Danielle Brooks Reveals How She & Her Fiancé Came Up With Their Daughter’s Name, Freeya

When it comes to motherhood, Danielle Brooks is an open book.

During an interview with PureWow, thanks to her #RealMoneyTalk campaign with Intuit Turbo, the 30-year-old Orange Is the New Black star had no qualms about giving this pregnant editor the real scoop on breastfeeding, the identity shift she experienced after welcoming her now 3-month-old daughter and how this milestone altered her financial goals (hint: drastically).

Before long we were chatting about baby names and Brooks shared the beautiful way that she and her fiancé, Dennis Gelin, decided to name their daughter Freeya.

“Her father and I were trying to [choose a name that begins with a ‘D.’] He’s a ‘D’ and I’m a ‘D.’ His brothers are ‘D’s; my brothers are ‘D’s,” she began.

So, each and every night, Brooks and her fiancé would tell each other their favorite names that begin with the letter ‘D’ at the same time. They agreed, “If we land on the same one, then that’s the name.” Spoiler alert: The OITNB actress revealed, “We never landed on the same one! So, we said, ‘That’s not it.’”

Instead, the couple opted to cast their net a bit wider and be open to other letters. That’s when inspiration came from an unexpected place. “I met this young boy in L.A., actually, and I said, ‘What’s your name?’ and he said, ‘Chosen,’” Brooks recalled.

The young man got her thinking about the meaning her child’s name would have and so she told her fiancé, “I want a powerful name.” He suggested Free. “I said, ‘I like Free!’” Brooks remembered. “So we started doing some research and there’s this Nordic goddess [named Freya] and she stands for beauty and love and all these nice things.”

They decided to add their own flair to the goddesses moniker. “We decided to add two ‘E’s and give her the name Free, because I just want her to live her life that way. I’ll put her in check if I need to, but I want her to have the freedom that she deserves to have,” she explained. 

A cute name with a deep meaning? We’re all about it. 


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.