The Surprising Reason Danielle Brooks Almost Turned Down Her Orange Is the New Black Role

Danielle Brooks said she's "so glad" she accepted the role because the Netflix series has changed her life

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017
Photo: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

Taystee is one of the most beloved Orange Is the New Black characters — but as it turns out, she almost wasn’t played by Danielle Brooks.

During a red carpet interview with E!’s Brad Goreski at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday, Brooks, 27, revealed why she almost turned down the role of Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on the hit Netflix series.

According to Brooks, she was initially hesitant because her very first scene required her to be topless — and she wasn’t sure if that’s how she wanted to make her small screen debut.

“I was really nervous because I knew that this would be the first time people would be introduced to me,” she said. “Is this the direction I want to go?”

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Of course, she ended up accepting the role and has since become an adored staple of the show, which premiered in 2013 and is nominated for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.

“I’m so glad I didn’t turn it down,” she said. “Because it has changed my life!”

The series has a huge fanbase, and Brooks thinks it’s because so many people can relate to the “strong female roles.”

“Regardless of if you’re a male, female, gay, straight, whatever religion you are, whatever color you are, you can relate to someone in that story,” she said. “It’s so truthful. I’m glad that I’m a part of it, telling the story with all these girls which you’ll see today. They’re all here — we rolling deep!”

Even more good news for all the diehard OITNB fans out there? Brooks just so happened to spill an incredible detail about the upcoming season 5, which will premiere sometime this summer on Netflix.

“Season 5 is done over the course of three days,” she said. “You will watch 13 episodes and find out what happens in the course of three days. So it will be very detailed, very intense and you better get ready — get your popcorn, your tissues, everything.”

RELATED VIDEO: OITNB’s Dascha Polanco Reveals Why Rihanna Is One Of Her Red Carpet Inspirations

The star also took dished on her stunning look: white Christian Siriano pants with an embroidered shirt, complete with a dramatic train and accessorized with Gabriel & Co. jewelry.

“I cannot tell you [how good it feels to be wearing pants],” said Brooks. “It is so hot out here for the SAG Awards — like, you need something to kind of … soak up everything. I feel great!”

And Brooks had one special fan tuning in for her interview: Laverne Cox, who took to Twitter to send a special shoutout to her friend and costar.

“I know there are horrible things happening in the world but the light from @thedanieb at the #sagawards #redcarpet right now gives me hope,” she gushed.

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are airing live from Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS.

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