How Danielle Brooks Overcame Her Insecurities and Stayed True to Herself
Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

Orange Is The New Black star Danielle Brooks never thought she’d be at this level so soon.

“I really didn’t think my career was gonna pop off until I was 40, but here I am,” the actress said during Tuesday’s AOL Build interview.

The reason? Insecurity. And, now she wants to inspire other women to push through their struggles. 

The actress, who’s also appeared on Girls and Master of None, revealed that she overcame her insecurities by deciding to stay true to herself and creating a career that doesn’t conform to other people’s ideas.

Danielle Brooks Wows in new Christian Siriano Collection for Lane Bryant

“I feel like that’s what I’ve tried to do in my career is not bend those things. And even in a situation where I talk about being topless, I still decided to do the role [talking about Girls], but when I came in to do it, I made sure anytime that I have to get naked or have to have a sex scene I want there to be purpose behind it. I don’t just want to be showing my body for the sake of showing my body.”

Loading the player...

Brooks’ role as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on OITNB played a big part in helping her be comfortable with herself and guided her when it came to pursuing other roles.

Orange showed me that I can be myself. I literally had no makeup on. I had my natural hair in plaits and a Mumu and I booked this job. And then I booked Girls, and then I booked Master of None by being myself.”

Now, the actress want to do the same for other women.

“I hope that my platform really does show young girls that they can do it being their selves, whether you do have very Christian values or not, whether you are plus-size or not, dark skin, whatever that is, I just want people to know that you can be yourself and make it into this business.”

Season 4 of OITNB premiers June 17th on Netflix.  

WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.