk

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1996

Access HollywoodStream

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News
1996

Good Morning America

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News
1975

Great PerformancesStream

Actor
Franchise
1972

Today

Guest
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1952

News aboutDanielle Brooks

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