“It’s got a lot of room, but it’s still a New York apartment, and it’s still an apartment for a person at the beginning of her career. I’ve made it my own, but I stay within my means,” she said.
“Sometimes I stay below my means. The way I live is comfortable for me,” continued Ms. Brooks, who places more importance on visits home and Guitar Hero sessions than she does on acquisitions. “I’m not one to be, ‘Look what I have,’ ” she said. But she is one to be, “Keep what I have clean.” The mat at the front door reads, “If you’re not God, take your shoes off.”
The apartment is an eclectic mix of the inspirational and the spa-inspired. The word “love” appears on much of the bric-a-brac, and a pillar in the bedroom is covered in looping cursive declarations such as “we believe,” “we trust” and “we laugh.” Candles, pillows and cushions are in abundance, with soothing white the dominant color.
There’s also an enthusiastic nod to Hollywood Regency, courtesy of an applied lattice pattern on a wall just outside the bedroom, the draped fabric above the bed, a sheepskin rug in the bedroom and the many geometric light-bouncing mirrors. Then there is the sleek bar cart that’s used to hold perfume bottles as well as a copy of the book “Vintage Black Glamour” by Nichelle Gainer (Rocket 88, 2014).
To show just how much Ms. Brooks enjoys mixing it up, a wall in the living room sports a gold metallic deer head. “My mother doesn’t like it,” she said. “But I do. I like that the wall has different textures.”
Because Ms. Brooks loved the job that Mike Harrison, an interior designer, did on her dressing room at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, where “The Color Purple” is billeted, she enlisted him to help with the apartment.
He is responsible for the deer head (sorry, Mrs. Brooks), the wall with the lattice pattern and the script on the bedroom pillar. Here is the brief from his client: “I wanted something really cool that represented me,” said Ms. Brooks, who, despite a packed schedule, kept her hand in.
It was she who came up with the idea of a chalkboard in the kitchen for scribbling reminders to herself — for example, that it’s time to lay in a new supply of the herbal tea Throat Coat. She chose the furniture, including the custom-made heather-gray sectional. “That’s the first step to adulthood,” she said. “No more futons.” She also custom-ordered the pillow on the sofa that reads “BE,” part of some valuable advice she received during her time at Juilliard. “Instead of getting a tattoo, I got a pillow,” she said.
Ms. Brooks doesn’t care for clutter, but there are certain things that must have their place, among them a Bible from her mother, a minister, and a painting by the Greenville artist April Harrison that her parents commissioned as an opening night present for “The Color Purple.” She diligently holds onto Playbills; she collects postcards (some are displayed under the glass top of her dressing table); and she treasures the LPs that belonged to her maternal grandmother, among them albums by Sarah Vaughan and Wynton Marsalis. They’re played on a retro-style turntable she bought on Amazon.
“I was going to get a Victrola with the horn and everything, but maybe that’s for next time,” said Ms. Brooks, whose plan is to stay put for a few years, then find a place to buy. “I hope to be an owner before I’m 30,” she said.
She envisions a two-bedroom, not so much because she’s expecting guests, but because she’s expecting stuff. “When you have more things going on, you accumulate more things,” Ms. Brooks said. She recently became the face of Lane Bryant’s Christian Siriano collection, “so they’ve given me the whole line,” she said. “I have clothes for days.”
“I’m looking forward to having another room so I can put them all away.”