How Danielle Brooks Got Ready for ELLE Women in Hollywood 2023


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When it came to dressing for ELLE’s Women in Hollywood celebration, 2023 honoree Danielle Brooks aimed for the unexpected. She wanted “to do something different and shake up the carpet,” the actress and singer tells “What better way to do it than with a denim gown by Moschino?”

Indeed, Brooks stood out in a longsleeve denim wrap dress with a tiered high-low skirt, accentuated with draped gold chains, matching sandals, and beaded jewelry. For a pop of color, she toted a red polka dot Nappa leather biker bag from Moschino’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection. She was styled by Jennifer Austin, while Tish Celestine worked her hair into a sleek low pony, and Rebekah Aladdin took charge of makeup.

For Brooks, the event in Los Angeles included reuniting with her co-stars on The Color Purple, getting an introduction from Oprah Winfrey, giving her own inspirational speech, and posing for photos with J.Lo. But her personal favorite part? “Getting to share these moments with my mother, father, and brother who flew in from South Carolina to be with me,” she tells us.

The Tony-nominated star of The Color Purple (both the 2015 Broadway revival and the movie musical hitting theaters this month) isn’t just shaking up red carpets, but also Hollywood as a whole. Taking the stage Tuesday night, she spoke about creating space for women like herself, who have been excluded from the industry, underrepresented on-screen, or reduced to stereotypes.

“I stand in the gap today for the women who were shut out, who had to demand to be seen and heard, and sometimes when they lost that battle, they kept getting back up again, and again, and again, because they knew that this thang was bigger than them,” she said. “I’m speaking for the women who were deemed too dark, or too fat, their hair didn’t lay straight enough—women that were subjected to only playing maids, mammys, and being the sassy big woman, while getting paid pennies to everyone else’s dollar.”

She honored pioneering Black women like Hattie McDaniel, Louise Beavers, Mabel King, and more for paving the way for her success today. And she promised to pay it forward for the next generation: “Even though we still have way more glass to break, I vow to continue to demand that we be captured on screen as so much more by the roles that I choose.”

Here, Brooks gives us an inside look at how she got ready for ELLE’s Women in Hollywood event. Click through the gallery below.

danielle brooks women in hollywood diary

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Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now. 

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