Despite her acclaimed performance as Taystee on Orange Is The New Black, Tony Award-nominated actress Danielle Brooks revealed that she made less than the child actors on Stranger Things in her final season.

“When you come to find out the Stranger Things kids are making more than you are in your final season, that’s heartbreaking,” Brooks said in an interview with CNBC Make It. The young actors of Stranger Things made upwards of $200,000 for each episode in their latest season.

“A part of me feels like it’s a little bit my fault because I should have fought more, I should have put my foot down,” she continued. Brooks revealed that when she began portraying her fan-favorite role on Orange Is The New Black, she was earning a day rate in the first season as she wasn’t a series regular. The actress says she was saddled with student debt.

“It wasn’t until the end of season two, I had saved up my money to pay off that loan,” she says. “I remember the excitement that I felt to call my business manager at the time…I was like, oh now I can move on to my next goal.”

In an interview last year with The Hollywood ReporterBrooks said, “At the time [during the first season], I wasn’t a series regular so they were not telling me anything! I had done 10 episodes and made the most money I had ever made. We got a bump in the middle of shooting season one. I first started making minimum, which is a little less than $1,000 an episode, and I was making $5,000 an episode that first season. At the time, that was everything to me.”

Brooks, who also recently starred in Chinonye Chukwu’s Sundance Award-winning film Clemency, says she eventually earned enough to buy a home in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. She gave birth to her first child, Freeya Carel Gellin, in November 2019.


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