‘Orange Is the New Black’ Star Danielle Brooks Talks Taystee’s ‘Mental Breakdowns’ (Video)

“Most of all you see her fighting,” actress tells TheWrap of her character in Season 5 of Netflix hit

Last Updated: June 15, 2017 @ 10:25 AM

The women at Litchfield Penitentiary in “Orange Is the New Black” have had their fair share of dealing with authority, especially Danielle Brooks’ Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson. Brooks told TheWrap that one of the most challenging parts of filming this season was dealing with that.

“It’s been really challenging because Taystee has been going at it with the people in charge,” she said. “She’s been going at it with Fig, she’s been going at it with Caputo, and she wins. She comes out on top — but then she doesn’t.”

Taystee, who at the end of Season 4 had just landed a job as Director of Human Activities Joe Caputo’s (Nick Sandow) secretary, has dealt with several losses in her life, from her parents to her dear friend and fellow inmate Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley).

Brooks also discussed the challenge of filming an entire season that takes place over the course of only three days — Season 5 takes place in the aftermath of Poussey’s death. “It’s been really challenging as an actor to take on all of what’s going on in this character’s mind in the course of three days, being that she just lost Poussey.”

She went on: “This is a young woman who has already lost all of these people — her parents, Vee, Poussey, RJ, all of the people — and so she’s already gone through [previously]… all of the stages of grief. So you see her trying to fight the anger, you see her fighting the anger, you see her just having mental breakdowns, you see her trying to ignore what happened. But most of all you see her fighting.”

The 27-year-old actress said that her character’s circumstances reflect real life. “Us as a country, I start to feel that we are imprisoned. That’s why I feel there is an importance in art and what we do and the stories that we tell,” she said. “I really feel that ‘Orange’ has made a group of women that are now activists, that really understand what it means to put your voice out there.”

Season 5 of “Orange Is the New Black” is now streaming on Netflix.