By Monica M.
Photo Credit to Chad Griffin/Netflix.
In Season 2 of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ we were introduced to a new character that didn’t seem to make the cut as the most loved, nor most popular character overall to the fans. Vee Parker found herself back at Litchfield with some of the women from her past, notably Ms. Taystee Jefferson (portrayed by Danielle Brooks) who we learned very little about in Season 1. When Taystee made her return to Litchfield after a brief release from the women’s prison it was safe to assume that in the seasons to follow we would learn more about what landed her there.
We recently interviewed Danielle Brooks where she opened up about how her character, her thoughts on the villainous Vee, and her outlook on Season 3 of ‘Orange Is The New Black’.
OITNB: Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black has gotten rave reviews and the fans love it. How does that make you feel, seeing that your character played a major role this season?
Danielle Brooks: It was so thrilling. I really didn’t realize how big a role Taystee played in Litchfield. She really became a central character this year. It’s so thrilling anytime writers feel compelled to write more for your character and people relate to your character as well.
What was your favorite scene to film in Season 2? What made it so memorable?
I really enjoyed shooting Taystee’s flashback stuff this Season 2. I was dying for more information, and I really appreciated the many layers and challenges the writer’s presented me with. Taystee dealing with Vee in prison was a whirlwind for her. She didn’t know who to trust, who to be loyal to, or even how to function. Finding the many facet’s of her was my favorite part.
What was it like acting along side Lorraine Toussaint? What are your thoughts on her character, Vee?
Lorraine Toussaint is a genius. What she brought to Vee no one else could’ve done. Working with her was such a gift. I felt like my acting grew because of her, because she brings such a deep level of truth to her work, that you can’t do anything but the same. Vee is/ was/ is just a manipulator. She does whatever it takes to get what she wants, even if that means sacrificing what she truly loves.
Please describe a typical day for you on set…
Typical day on set for me waking up getting breakfast, going to hair and makeup, staying there extra long because were all catching up on what we did for the weekend. Get dressed, roam the hallway and probably stroll into one of my castmate’s room. Chat it up until they call us to work. When we have breaks we sing, dance, talk about our weeks. I go and grab some trail mix to keep me awake. Shoot more. Director calls That’s a Wrap. Sign out. All the girls talk about going to get a drink or dinner. We hang out and go home, and get ready to do it all over again.
If you could play any other character on the show who would it be?
There are so many amazing characters on the show, so that’s a really hard question. I really enjoy playing Taystee.
What are you looking forward to the most in Season 3?
It so much fun to find out more about your character. You know with a play you have a beginning, middle and end. Once you reached the end of that play, your character’s story is over. With TV your character continues to grow and develop. More life is breathed into Taystee every time I get a script. That is what I look forward, finding out more about all of these characters.
How would you describe your relationship with your co-stars?
I love the cast and crew so much. They are like my family. My orange family. We get along and work so well together. We hold so much respect for one another and are so impressed by how everyone is handling all of the success. To much is given, much is required, so we work hard. But we all support each other and hold each other up when one might feel overwhelmed. I really love these girls and guys so much.
What do you like to do outside of acting?
I love the arts, going to a Broadway show, the movies, or listening to live Jazz Music. I love listening to Christine McBride, John Coltrane, Cecil McClorin Salvant. I love going to the jazz spots, like Fat Cats or Dizzy’s Jazz Club. I enjoying exercising in Central Park during the summer time. I enjoy cleaning my apartment. It clears my mind.
If you could give advice to anyone trying to break into the industry what would it be?
Education is key. Educate yourself on the business. If that means going to school, taking acting classes, reading books on how to get an agent or manager do it. Make sure your focus isn’t about being famous, because that stuff comes and goes, but really make sure you stay focused on the type of work you want to do. The arts really do help shift our society, so what will your part be?
What would you say to the fans who are eagerly waiting for season 3 of Orange is the New Black?
It’s gonna be super amazing so be patient and keep re-watching Season 1 and 2. Love you guys.
We named 2 things and Danielle had to pick one one over the other.
Twitter or Instagram
Piper or Alex
NYC or LA
Summer or Winter
Flats or Heels
‘Bitches Gots To Learn’ or ‘I Threw My Pie For You’
Bitches Got to Learn