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Danielle Brooks, Actress, Orange is the New Black

Danielle Brooks
Danielle Brooks

“On Orange is the New Black, I have hardly any makeup on. It’s very minimal, which was hard to get used to at first. I was like, ‘ Please, I just want my eyebrows arched! Please!’ But they weren’t having it. As an actor, it’s great because I want to stay true to the script and my character [Taystee Jefferson], and the reality that we are trying to create. But as Danielle… [Laughs] You know, I wish I could be all made up. But honestly I enjoy staying true to Taystee—they want to stay authentic to the story, and I totally understand that. So on the show, I wear very little makeup: very light cover-up, a tiny bit of mascara, Chapstick, and that’s about it. But my hair, that’s more of a collaboration, which is great. I get to have a little say in that department.

Lately I’ve been taking more risks with my look—when I have a makeup artist, I take risks. [Laughs] But I can’t take risks on my own; I play it pretty safe on my own. In terms of makeup, I’ve been rocking mostly MAC and Make Up For Ever. Make Up For Ever has great foundation for dark skin that won’t leave your face oily, and MAC has amazing eye shadows and blush…. I used to do events for MAC, actually. They would have events in different cities, and I used to sing in the stores—cheesy songs, to get people to come into the store. I didn’t get any free products, though.

My big thing is going to a dermatologist. I have a whole regimen and routine—I have to use a toner, I have to wash my face every morning. I think it’s very important to take care of your skin and my way of doing it is seeing a dermatologist. Get rid of that nastiness in your pores. Clear up your face! While filming the first season [of the show], I was having problems with my skin—it was really hard to maintain healthy skin. But I started going to Dr. Ryan Turner in New York, and he’s amazing. He told me exactly what to do every morning and every night to keep it healthy. I was lost before.”

—as told to ITG

Danielle Brooks photographed by Emily Weiss at the Fashion Media Awards in New York on September 6, 2013.