Danielle Brooks Found It ‘Heartbreaking’ She Made Less Than ‘Stranger Things’ Kids

Danielle Brooks at the Netflix FYSEE Kick-Off Event at Raleigh Studios on May 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA — Photo by Jean_Nelson

Danielle Brooks said she regrets not asking for more money when she had a lead role on Netflix prison series Orange Is the New Black.

Brooks played Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on the hit dramedy from 2013-2019. She’s also had roles in Master of None and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Sofia in The Color Purple.

During a recent interview with CNBC, the 30-year-old actress said one of her biggest money mistakes was not standing up for herself during salary negotiations.

“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. “A part of me feels like it’s a little bit of my fault because I should have fought more, I should have put my foot down.”

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Danielle Brooks on Orange Is the New Black (Credit: Netflix)
Danielle Brooks on “Orange Is the New Black” (Credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things, another Netflix series, centers on a group of teens who witness supernatural forces and secret government exploits. CNBC noted that the child stars of Stranger Things earned $200,000 an episode during their third season, after the series premiered in 2016.

Brooks didn’t say how much she earned on OITNB, but in a 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said she started out making union scale and got a pay raise during the first season to $5,000 per episode.

“I had done 10 episodes and made the most money I had ever made,” Brooks said. “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.”

While she thought that was a lot of money back then, she now realizes she could have done much better.