Actress Taraji P. Henson is no newbie on the Hollywood scene by far, but her most recent leading television role as Cookie on the widely popular new Fox series “Empire” is shining a new spotlight on all facets of both her personal and professional life.
Not one to have been publicly linked to many of her male peers on a romantic level off-screen, Taraji finds herself on uncommon ground relative to that of her fellow female actresses. Moreover, she’s been able to build and maintain a consistent presence on the Hollywood circuit at a time when even the most talented of African-American actresses are admitting that prominent roles for people of color are scarce.
Taraji recently sat down with Allure magazine for a flawless photo shoot and to speak on her climb to the top, why she doesn’t mix business with pleasure, why people should stop judging her co-star Terrence Howard and more.
Speaking on the trajectory of her career following her breakout role as Yvette in Baby Boy she says it hasn’t been easy, but she’s glad to have a story to tell.
“I’ve had so many false starts. If it’s easy, what story are you going to tell? Nobody wants to hear about how easy it was. That doesn’t inspire anyone.”
She also briefly addressed the long running rumors that she and Tyrese were dating and followed up with a telling quote about not blurring the lines of her profession by sleeping with her co-stars.
“I always wanted to be known for my work. Not who I dated. Not who I slept with…. I have a gift, and my gift is acting.
I started in the business at 26 with a kid, so I was smart enough to know reality from fantasy. I didn’t want to blur the lines. This is a job that I have to do. I cannot get caught up in it. And if I sleep with these guys, why would they want to work with me again? The conquest is up. Now I’m just used-up p***y.”
Lastly, she spoke on her early days as a self-taught hairdresser and nail-tech.
“I come from a family of hard workers.
Oh, yeah, I knew how to hustle and make money. We used to do wet sets…. I bought a hooded dryer, and I had my box of rollers. I could have gone to jail; I had no license whatsoever. But it was just my friends.”
Working her way to the top while tending to her responsibilities as a single mother, Taraji certainly serves as an inspiration to women everywhere and from the looks of things, she’s just getting started.
Check out the full photo shoot and interview HERE.