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An Interview with Danielle Brooks (“Taystee” from OITNB)

Why Orange Is the New Black’s Taystee Is So Great

Vulture interviews Danielle Brooks, "Taystee" from Orange is the New Black. 

Vulture ran into Brooks last night at the premiere of Paul Haggis’s Third Person — hosted by the Cinema Society and Revlon at the Jimmy at the James Hotel — and we chatted with the actress about the triangle between Vee, Poussey, and baby Taystee. We learn a lot about Taystee ’s character in this season.

Where did that backstory come from?

The only thing that [showrunner Jenji Kohan] told me beforehand is "Get ready, you have a lot to do in season two." I didn’t get the scripts in advance. So it wasn’t much prep for it.

How would you describe Taystee’s relationship with Vee?

It’s a tricky relationship because Vee has given her something that no one else has ever offered her, and that’s a family. That means a lot to Taystee, and so she’s conflicted because she’s raised her, but at the same time, Taystee has a good head on her shoulders and she’s trying to use discernment. When Vee comes to prison, Taystee can no longer go off what she already knew — she can’t use humor and she can’t use the joking-ness to get through her stuff. She’s forced to deal with it. I think it is such a weird dynamic, because Vee ultimately had a lot of control and power over Taystee. I think prison has kind of helped Taystee take a second away from Vee, and really try to discover who she is and what it means to be loyal and trustworthy. It’s crazy, the dynamic with Poussey, and who to be loyal to. Because Vee has given Taystee something no one has ever given her until Poussey comes along

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