Actress Danielle Brooks has made sure to keep busy since stealing the hearts of million from her breakout role as Tasty on ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon as she recently launched her own clothing collection with plus-size inclusive brand Universal Standard.
Brooks admits that despite her success in Hollywood, she has been discriminated by fashion designers for her curvy figure.
In a recent interview with Vogue, Brooks said, “I haven’t been given an opportunity to wear these big-name designers, it has never been an option whether I had a stylist or didn’t. A lot of people won’t design for me, no matter how many SAG awards, Tony nominations, Grammy wins; it doesn’t matter.”
While certain fashion designers may not recognize Brooks’ worth, Brooks admits that there are some designers like Christian Siriano, who designed her dress for her first SAG Awards, who are making a real effort to be inclusive. Brooks also reveals that she decided to partner with Universal Standard so she could design pieces she’s always dreamed of wearing.
“I remember my first SAG Awards I wore this dark blue dress by Christian Siriano and a girl recreated that entire look for her prom,” she says. “I thought, ‘Yes! It matters.’ I want women in huge numbers to feel motivated and feel like they are beautiful, but even if it’s just one [person], then my job is done.”
In the meantime, Brooks hopes that fashion designers will make it their mission to design for women of all shapes and sizes. “I think they’re trying, but they can go harder and we should not be easy on them,” says Brooks. “I don’t think we should pat anybody on the back for [doing] something they should’ve done 30 years ago.”
Brooks points out how necessary it is for designers to expand their sizing — not just for her, but for the younger girls looking for fashion role models.
And Brooks is thrilled that, through her campaigns for Lane Bryant, she has been able to be that role model, up on billboards in Times Square and hopes that it ignites a change in the industry that is truly needed.